The Treasury Shows, Vol. 23


Storyville Records presents: Volume 23 in the Duke Ellington Treasury Shows series. In April 1945, to promote the sale of war bonds, the US Treasury Department contacted Duke Ellington to do a series of 55 min public broadcasts. These sessions would give Ellington a wide choice of material to perform including his older work; new instrumentals and pop tunes and his extended works as well.

This double CD contains a series of different radio broadcasts from the Meadowbrook Gardens Café in Culver City, California, and a bonus August 1943 radio broadcast from  the famous Hurricane Restaurant in New York City. On CD2, we find a 1946 broadcast from the Lincoln Theatre in Los Angeles, California and bonus tracks from a 1946 broadcast at New York City’s Aquarium Restaurant. The broadcasts are featured complete with radio speaks and encouragements to buy bonds read by The Duke himself + bonus material and liner notes.

CD 1 opens with Duke Ellington as the featured soloist for the first half of the August 24, 1946 radio broadcast from the Meadowbrook Gardens Cafe in Culver City, California. After his theme "Take the ‘A’ Train" and some introductory remarks from announcer Hank Weaver, Ellington plays four reflective renditions on solo piano from his composition catalog, "Mood Indigo," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "Sophisticated Lady," and "Solitude." The Orchestra proceeds to play classics as “C Jam Blues” and “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be”, and among the prominent musicians are Kay Davis (vocals), Oscar Pettiford (bass), Al Sears (tenor saxophone) and Taft Jordan (trumpet). The band concludes this broadcast performance on the swinging side with "Solid Old Man" and "Hollywood Hangover." The first disc finishes with four tracks from August 26, 1943. On this rare radio broadcast, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra are at the Hurricane Restaurant in New York City.

CD 2 opens with an August 31, 1946 broadcast at the Lincoln Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Another broadcast from that same date and location follows after station identification. Duke Ellington starts this broadcast with a three song tribute to W.C. Handy, the Father of the Blues. Justin Bouchard, author of the liner notes, writes of the finale of CD2: “A little more than a month later, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra are on the East Coast for an October 5, 1946 radio broadcast from New York City's Aquarium Restaurant. This twenty-third volume concludes in the best possible way as Ellington and his men swing out with the closing theme ‘Things Ain’t What They Used To Be’.”

The whole Duke Ellington Treasury Shows series will be 25 double CDs. We’re approaching the end with this release, which is number 23, and the rest is on its way! The Treasury Shows form an indispensable addition to the history of Duke Ellington and jazz big bands in the 1940s.