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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Caravan by Duke Ellington - what key is it in?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/84993

Tobes - Posted - 06/11/2007:  16:03:16


Ok guys what key is Caravan by Duke Ellington - I have a bit of a debate going on here.

I thought it was in C minor, But I have been told that it is actually in F minor (using a F harmonic minor scale over the top to improvise the a part)

any ideas

Tobes

Banjoman - Posted - 06/11/2007:  16:12:03


It's Cm for me.

Hugh
Playing since 1964

"If the banjo was any good, The Beatles would have used it."- Bill McEuen


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brokenstrings - Posted - 06/11/2007:  17:14:10


Are we talking about what key it was WRITTEN in?
P.S. I love Duke Ellington and have since I was a teen (after all, he loved US madly, or so he said), but I don't think I've ever heard anybody tackle him on the banjo. If you do, Tobes, I hope you'll post it on BHO. Or that Hugh will, if "by me" he means that he actually plays it and that he plays it on the banjo.

Jessy

Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!

Banjoman - Posted - 06/11/2007:  17:34:31


I mean that I do play the tune and I learned it in Cm...I don't know what Ellington wrote it in.

Jessy would like a tab so you can play it too? I think I have a recording of Bobby Thopmson playing it many years ago.

Hugh
Playing since 1964

"If the banjo was any good, The Beatles would have used it."- Bill McEuen


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Edited by - Banjoman on 06/11/2007 17:43:40

banjofanatico - Posted - 06/11/2007:  17:40:02


I just posted "Caravan" to the "Sound Off" section a few days ago. Guess you guys/gals missed it. I believe it's on page 2 now. I was working from piano sheet music that was in Fm and since I didn't like the way this key worked out on the banjo, I changed it to Cm (3flats).

David

Banjoman - Posted - 06/11/2007:  17:52:28


I think that's the answer....Fm for the Duke and Cm for banjo pickers.

Hugh
Playing since 1964

"If the banjo was any good, The Beatles would have used it."- Bill McEuen


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Don Borchelt - Posted - 06/11/2007:  19:07:15


Bill Keith recording it on a Rounder record some years ago, I think it was the album Something Old, Something New.



http://www.banjr.com

"Well, I know there's a lotta big preachers that know a lot more than I do
But it could be that the good Lord likes a little pickin' too."

- Tom T. Hall, from The Year That Clayton Delaney Died

brokenstrings - Posted - 06/11/2007:  22:21:32


Hugh, yes, I'd like a tab. Incidentally, my harp is tuned to Eb major, meaning C minor, so I might try transferring it to that too. (Yes, people do play jazz on the harp. Give a listen to Deborah Henson-Conant some time.)

Jessy

Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!

Tobes - Posted - 06/12/2007:  13:43:18


Don, that is right it is on Bill Keiths Something Old Something New.

My favorite 5 string banjo version is on Leon Hunts Miles Apart.

Thanks for the info - i will stick with Cm it will make life easier!

Actually whem you break it down its not that hard - you just need to know what key it is in to start

I'll record and post my copy when I have got it wired

cheers

Tobes

Banjoman - Posted - 06/12/2007:  15:30:24


Bobby Thompson first played the song for Bill on Bobby's porch.

Hugh
Playing since 1964

"If the banjo was any good, The Beatles would have used it."- Bill McEuen


Click Here: Banjo Hangout Rules & Guidelines.

Click Here: Bobby Thompson's Home Page

Tobes - Posted - 06/12/2007:  15:40:51


oohhh now where did my time machine go...........I want to go back for that moment

Tobes

Jim Yates - Posted - 06/12/2007:  17:20:26


Was Bill's album actually called,"Something Old, Something Newgrass, Something Borrowed, Something Bluegrass" ?

diarmaid - Posted - 06/12/2007:  20:11:23


yeah leon hunt does a totally amazing version of caravan...miles apart is a totally outstanding album...i didnt have it out of my cd player for over 3 months!

Tobes - Posted - 06/13/2007:  03:41:52


diarmaid

you mean you actually removed 'miles apart' from your cd player - shame on you ;)



Tobes

diarmaid - Posted - 06/13/2007:  07:45:57


lol i got bela fleck live at the quick, (also outbound and ten from little worlds) which has been in there since!

Tobes - Posted - 06/13/2007:  15:31:36


ahhh that explains it, a wise choice sir

Tobes

Ronnie - Posted - 06/14/2007:  16:27:33


Hugh, I guess you and I are among the privileged few to have copies of that old South Carolina front porch tape. It would be cool to have permission to release it to the public!

http://www.banjohangout.org/forum/rules.asp

www.bobbythompsonbanjo.com

Banjoman - Posted - 06/14/2007:  17:11:21


Maybe one day Ronnie, maybe one day.

Hugh
Playing since 1964

"If the banjo was any good, The Beatles would have used it."- Bill McEuen


Click Here: Banjo Hangout Rules & Guidelines.

Click Here: Bobby Thompson's Home Page

pickinnick - Posted - 06/14/2007:  19:04:50


http://www.banjr.com/tablatures.htm

Nick

Klondike Waldo - Posted - 06/14/2007:  20:56:41


quote:
Originally posted by brokenstrings

Hugh, yes, I'd like a tab. Incidentally, my harp is tuned to Eb major, meaning C minor, so I might try transferring it to that too. (Yes, people do play jazz on the harp. Give a listen to Deborah Henson-Conant some time.)

Jessy

Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!



She's a local gal around here. or at least used to be I haven't heard her in a whille. I've actually played one or two events she played at on her royal blue harp. (i was playing bagpipes, actualy)

deligo ergo renideo,
Bob Cameron

Ronnie - Posted - 06/18/2007:  12:30:45


Played along with the front porch tape. Thompson played it in Cm.

http://www.banjohangout.org/forum/rules.asp

www.bobbythompsonbanjo.com

brokenstrings - Posted - 06/21/2007:  00:08:56


Klondike Waldo, Deborah Henson-Conant used to tell a story about how she accidentally got into the harp. She wanted a blues harp and her parents misunderstood and thought she meant a blue harp. "Sorry, dear, we couldn't find one in blue."

Then, of course, Camac came out with that actual blue harp, so I guess she can't tell that story anymore.

Ronnie: Hugh sent me the tab. It has a lot of up-the-neck passages, a little dicey on the fretless, but I'll soon be getting my new banjo, knock wood.

Jessy

Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!

banjovy - Posted - 06/21/2007:  10:44:56


Yes, Tobes, according to the Real Book vol.2, which is about 99.9% correct on original keys, it is in F minor. The chord it starts out on is a G half diminished 7th chord, which is the 2 chord in the key of F minor.

Ronnie - Posted - 06/21/2007:  12:15:13


Hi Jessy! Glad Hugh got that to you. I don't read tab that well and am trying to figure it out by ear from that old tape. Bobby was explaining the chord sequence as he played Caravan, (I wrote that down somewhere) while Bill accompanied him on guitar.

http://www.banjohangout.org/forum/rules.asp

www.bobbythompsonbanjo.com

Banjoman - Posted - 06/21/2007:  12:44:22


That's right, Bobby does call out the chords for Bill on that tape. They sure do giggle a lot on the tape.

Hugh
Playing since 1964

"If the banjo was any good, The Beatles would have used it."- Bill McEuen


Click Here: Banjo Hangout Rules & Guidelines.

Click Here: Bobby Thompson's Home Page

Ragaisis - Posted - 06/21/2007:  15:26:38


Since this thread originally started about Caravan, and someone mentioned favorite banjo performances and then someone else mentioned Bela Fleck, I thought that I'd tie all three together.

Bela opened with Caravan on his Lonesome Pine Special when he introduced the Flecktones. And this was _before_ there was such a band. They had just met and they didn't have a name, yet.

And while Bela was a monster on the tune, the song was stolen by Victor Wooton's bass solo, and then Howard Levy soloing on harmonica and then dropping that instrument to play piano.

Sheesh. Some people and their talent...

Tobes - Posted - 06/21/2007:  16:13:50


now howard levy was surely just showing off..........

Tobes

banjovy - Posted - 06/22/2007:  19:10:44


speakin' of Mr. Levy, what is the man with 2 brains been up to ?

Ronnie - Posted - 06/26/2007:  11:36:33


"Could you.....uh...play that... again?"

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www.bobbythompsonbanjo.com


Edited by - Ronnie on 06/26/2007 11:37:10

wrightedward - Posted - 06/26/2007:  12:45:41


Caravan ,a hard tune ,i would settle for a little talent ..
Eddie
Phillipians 4:13


Edited by - wrightedward on 06/26/2007 12:46:49

MrNatch3L - Posted - 06/27/2007:  06:22:40


My old band back in the 70s did an arrangement of Carravan... in A if I remember right. It's posted on my music page if you'd like to check it out.

jwold - Posted - 07/12/2007:  13:22:40


I hear Howard Levy on Prarie Home Companion quite often as a guest...

tigerwuds - Posted - 07/13/2007:  07:46:26


Unbelievably at last years Dales Festival the IN jam tune was Caravan, i have a couple of arrangements in Tabledit for it but i've never devoted any time to it, Dales again next weekend wonder what i should have learnt for this year ?

Tigerwuds
"It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.".......Play Live.Learn, Listern or Chat at the:---http://banjolounge.ivocalize.net/

oldtimer - Posted - 07/17/2007:  20:22:07


Actually, Caravan starts in a minor key, but the b part changes to a major key, then back to a minor near the end of part b

Believe it or not, I played Caravan in a concert with Ralph Marterie and his Orchestra in 1954. I played stand-up bass. Marterie came to town and had just lost his bass player and I got the job. I could have had it permanently (next show, Honolulu).

Ralph Marterie and his Orchestra had a top ten hit in '54 with their cover of "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White. I made a wise choice not going with them. Within a couple of years their big band had bit the dust.

I have had an interesting life.

stay tooned....
Glenn Godsey


"Time passes unhindered"

brokenstrings - Posted - 07/19/2007:  18:41:32


Found an arrangement of "Caravan" for piano--yep, in Fm. No, I don't play piano; I'd bought a book of Ellington tunes because piano arrangements can often be played on harp. Not this one, not on lever harp, not without retuning or transposing.

Yeah, GG, you have had an interesting life.

Jessy

Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!

Ronnie - Posted - 07/20/2007:  03:20:28


Jessy, I may have the same arrangement in F minor. In looking this over I stand corrected! The opening chord is, I think, D minor and the end of the phrase resolves to F minor. When Bobby Thompson played it for Bill Keith on his front porch, he opened with a C minor, having transposed to E minor to make it more banjo friendly. ( I think!)

http://www.banjohangout.org/forum/rules.asp

www.bobbythompsonbanjo.com


Edited by - Ronnie on 07/20/2007 03:23:59

brokenstrings - Posted - 07/20/2007:  23:11:14


When I was 15 or so, I loved him [Duke Ellington] madly. Another 13 years or so down the road, I was taking the A-train all the time, because I'd moved to the Inwood Park area, way up where the Harlem meets the Hudson, and I got off at the last stop. At the time Ellington wrote "Take the A-train," though, the A-train didn't go up that far.

Jessy

Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!

Laurence Diehl - Posted - 07/23/2007:  16:12:13


quote:
Originally posted by brokenstrings

When I was 15 or so, I loved him [Duke Ellington] madly. Another 13 years or so down the road, I was taking the A-train all the time, because I'd moved to the Inwood Park area, way up where the Harlem meets the Hudson, and I got off at the last stop. At the time Ellington wrote "Take the A-train," though, the A-train didn't go up that far.

Jessy

Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!


I think that credit goes to Billy Strayhorn, who wrote it on his way to audition with Ellington. Great tune.

Cheers,
Laurence

brokenstrings - Posted - 07/23/2007:  19:01:49


Ulp. Shudda known. One thing about Ellington, he was always happy to let the members of his band shine in their own right.

Jessy

Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!

banjovy - Posted - 07/25/2007:  08:57:29


Yes Laurence, Mr.Billy Strayhorn was the Duke's creative "twin" who usually doesn't get as much credit as he should.

banjofanatico - Posted - 07/26/2007:  17:31:27


Duke Ellington didn't actually write "Caravan" either.

David

Bopjo - Posted - 07/31/2007:  20:14:49


Whenever I jam with other jazz players, they play it in Fm...

David Crisler
www.bopjo.com
Jazz and Alternative Banjo Website
Forums, MP3's and more

banjovy - Posted - 08/01/2007:  09:55:49


tune starts on a G diminished 7 chord, the ii o7, in the key of f minor.(the original key)

Plectrum Banjoist - Posted - 08/11/2007:  01:09:19


What a lovely song. Caravan's melody was made up by trombone player Juan Tizol of Duke Ellington's Orchestra. Mr. Ellington assumed co-writer status (he may have contributed to the bridge) and Irving Mills got credit for the lyrics (though he probably didn't write anything at all, being merely the Duke's music publisher). I have an original copy of the sheet music lying in front of me: four flats = Fm/Aflat major.

Marc L. Bordelon

brokenstrings - Posted - 08/11/2007:  21:24:39


Amazing! This thread is still going on.

Jessy

Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!

Tobes - Posted - 08/12/2007:  06:48:44


jessy, it's a great tune - it deserves a long thread

Tobes

Tom Hanway - Posted - 08/22/2007:  09:45:09


quote:
Originally posted by Tobes

jessy, it's a great tune - it deserves a long thread

Tobes



Bill Keith starts it off on the V chord (sol or G), so Cm (C he plays) is the key, and in his book, in French, Something Bluegrass: Livret De Tablatures (Cezame 1022), he has tabbed it thoroughly. This is the version that most people -- at least those who play melodic banjo -- go back to, and it is gorgeous. I suspect he may have a few copies for sale if he is contacted privately. His version is very different from the original and is not in a minor key (Cm). He plays a C major, not a C minor for the B section.

My dad is a jazz trumpeter and I learned "Caravan" off one of his Duke Ellington recordings, this with a very exotic, eastern (almost Arabian) modality and a slow-march-like groove. There is also a second melody line that snakes in and out of the tune -- very exotic -- which I play way up the neck (an octave above the main melody). I suggest folks go back and listen to Ellington (and so many other jazz cats who have covered the tune).

That original version is in Fm, penned by Juan Tizo and Duke Ellington, with lyrics by Irving Mills. Here is an interesting anecdote about "Caravan" --

http://www.spaceagepop.com/tizosong.htm

"Caravan" 1937
Music by Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington
Words by Irving Mills

Although Juan Tizol wrote a number of songs during his years with Duke Ellington and Harry James, only two have had any real popular success. But "Caravan" alone puts just about all the other exotica standards to shame. Everybody covered "Caravan." Billy Eckstine had a million-seller with his 1949 cover of the tune, as did Ralph Marterie with his 1952 instrumental version. There are enough recordings of "Caravan" around for KFJC, the legendary Los Altos Hills, California public radio station--home of the "Louie, Louie" marathon--to be considering playing different versions of "Caravan" for 24 hours straight.

What is it about "Caravan" that makes it so irresistable to perform? Beats me. It's almost like it's an entrance requirement of some sort. Frank Zappa even memorialized it as an adlib in his tribute to playing in bars, "America Drinks and Goes Home": "'Caravan' with a drum solo? You bet, sir!" But given the choice between "Caravan" and "Feelings," I'll take "Caravan" everytime.

Like "Miserlou," "Caravan" gets played one of two ways: slow and exotically or fast and swinging. Duke Ellington's own recordings are the most faithful to the original spirit of the song, with a loose marching kind of beat, like camels slogging dutifully through the sand. Perez Prado's is probably the most swinging, taking off like a rocket with trumpets on fire and Perez physically throwing the song into the next verse with his trademark grunt. To me, the weirdest version is that by the Castro Brothers in their "Live in Tahoe" album, in which they climax their show with a bravura medley of "Caravan" and "Exodus." I guess it's some kind of show-biz attempt to call for peace between the Arabs and the Israelis.

(Emphasis added.)

Great number, everytime. I played this on stage at the North Wales Bluegrass Festival, this year and last year (with Tennessee Hob). There's plenty of room for improvisation in this tune. A good place to begin is Keith's version, beginning on the V chord, G (key of Cm if you transpose from the original Fm). Confused? So am I.



Cheers,
Tom

http://www.tomhanway.com/

rwkuta - Posted - 08/24/2007:  14:50:04


I believe his a music professor at Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois............but here http://www.levyland.com/news.php

you can read about hiim yourself

I have seen the Flecktones here in Chicago the last two years and at every show the get Howard out on stage for a couple of the oldies and man..............it soooooooooooooo cool.

maybe even "Left of Cool"

"Obsession is a great subsitute for talent" Steve Martin

http://www.nowhereradio.com/artists...5033&alid=-1

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