V.I.P.’s Boogie – 1951

Duke Ellington

A spectacular performance featuring nine great soloists

Duke Ellington designed his “V.I.P.’s Boogie” as a way of introducing many of his band’s soloists; its second half would later be retitled “Jam With Sam.”

For this 1951 version which was designed as a television transcription that could be played between live TV shows, Ellington features some of the many riches of his orchestra.

Baritonist Harry Carney (what a tone!) plays the introduction, clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton shows off his virtuosity and then, as the piece becomes an uptempo blues, one gets to hear and see solos by trumpeter Willie Cook, tenor-saxophonist Paul Gonsalves, trombonist Britt Woodman, altoist Russell Procope, trumpeter Cat Anderson, trombonist Quentin Jackson and altoist Willie Smith.

The memorable performance concludes with Cat Anderson displaying his phenomenal range.

When it is considered that Ray Nance and Clark Terry were also in this orchestra, it is pretty remarkable how many highly individual soloists Duke Ellington had in the 1950s.

-Scott Yanow