Lester Perkins, the proprietor of Jazz On The Tube, sent an alert to a rare opportunity to watch and listen to Duke Ellington rehearsing a new piece. This was on the French Cote d’Azur in 1966. We see glimpses of Paul Gonsalves, Russell Procope, Cat Anderson, Buster Cooper, Jimmy Hamilton and the other members of the ’66 band, even one of Tom Whaley, Ellington’s indispensable arranger and copyist (at :37). The video clip melds smoothly from rehearsal into performance and features chorus after chorus of Johnny Hodges deep into the “The Old Circus Turn-around Blues.”
That track ended up as part of the eight-CD album Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington Cote d’Azur Concerts. The box is still around, expensive as a new CD set, but possible to find used at a reasonable price, or as an MP3 download. It’s worth the search, full of top-notch performances by one of the best of Ellington’s latter-day bands and by Fitzgerald at her peak.