Friday, March 8, 2019

A Window Above: Caravan

Song: "Caravan"
Writers: Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington
Premier: 1936
Original Performer: Duke Ellington

"Caravan" is one of numerous jazz standards written or co-written by Duke Ellington, the king of all bandleaders and arguably the most important musician in American history.  The exotic sounds were unusual for the era and have certainly contributed to the piece's enduring appeal.  Irving Mills wrote lyrics, though they are rarely performed.

The song has been covered by, essentially, every important jazz musician since.  That's why they're called standards.  There are dozens of recordings by Ellington alone.  It would be absurd to attempt an exhaustive list so I offer only a few of the more unusual renditions.

Ella Fitzgerald with the Ellington Band:

The Mills Brothers, a cappella - not exactly an enlightened piece of flim by 2019 standards but musically, wow:

Gordon Jenkins - Mad Men fans may recognize this one:

Want to hear all of the songs I have featured in a convenient playlist?

Enjoy: A Window Above

What are you listening to these days?


  1. You always have the best music posts !

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Thanks! The jazz posts are especially fun to put together - so many variations over time.

  2. Great music!

  3. thank you for sharing the videos. love the music.
    have a great day

  4. OK I'm late here but I love listening to the different variations of this great standard. I love this piece and each are great in their own style from the showcase of #1 to the singing of Ella. I love the 3rd clip, not only for the Mills bros. rendering but the dancing especially seeing where hip hop got their dance moves from and the one guy going all out and breakdancing! I felt bad that, at the end, they have to show the one man eating watermelon. The last one seems hip since it is done from the time of the 50's or early 60's

    1. The standards are standards for good reason - with improvising, it helps to start with a quality foundation.