In a Sentimental Mood


In a Sentimental Mood (Duke Ellington, Manny Kurtz, Irving Mills)

An excerpt from the Song of the Week article:

Duke Ellington liked to tell anecdotes about how he came to write some of his most famous compositions. He said he wrote “In a Sentimental Mood” when he was playing at a party in Durham, North Carolina, and two women began fighting. He acted as the peacemaker by “dedicating a new song to them.” However, the song featured Otto “Toby” Hardwick on alto saxophone, and it is widely believed that he had a role in its composition. Cootie Williams, a trumpeter in the Ellington band from 1929 to 1940, said, “Everyone in the band would pitch in and help write songs, everything that, almost, Duke did in those days.”

Ellington’s story as recounted by Stanley Dance, in his liner notes to The Ellington Era, 1927-1940, Vol. 2 LP went like this:

“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 us. 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.” attests to the song’s early popularity:

“In a Sentimental Mood” enjoyed a wave of popularity in the 1930’s. Other recordings to make the pop charts that decade included [those by] Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, 1936…and Mills Blues Rhythm Band, also in 1936.

In an age of radio, “In a Sentimental Mood” was the theme song for no less than nine radio shows.


Duke Ellington and his Orchestra – 1935 or 1936


Benny Goodman and his Orchestra — recorded 15 June 1936 (Victor #25351)



Sonny Rollins with The Modern Jazz Quartet – recorded 7 Oct 1953 – NYC – Sonny Rollins (ts) Milt Jackson (vib) John Lewis (pf) Percy Heath (b) Kenny Clarke (ds)


Art Tatum – Art Tatum (p), Roy Eldridge (tp), John Simmons (b), Alvin Stoller (d)  – 1955


Ella Fitzgerald – from Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook – 1957



Duke Ellington and John Coltrane – 1962


Nancy Wilson is an American singer with more than 70 albums, and three Grammy Awards. She has been labeled a singer of blues, jazz, cabaret and pop; a “consummate actress”; and “the complete entertainer.” The title she prefers, however, is song stylist.

On February 20, 1937, Nancy Wilson was the first of six children born to Olden Wilson (iron foundry worker) and Lillian Ryan (domestic worker) in Chillicothe, Ohio. Nancy’s father would buy records to listen to at home. At an early age Nancy heard recordings from Billy Eckstine, Nat Cole, and Jimmy Scott with Lionel Hampton’s Big Band. Nancy says: “The juke joint down on the block had a great jukebox and there I heard Dinah Washington, Ruth Brown, LaVerne Baker, Little Esther”. Wilson became aware of her talent while singing in church choirs, imitating singers as a young child,and performing in her grandmother’s house during summer visits. By the age of four, she knew she would eventually become a singer.

At the age of 15, while a student at West High School (Columbus, Ohio), she won a talent contest sponsored by local television station WTVN. The prize was an appearance on a twice-a-week television show, Skyline Melodies, which she ended up hosting. She also worked clubs on the east side and north side of Columbus, Ohio, from the age of 15 until she graduated from West High School, at age 17. – Wikipedia excerpts, adapted  [Read more]

Nancy Wilson 1969


Glen Hoban – undated piano solo



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. keithosaunders
    May 02, 2010 @ 21:56:32

    I hadn’t heard the Rollins version in quite a while. So lyrical and, well, sentimental.

    Liked by 1 person


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