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(In My) Solitude

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"(In My) Solitude" is a 1934 composition by Duke Ellington, with lyrics by Eddie DeLange and Irving Mills.[1] It has been recorded numerous times and is considered a jazz standard.[1]

Ellington reported that he composed it in a recording studio in 20 minutes, as his orchestra had arrived with three pieces to record and required another.[1] It is in D major and has an AABA form (although "the IV chord in measure 3 is replaced by a II7 the second time").[2] According to Ellington, the title was suggested by trumpeter Arthur Whetsel.[1] An AllMusic writer describes the composition as "at once optimistic in its tone but somber in its pace, conflicted with the emotions of bitter loneliness and fond remembrance".[3] The mood is set "in the very first phrase of the melody, with its ascent to the leading tone of the scale falling just short of the tonic, and in the seemingly unremarkable chord progressions that nevertheless manage to transform harmonic resolution into wistful resignation".[3]

The first recording of the song was by Ellington on January 10, 1934.[1][4] His second version, from September of the same year, reached No. 2 on the charts in 1935.[1] The Mills Blue Rhythm Band's rendition reached No. 8 that year.[1] "Solitude" was recorded at least 28 times between 1934 and 1942.[5] Vocalist Billie Holiday recorded the song several times in the 1940s and 1950s, "with the world-weariness of the words matching to an almost disturbing degree her late-career persona".[6] One of her renditions was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2021.[7] Writing in 2012, Ted Gioia commented that "For the most part, 'Solitude' serves as a tribute piece nowadays, often played in an overly respectful manner that captures more the sound than the spirit of [Ellington]".[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Solitude (1934)". jazzstandards. Origin and Chart Information. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  2. ^ "Solitude (1934)". jazzstandards. Music and Lyrics Analysis. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Grimshaw, Jeremy. "Duke Ellington: Solitude". AllMusic. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  4. ^ "1931–1940". ellingtonia.com. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  5. ^ Crawford, Richard; Magee, Jeffrey (1992). Jazz Standards on Record, 1900–1942: A Core Repertory. Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College Chicago. p. xi. ISBN 978-0-929911-03-8.
  6. ^ a b Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. Oxford University Press. p. 379. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  7. ^ "Grammy Hall of Fame Welcomes 2021 Inductions: A Tribe Called Quest, Billie Holiday, Journey, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen and More". grammy.com. December 21, 2020. Retrieved December 24, 2020.

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