The Duke Ellington Orchestra which performed the eagerly-awaited Second Carnegie Hall Concert on Dec. 11, 1943, was a band which consisted both of famous old alumni and exciting new talent like clarinetest Jimmy Hamilton, bassist Alvin Raglin and vocalist Al Hibbler. Because of the recording ban during World War II, doing live concerts became vital to maintain both the band’s popularity and some form of income. Add to this the fact that Carnegie Hall was the most prestigious venue of them all, and its easy to understand why the Ellington Orchestra was determined to play its best that evening, performing old standards and Ellington favorites. Among the many high points from this marvelous concert (which fills two CD’s) are excerpts from “Black, Brown and Beige”, Al Hibbler’s vocal rendition of “Do Nothing ‘Til You Hear From Me”, Rex Stewart’s showpiece “Trumpet In Spades” and, above all, the first performance ever of “New World A-Coming”.
Duke Ellington – piano & leader, Harold Baker, Rex Stewart – trumpet, Ray Nance – trumpet & violin, Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton – trombone, Jimmy Hamilton – clarinet, Johnny Hodges – alto sax, Skippy Williams – tenor sax, Harry Carney – baritone sax, Fred Guy – guitar, Alvin Raglin – bass, Sonny Greer – drums, Al Hibbler - vocals
Recorded December 11, 1943