January 25, 1896 - November 1, 1927


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Musical feature

The original version of Black Beauty from 1928 had a jaunty vitality that captured the  exuberance of a Florence Mills performance. Ellington's last recorded version in 1960 had a more subdued tone, reminding me of the expression "emotion recollected in tranquillity". The urgency of Arthur Whetsel's trumpet is replaced by a more restrained Ray Nance and the gently mellow trombone of Lawrence Brown, plus, of course, Duke's own delicate piano, making it my second favourite version 
Black Beauty
 (from the album known simply as "Unknown Session"

                                      Florence Mills: Month by Month
    1903    Guest appearance as child star in Sons of Ham at Washington DC
1911   Plays Harlem's Lincoln Theatre as member of the Mills Sisters
    1919    With Panama Trio at Empress Theatre, Omaha Nebraska
    1922    Shares bill in charity appearance at Belasco Theatre with Nora Bayes, 
                Ruth Draper, Paul Whiteman, Basil Rathbone, Frank Crumit & other big names
    Sails for London & first international appearance aboard Cunard liner Albania
    1925    Finishes long Philadelphia run of Dixie to Broadway
1926    Opens 6-week run in Blackbirds of 1926 at Alhambra Theatre, Harlem
    1927    Plays 250th performance of Blackbirds at London Pavilion

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Off topic message
k If any of you Florence Mills fans are  interested in chess you may like to check out my other book Q
RSee: The Doeberl Cup: Fifty Years of Australian Chess History b