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May 21, 2018 - 1:36:32 PM
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1105 posts since 4/8/2009

"The Manhattan Minstrel" Eddy Davis playing a song by Duke Ellington from 1940. The song is based on what the Jazz World calls "Rhythm Changes" (I Got Rhythm). When I was at Disney in California, I use to stop by the "New Orleans Square" to see the guys in the New Orleans Trio. They were great and use to play the hell out of this tune. Harold Grant was on Johnny St Cyr's 6 string banjo. He told me a great story about the 6 string banjo -- on a summer Sunday afternoon an old friend of his dropped by his house and noticed the banjo sitting in the corner. He picked it up and played it all evening long. Now, Harold believed in Hoo Doo and had told me that he thought he would die from playing that banjo, because there had been 3 or 4 guitarists that had played it on that job and died. He said you can see I'm still alive and began to tell me how his friend had died the next afternoon after playing that banjo. I said who are we talking about. He said Wes Montgomery! Harold said Wes died very young from a Heart Attack and took the "Hoo Doo" off of that banjo. I grew up in Lafayette, Indiana and in high school I use to go to "Nap" Town and see Wes and his brothers play. Davis is playing his Weyman Tenor Lute/Banjo.
Give a listen to Ben Webster's many recordings of this swinging' tune. Eddy

May 21, 2018 - 2:00:10 PM

3507 posts since 11/13/2005

Great story Eddy. I would give anything to have heard Wes play that banjo!

I'd love to have a look at the sheet for this Eddy, it would make it easier to match your changes in your great video.

Thanks as always

May 22, 2018 - 1:54:48 PM
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1105 posts since 4/8/2009

Well, here's a lead sheet in the Key of F Major. This is where I usually play it, because it lays so well on the banjo. The video I have here I am playing in the key of A flat Major. That seems to be where the fake books are written, HOWEVER Duke's recordings are in the key of B flat Major.
Now, it is usually played in the form of AABA (8bar sections), BUT when Duke played it -- when he played , what is called as the HEAD -- The In chorus and Out chorus -- those times he played AAB -- C. (On solos they play AABA)
The C section is only FOUR BARS LONG. You can see it on my lead sheet. God luck with anyone playing it. I still remember the New Orleans Trio playing the "Hell out of it". Eddy (A Minstrel)

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