Monday, September 11, 2017

One More Time Basie liked to say, but this is one more time for the Duke, not the Count.

In 1941, Duke Ellington was in Los Angeles, working on a musical called "Jump for Joy." Or not working. Henry Blankfort, the show's production supervisor, went to Duke's hotel to try to get some notes on paper. Here's what Blankfort found:

"Duke was in the bathtub. Beside him was a stack of manuscript paper, a huge container of chocolate ice cream, a glass of Scotch and milk, and Jonesy. Jonesy was his valet, and his job was to keep adding warm water and let out cooling water to maintain a constant temperature in the tub for the Maestro. And Duke was serenely scribbling notes on the paper and then calling to Billy Strayhorn. Strayhorn would take the notes and play them on the old beat-up upright piano in Duke's room. Duke would listen and then write more notes...and almost four or five hours later, two more songs for the show were finished."

Gotta love him. Or, to paraphrase Duke's standard closing, love him madly.

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