Philip Larkin - 23 June, 1941

from Letter from Philip Larkin to J.B Sutton 23 June 1941, pages 15-16:

Pause to play ‘Harlem Air-Shaft’ and ‘Sepia Panorama’ (Elllington) that I’ve borrowed. They aren’t so abysmal as you’d think. To hear a big band, trained to a hair, swinging is pleasant. Certainly Barney Bigard is still shitty, but Rex Stewart blows some batty stuff and there’s a fucking good rhythm section centred round Jimmy Blanton (bass) and Sonny Greer. Now I put on ‘Hello Lola’. Mackenzie’s buzzing shit, but there’s a hell of a drive behind it, Russell’s clarinet: clean & pure. Form. Impassioned tone: nothing like his ‘Eel’ solo. By the way a …   more >>
cite as

Philip Larkin, Letter from Philip Larkin to J.B Sutton 23 June 1941. In Anthony Thwaite (ed.), Selected Letters of Philip Larkin, 1950-1985 (London, 1992), p. 15-16. accessed: 17 April, 2024


Philip Larkin
Academic library, Poet

Listening to

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Harlem Air-shaft & Sepia Panorama & Savoy Blues
written by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington
performed by Ellington Big Band

Experience Information

Date/Time 23 June, 1941
Medium playback
Listening Environment in private, solitary


Personnel: Rex Stewart, cornetist; Jimmy Blanton, string bassist; Sonny Greer, dummer; Red Mackenzie played paper and comb; Pee Wee Russell, clarinetist; ‘The Eel’ was a showcase number for tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman, with whom Russell performed; for Banks sides see Kingsley Amis Memoirs (1991), p. 65; Joe Marsala, clarinetist; J.C Higginbotham, New Orleans trombonist; Bix Beiderbecke, cornetist

Originally submitted by Simon Brown on Mon, 06 Jan 2014 14:14:24 +0000