Caravan (1936 song)
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"Caravan" is a jazz standard that was composed by Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington and first performed by Ellington in 1936. Irving Mills wrote lyrics, but they are rarely sung. The exotic sound of "Caravan" interested exotica musicians; Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, and Gordon Jenkins all covered it. Woody Allen used the song in two of his films, Alice and Sweet and Lowdown. The song appears often in the film Whiplash (2014) as an important plot element. The Mills Brothers recorded an a cappella version in which they imitated instruments with their voices. Johnny Mathis recorded the song in 1956. More than 350 versions have been recorded.
The first version of the song was recorded in Hollywood in 1936 and performed as an instrumental by Barney Bigard and his Jazzopaters. Two takes were recorded, of which the first (Variety VA-515-1) was published. The band members were:
- Cootie Williams – trumpet
- Juan Tizol – trombone
- Barney Bigard – clarinet
- Harry Carney – baritone saxophone
- Duke Ellington – piano
- Billy Taylor – double bass
- Sonny Greer – drums
The musicians were members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, which often split into smaller combinations to record songs under different band names. For this recording, which included Ellington and Tizol as performers, the session band leader was Bigard.
- Barney Bigard and His Jazzopators, Hollywood, December 19, 1936
- Duke Ellington, New York, May 14, 1937
- Art Tatum, Los Angeles, April–July 1940
- Dizzy Gillespie, October 25, 1951
- Thelonious Monk, from Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington, Hackensack, New Jersey, July 27, 1955
- Nat King Cole, from After Midnight, Los Angeles, September 14, 1956
- Art Blakey, from Caravan, New York, October 23, 1962
- Wes Montgomery, from Movin' Wes, New York, November 16, 1964
- Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson from Oscar Peterson and Dizzy Gillespie, London, November 28–29, 1974
- Art Pepper, from Friday Night at the Village Vanguard, New York, July 29, 1977
- Wynton Marsalis, Marsalis Standard Time, Vol. I, New York, May 29–30, 1986 and September 24–25, 1986
- Medeski Martin & Wood, from Notes from the Underground, New York, December 15–16, 1991
- Michel Camilo, from Rendezvous, New York, January 18–20, 1993
- Santo & Johnny's cover version, released in 1959 on their album Santo & Johnny, peaked at number 48 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
- Alain, Pailler (2002). Duke's place, Ellington et ses imaginaire. France: Actes sud. p. 147. ISBN 2-7427-3691-3.
- Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 58–59. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
- "Santo & Johnny Chart History". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
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