Ellington's Great Sidemen
Duke Ellington's band was unusual in that he had several outstanding musicians who played with him for several decades. These musicians all possessed unique abilities that Ellington used in his compositions.
Below is an excerpt from Ellington's autobiography, Music is my Mistress, in which he discusses--in his uniquely pompous but slangly style--the musicians in his band.
"The cats who came into this band are probably unique in the aural realm. When someone falls out of the band--temporarily or permanently--it naturally becomes a matter of "Whom shall we get?" "Whom can we get?" It is not just a matter of replacing the cat. who left, because we are concerned with a highly personalized kind of music. It is written to suit the character of an instrumentalist, the man who has the responsibility of playing it."
To learn more about Ellington's sidemen, click on the images above.