Every month in the St. John’s newsletter I try to recommend an album, or some times several albums, that I think are exceptional and have something unique to say. I thought I’d share this month’s “Recommended Listening” here also.
This month I’m recommending an album that had a profound affect on me
personally. Duke Ellington & Ray Brown’s This One’s for Blanton. It was a
tribute to Jimmy Blanton, Duke’s bass player from 1939 until his untimely death
in 1941. Blanton is credited with developing the modern style of playing jazz
bass. The album is terrific in its subtly and simple orchestration, all songs are a
duet between the piano and double bass. I feel the high points are Do Nothin’
Till You Hear from Me and the 2nd Movement of Ellington’s Fragmented Suite
for Piano and Bass. This album is what made me want to learn to play the bass
guitar. Also it should be noted this album was one of the last recording Ellington
made, and his piano playing was masterful.
Below is a video of Ellington at the piano in 1967, several years before recording “This One’s for Blanton,” but is there anything better than a piano trio?