[Dixielandjazz] The Girl of My Dreams

ROBERT R. CALDER serapion at btinternet.com
Tue Jul 24 16:29:20 EDT 2018

We might start asking, "does the girl of my dreams exist?"
As for an Ellington tune, I remember a broadcast or anyway interview, in which Mercer Ellington spoke of a time, around about when the tune in question appeared on record, when Duke Ellington was in dispute with ASCAP or with some matter related to composers' rights, and unable to do anything publicly qua composer. Mercer spoke of how his father would produce a page of chords, on which Mercer would compose a tune and work up an arrangement.  This would make "the girl of my dreams wants to look like you" something of a metaphor variously applicable, whether of Mercer (son of great man) musing on how far he was creating pastiche Duke, or having to fight off tendencies to lapse unconsciously into caricature.
Or perhaps Duke wanted Mercer to find some means of composing which wouldn't be taken as merely crediting to the son something a regulatory body might put its foot down on. Numerous other permutations are possible.
Of course there are other cases of wordplay in Ellington titles, notably rude ones, and I remember Rex Stewart's reminiscence of Ellington gazing from a train window at a Mexican landscape and admiring it and what Ellington (Duke, this was) spoke of as its resemblance to "a woman's warm valley" (sic!).  Which lady landowner could he possibly have been thinking of? 

Incidentally I did once pass on to Bill Haesler a photo of myself and the German pianist Andreas Engel (lately heroic pianist on a 55-squeezebox performance of Raspberry in Hue/ Rhapsody in Blue at an accordion festival). Bill claimed to be startled and said I didn't at all look like what he'd imagined. But he never would take me for a bearded lady, or one in the happier situation with a woman of not needing to scrape her chin. 

Before I met Ken Mathieson, who hadn't then realised I attended his Glasgow concerts (some on-line reference mislocated my domicile in USA) his attempt to beard me to my lair (only a couple of miles from his own) reached me in an internet cafe in Barcelona! Alas I had no opportunity to audit friends thereabout, though I did find a leaflet or two,
all the very best, 
and in another Ellington title parody,yours, 
a visible man.

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