An indispensable and long unavailable Ellington suite A Drum is a Woman. Includes the complete original album plus the rare tune, "Pomegranate", from the suite but omitted from the LP.
Written for an early television special, it is a musical fantasy or allegory telling the story of jazz as an adventure by characters Madam Zajj and Carribee Joe, from the Caribbean to the moon via Congo Square and 52nd Street. It was in four parts with a dozen selections, two reprises, and a finale.
Extra percussion, a harp, and the voices of Margaret Tynes, Joya Sherrill, and Ozzie Bailey were added (plus dancer Carmen de Lavallade) with all music, lyrics and arrangements by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.
01. A Drum is a Woman (3:36)
02. Rhythm Pum Te Dum (2:53)
03. What Else Can You Do With a Drum (1:50)
04. New Orleans (2:29)
05. Hey, Buddy Bolden (4:51)
06. Carribee Joe (3:57)
07. Congo Square (4:55)
08. A Drum is a Woman (Part 2) (2:47)
09. You Better Know It (2:45)
10. Madam Zajj (2:47)
11. Ballet fo the Flying Saucers (5:33)
12. Zajj's Dream (3:02)
13. Rhumbop (2:16)
14. Carribbee Joe (Part 2) (3:05)
15. Finale (0:43)
16. Pomegranate (2:46) (*) Bonus Track
Total time: 50:26 min.
Tracks #1-15 originally issued as Columbia LP C-951. Personnel: Clark Terry, Willie Cook, Cat Anderson (tp), Ray Nance (tp, vln, vcl), Quentin Jackson, Britt Woodman, John Sanders (tb), Jimmy Hamilton (cl, ts), Russell Procope (as, cl), Johnny Hodges, Rick Henderson (as), Paul Gonsalves (ts), Harry Carney (bs, cl, bcl), Duke Ellington (p, narr), Betty Glamann (harp), Jimmy Woode (b), Sam Woodyard, Terry Snyder (d), Candido Camero (bgo). Margaret Tynes, Joya Sherrill, Ozzie Bailey (vcl). Recorded in New York, September 17-28, October 22-23 & December 6, 1956.
The bonus track "Pomegranate" was recorded on March 7, 1957.
"A Drum Is a Woman is the most ambitious project attempted by Duke Ellington in years. It is a capsule history of the Negro in America, it is a history of the Ellington orchestra, and it is a folk opera that simply cries for decent stage presentation. But for more than any of these, it is a revealing self-portrait of Duke Ellington."
Jack Tracy -Down Beat