Moonlight Fiesta

Duke Ellington

One of Juan Tizol’s lesser-known but rewarding melodies

Due to the inclusion of valve trombonist Juan Tizol in his band, Duke Ellington had a regular flow of Latin-inspired pieces in the 1930s.

While Tizol is best known for “Caravan” and “Perdido,” “Moonlight Fiesta” (which was subtitled “Porto Rican Chaos”) is a worthy obscurity.

Recorded Mar. 5, 1935, the debut version of “Moonlight Fiesta” has Tizol playing the melody, cornetist Rex Stewart making a colorful statement, and drummer Sonny Greer clearly having a good time along with the riffing horns.

– Scott Yanow

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