Caravan (1936 song)

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"Caravan" is a jazz standard composed by Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington, and first performed by Ellington in 1936. Irving Mills wrote seldom performed lyrics. Its exotic sound 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 is also heavily featured in the 2014 film Whiplash as an important plot element. The Mills Brothers recorded an a cappella version, making the instruments' sounds with their voices, and Johnny Mathis recorded the song in 1956. There are more than 350 recordings of this song by Duke Ellington's orchestra, the great majority of them now in the public domain.[1]

Original recording[edit]

Original 1936 label

The first version of the song was recorded in Hollywood in 1936, 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:

All 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 song composer Tizol as performers, the session band leader was Bigard.

Other versions[edit]

  • Santo & Johnny's cover version, released in 1959 on their studio album Santo & Johnny,[2] peaked at number 48 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[3] Santo & Johnny were an American rock and roll music duo featuring brothers Santo and Johnny Farina.
  • In 1961, a version credited to Duane Eddy appeared on the label Gregmark Records.[4] It did not chart in the US, but issued on Parlophone in the UK, it peaked at #42.
  • Juan Tizol joined Harry James's band in 1944 after he left Duke Ellington, and the James band performed the song routinely as part of its repertoire. Tizol remained with the James band until 1951, then returned to play another seven years with James in 1953.[5] The James band released two versions of the song in 1979, a studio version on the album Still Harry After All These Years (Sheffield Lab LAB 11),[6] and a live version recorded in Hollywood between December 1953 and January 1954 on the album Saturday Night Swing (Giants Of Jazz Productions GOJ LP-1016).[7]
  • Mulgrew Miller and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen included the song in their 1999 album The Duets.[8]
  • Japanese jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara (with her group at the time: Hiromi's Sonicbloom) did a slightly different interpretation of the piece which she played in her album: Beyond Standard (where she also reinterpreted other standards, as well as classical pieces of music). However, this interpretation is best known from her performance at the 2008 Tokyo Jazz Festival.
  • A 2014 version arranged by John Wasson was included in the film Whiplash as one of the main songs jazz student Andrew Neiman has to learn.[9]

See also[edit]

External links and references[edit]

  1. ^ Alain, Pailler (2002). Duke's place, Ellington et ses imaginaire. France: Actes sud. p. 147. ISBN 2-7427-3691-3. 
  2. ^ "Santo & Johnny – Santo & Johnny". Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  3. ^ "Santo & Johnny Chart History". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  4. ^ "Duane Eddy – Caravan". Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  5. ^ "Tizol, Juan (Juan Vincente Martinez)". Archived from the original on 2015-09-06. Retrieved 2016-02-20. 
  6. ^ "Harry James & His Big Band – Still Harry After All These Years". Retrieved 2016-02-20. 
  7. ^ "Harry James – Saturday Night Swing". Retrieved 2016-02-20. 
  8. ^ "Mulgrew Miller Discography". Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  9. ^ "Whiplash - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack".