Tag Archives: Duke Ellington

Harlem Airshaft

5 Mar

There is no song that more aptly describes my day than “Harlem Airshaft,” recorded by Duke Ellington back in 1940.  I could explain but I’m just too exhausted.

What I will do instead is tell you a little bit about the song.  Or rather, I’ll let Duke do the talking:

“You get the full essence of Harlem in an air shaft.  You  hear fights, you smell dinner, you hear people    making love. You hear intimate gossip floating down. You hear the radio. An air shaft is one great loudspeaker, you hear people praying, fighting and snoring.”

On an unrelated note,  my father was the white version of Duke.  Not as a musician or anything, but as far as looks.  It’s really quite astonishing.


Dad, um I mean Duke, recording "Harlem Airshaft"

Download here.