During the Duke Ellington orchestra's heyday, musicians would sometimes speak almost with pleasure of having caught it on an off night. Their seeming pleasure was usually a mixture of admiration, envy, and jealousy, because its genuine off nights were surprisingly few, as multiplying live recordings have continued to prove.
Ellington and his men were among the world's most seasoned travelers. Although hardened by one-nighters and road tours throughout North America, they adjusted to air travel with a surprising equanimity. Journeys from city to city or state to state were transposed, as it were, into journeys from country to country and even from continent to continent.
with Cootie Williams, Herbie Jones, Mercer Ellington, Ray Nance, Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors, Russell Procope, Johnny Hodges, Jimmy Hamilton, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney, John Lamb, Sam Woodyard