Yale University Library


OHAM: Mercer Ellington on Ellington


Mercer Ellington

With American Studies 430

Yale University

October 13, 1977



Tape a:                                                                                                                       P. 1


Mercer at Juilliard‑‑Clark Terry‑‑present trumpet section‑‑improvisation‑-instruments Mercer has played‑‑future plans: the operetta, book, movie, etc.‑‑Duke teaching Mercer music‑‑Duke's music "teachers"‑‑Duke's scores and their availability‑‑The River‑‑about Duke composing and performing in the hospital-‑the first piece Mercer wrote‑‑Duke's striving not to be commercial‑‑Black, Brown, and Beige-‑racial overtones‑‑present repertoire‑-'33 and '39 European Tours‑‑"My People" project‑-music in the future‑-publication of Duke's music‑‑studio and touring orchestras‑‑having Ellington archives at Yale‑‑the prolific Ellington‑‑Ellington among the masters‑-discussing the old and new Ellington Band‑-Mercer's present composing.

ELLINGTON PROJECT                                                            #521b, c


Mercer Ellington                                                                         Not Transcribed

Talking with Dick Buckley

Chicago, Illinois

March, 1980


Tape b:                                                                                                                                  

Introduction--Duke’s showmanship--loneliness of being a star-- raising the audience to his level--the Blue Note--the band members- -Fats Waller--”guiding” the band members--discipline--programming the concerts--Ben Webster--Paul Gonsalves--the trombone section-- the transition to the 50s--the fans--Duke’s veneer--the artist and the politician--Music Is My Mistress--the band of the 50s-- retirement--the Cotton Club band--the painting experience--the blues-Bubber Miley and Tricky Sam Nanton-the growl--the public’s memory--Paul Gonsalves--Cootie Williams--the critics--Duke’s work being ahead of his audience--popular tunes and extended works-- “Rockin’ In Rhythm” and “Mood Indigo”--Cootie Williams--the 1940 Victor recordings--Duke as Mercer’s teacher--”Moon Mist”.

Tape c:                                                                                                                                  

More compositional lessons--Schoenberg--Duke’s influences--”never throw anything away”--songs on the same changes--the Beatles-- songwriters as performers--”Lush Life”--Billy Strayhorn--Duke and Billy--”The Shakespearian Suite”--Duke’s effect on pianists-- Theolonius Monk--Duke as pianist--composers and instrumentalists-- deadlines--”Jump for Joy”--”The Girl in My Dreams Tries to Look Like You”--”Ain’t Nothin Nothin Baby Without You”--Duke as lyricist-the Sacred Concerts--Johnny Mercer--”Pigeons and Peppers”- -being Duke Ellington’s son--after Duke died--interviewing Duke.

ELLINGTON PROJECT                                                                                                      #521D


Mercer Ellington

With Dan Caine

Park West Nightclub

Chicago, Illinois

July 22, 1979



Side d:                                                                                                                       pp. 1-11

Irving Mills--criticism for staying with Mills--criticism for comment on civil rights--going with William Morris--Mills’ achievements--the “carney men”--Cress Courtney--Black, Brown, and Beige--Jump for Joy--Duke and Communism--the State Department tours--the civil rights movement--Duke’s public statements--Duke’s friends and biographers--the Pulitzer Prize and the Howard University honorary degree--other awards--Duke’s career--discord in the band--Tempo music.

Mercer Ellington

Talking with Harriet Milnes

June 19, 1983

New York, New York



Tape e:                                                                                                                    P. 1


Having Duke as a father or grandfather‑‑Cotton Club radio‑‑ traveling with the band‑‑playing trombone and trumpet in the band‑ ‑conducting activities now‑‑playing in the service‑‑taking music lessons from Hodges, Bigard, Carney, and Williams‑‑Ellington and Schoenberg‑‑Juilliard and NYU‑‑learning composition from Duke‑‑ Cootie Williams‑‑Harry Carney‑‑Ben Webster‑‑learning new music‑ Mercer and Strayhorn writing for Duke‑‑Billy Strayhorn‑‑Mercer's band‑working with Della Reese‑‑conducting‑‑"Black, Brown, and Beige"‑‑recreating Ellington.

Tape f:                                                                                                                    p. 23

Anita Moore‑‑singers with the band‑‑"Jump for Joy"‑‑Duke's parents‑ Duke as singer‑‑Ellington's creative drive‑‑the Mexican tour‑‑ M