"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Gone Fishin’


Just loved this recent post by my man Steinski:

Like the pack rat I am, I’ve been carrying around the December 1975 copy of Esquire – the theme of the issue is Great American Things – because it contains a lovely profile of Duke Ellington written by photographer/director/author Gordon Parks, illustrated with his photos. In the mid-1950’s Parks traveled with Ellington and his band (probably for LIFE Magazine), and his reminiscences of that time have charming insights about Duke and the band.

In one particularly great story, Duke (also referred to as Edward and Big Red) is sleeping in the backseat of a car driven by Harry Carney, with Parks as a passenger.
Harry Carney, who had been with Edward longer than anyone else in the band, became his driving companion, or better, his private chauffeur. The three of us were approaching San Francisco early one morning after an overnight drive from Los Angeles. In the distance, the Golden Gate Bridge floated eerily in the dawn mist rising above the bay. Harry called Edward, who was asleep in the back seat. “Hey, Big Red, wake up and look over yonder. Looks like something you might want to write about.” Duke stirred awake, wiped his eyes and looked at the bridge. “Majestic. Majestic. Goddamn those white people are smart,” he mumbled and fell back to sleep.

And Duke wasn’t the only one who was good off the cuff. The story continues:

When we reached our hotel, Paul Gonsalves was stumbling out, stoned out of his mind. Edward sleepily looked him over.

“Where you headed so early, my man?”

“Fishing,” Paul answered without stopping.

“Fishing? You’re not dressed for fishing, man.”

“Shit, Duke, I ain’t trying to impress no fish. I just wanna catch some of the bastards. See you later.”

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1 thelarmis   ~  Oct 3, 2009 4:45 pm

this was excellent; those quotes were great!

back in college, i wrote a big paper on Duke Ellington. might not seem like a big deal for a music major, but since i was in Classical school, writing about Jazz was waaaay left field. i did it anyway! : )

last night, i played with an organist whose last name is the same as Duke's. no relation, as this guy is of the color of them 'smart bridge builders'! ; )

2 thelarmis   ~  Oct 3, 2009 6:50 pm

wow, Twins beat Greinke.

Tigers face Freddy Garcia in a few minutes...

3 thelarmis   ~  Oct 3, 2009 6:51 pm

via LoHud:

Joba will pitch out of the bullpen tomorrow...

4 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 3, 2009 8:40 pm

Awesome post!! Thanks a lot for that, AB.

It broke my heart when they re-named National Airport in Washington DC after Ronald Regan instead of Duke Ellington..oh well..

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