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Duke Ellington / I Didn't Know About You

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Uploaded on Jan 4, 2011

1988 compilation Black, Brown and Beige [RCA Box]

Vocals - Mildred Bailey

Due to the vast number of compositions written by Duke Ellington during his half-century long career, it is inevitable that some of the best pieces were overlooked during his lifetime. "I Didn't Know About You" first appeared in 1942 as an instrumental feature for alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges called "Sentimental Lady." Within a year, the addition of lyrics by Bob Russell caused it to be renamed. Ellington only sporadically played the vocal version after the 1940s, while the instrumental version (still introduced under its original title) was played during a few 1967 concerts as a small group feature for Jimmy Hamilton. Although it is a somewhat understated but still swinging ballad, it had some immediate appeal, with vocal versions appearing in 1940s broadcasts by Woody Herman and Mildred Bailey, as well as by its composer. The song still had some appeal in the 1950s, with Maxine Sullivan, Ella Fitzgerald and Annie Ross each recording it on more than one occasion; while interest surged during the 1990s among female singers looking for an alternative to the overworked "Satin Doll," with fine interpretations by Carla White, Wesla Whitfield, Vanessa Rubin, Karrin Allyson and Stacey Kent.

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