...And His Mother Called Him Bill

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...And His Mother Called Him Bill
Duke Ellington - ...And His Mother Called Him Bill album cover.jpg
Studio album by Duke Ellington
Released 1967
Recorded August 28, 1967 -November 15, 1967
Genre Jazz
Length 61:18
Label Bluebird/RCA
Producer Steve Backer, Brad McCuen
Duke Ellington chronology
Studio Sessions, 1957, 1965, 1966, 1967, San Francisco, Chicago, New York
(1967)
...And His Mother Called Him Bill
(1967)
Francis A. & Edward K.
(1967)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars [1]

...And His Mother Called Him Bill is the seventh studio album by Duke Ellington. He recorded the album in the wake of the May 31, 1967 death of his long-time music partner Billy Strayhorn. Ellington was devastated. Those close to the bandleader and composer noted he went into a deep depression, similar to the one he experienced at the death of his mother in the late 1930s. Ellington knew he had to do something to pull himself out of this funk, and to memorialize the man he's worked closely with since 1939. Soon after Strayhorn's passing, Ellington decided to record this tribute, using the late composer's own arrangements and charts.

All of the songs featured were written or co-written by Strayhorn. Some were Strayhorn's last works ("Blood Count" was his last chart, written for the Duke Ellington Orchestra's 1967 Carnegie Hall concert). Some of the tracks were well-known and others were previously unrecorded. Although Strayhorn worked closely with Ellington, he also saved some of his work for himself. Ellington chose the songs to demonstrate Strayhorn's versatility and range, as well as an homage to the qualities that he most admired in his late writing partner. Many of the Ellington band members are featured on the album, including alto saxophone player Johnny Hodges (who was especially close to Strayhorn) and trumpet player Cootie Williams on the 1949 composition "Snibor." The 1951 composition "Rock Skippin' at the Blue Note" showcases drummer Sam Woodyard, Williams, Jimmy Hamilton on clarinet, and John Sanders on trombone (Sanders soon left the band to pursue a calling to become a Roman Catholic priest).

The album was first released in 1967 on RCA Victor, and has since been reissued several times on compact disc: first in 1987 by RCA Records/Bluebird Records, then in 1993 by Flying Dutchman Records, and finally by BMG in 2000. Two special reissues were also released, one in the U.S. and one in France, though both had the same track listing. They were released in 2002 by RCA and 2001 by BMG International, respectively. The 1987 release features two versions of "Lotus Blossom," the song Ellington said Strayhorn most loved to hear him play. The "bonus track" version of the song was caught by recording studio engineers as the band was packing up to leave – their muted conversation can be heard in the background. Ellington plays a plaintive piano solo of "Lotus Blossom" and his private grief is palpable in his playing; it's a fitting tribute to the man nicknamed "Swee Pea," who contributed so much music to the world. Many fans and music world professionals still regard .…And His Mother Called Him Bill as Duke Ellington's finest album.

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

  1. "Snibor" (Billy Strayhorn) – 4:16
  2. "Boo-Dah" (Strayhorn) – 3:25
  3. "Blood Count" (Strayhorn) – 4:16
  4. "U.M.M.G. (Upper Manhattan Medical Group)" (Strayhorn) – 3:09
  5. "Charpoy" (Strayhorn) – 3:05
  6. "After All" (Strayhorn) – 3:28
  7. "The Intimacy of the Blues" (Strayhorn) – 2:55
  8. "Rain Check" (Strayhorn) – 4:34
  9. "Day Dream" (Ellington, John La Touche, Strayhorn) – 4:18
  10. "Rock Skippin' at the Blue Note" (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 2:59
  11. "All Day Long" (Strayhorn) – 2:56
  12. "Lotus Blossom" (Strayhorn) – 3:52

1987 CD reissue[edit]

  1. "Boo-Dah" (Strayhorn) – 3:32
  2. "U.M.M.G." (Strayhorn) – 3:13
  3. "Blood Count" (Strayhorn) – 4:19
  4. "Smada" (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:20
  5. "Rock Skippin' at the Blue Note" (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:02
  6. "Rain Check" (Strayhorn) – 4:37
  7. "Midriff" (Strayhorn) – 4:31
  8. "My Little Brown Book" (Strayhorn) – 4:13
  9. "Lotus Blossom" (Strayhorn) – 3:57
  10. "Snibor" (Strayhorn) – 4:19
  11. "After All" (Strayhorn) – 3:48
  12. "All Day Long" (Strayhorn) – 2:57
  13. "Lotus Blossom" (Strayhorn) – 5:01
  14. "Day Dream" (Ellington, Latouche, Strayhorn) – 4:20
  15. "The Intimacy of the Blues" (Strayhorn) – 3:02
  16. "Charpoy" (Strayhorn) – 3:07

American and French reissues[edit]

  1. "Snibor" (Strayhorn) – 4:16
  2. "Boo-Dah" (Strayhorn) – 3:28
  3. "Blood Count" (Strayhorn) – 4:18
  4. "U.M.M.G." (Strayhorn) – 3:14
  5. "Charpoy" (Strayhorn) – 3:07
  6. "After All" (Strayhorn) – 3:52
  7. "The Intimacy of the Blues" (Strayhorn) – 2:58
  8. "Rain Check" (Strayhorn) – 4:37
  9. "Day Dream " (Ellington, Latouche, Strayhorn) – 4:25
  10. "Rock Skippin' at the Blue Note" (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:02
  11. "All Day Long" (Strayhorn) – 2:58
  12. "Lotus Blossom [Solo Version]" (Strayhorn) – 3:54
  13. "Acht O'Clock Rock" (Ellington) – 2:23
  14. "Rain Check [alternate take]" (Strayhorn) – 5:22
  15. "Smada" (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:21
  16. "Smada [alternate take]" (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:20
  17. "Midriff" (Strayhorn) – 4:35
  18. "My Little Brown Book" (Strayhorn) – 4:13
  19. "Lotus Blossom [Trio Version]" (Strayhorn) – 4:56

Personnel[edit]

Band: (based on track numbers as listed in American and French reissues)

Production:

  • Steve Backer – executive producer
  • Ed Begley – original recordings
  • Ray Hall – remixing
  • Daniel Maffia – illustrations
  • Brad McCuen – producer
  • Ed Michel – reissue producer
  • Robert Palmer – liner notes
  • Neal Pozner, J.J. Stelmach – art direction

Awards[edit]

  • 1969 Grammy Award – Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance; Album – Duke Ellington

References[edit]