I have a love of classic jazz and rare recordings of the early work of some of those artists who may be more well known for work that came later.
I don’t necessarily even care for the remastered versions of those songs I adore, if they can even be found on iTunes or Amazon or Spotify at all, because I love the fuzzy sound of the needle on vinyl that comes with those antique recordings.
Duke Ellington was one of those incredible jazz musicians whose work was paramount during the Harlem Renaissance and whose contributions to the evolution of music can not be measured. While there are those who know only of his later work with John Coltrain or his time as the leader of one of those big bands of swing, my favorite of his work comes from that time in Harlem and one piece in particular slays me every time I hear it.
In a Sentimental Mood
This was written not in Harlem but in Durham, North Carolina (ah, my beloved Carolina) one night in 1935:
“We had played a big dance in a tobacco warehouse, and afterwards a friend of mine, an executive in the North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company, threw a party for Amy. I was playing piano when another one of our friends had some trouble with two chicks. To pacify them, I composed this there and then, with one chick standing on each side of the piano.”
Nowadays, when a guy has trouble with two chicks, it doesn’t usually end in a spectacular piece of timeless music that sounds like the most exquisite slow-danceable foreplay.
“In a Sentimental Mood”
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra, 1935
Songwriter: Duke Ellington