[JPL] Ellington and The Road of the Phoebe Snow

Bobby Jackson ftapache1 at sbcglobal.net
Wed Apr 27 11:20:30 EDT 2011


Concerning Phoebe Laub's name, Phoebe Snow, I believe John Simna has the right explanation.

Aloha,

Bobby 

Bobby Jackson
THE JAZZ MIND
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ftapache1 at sbcglobal.net
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On Apr 27, 2011, at 8:19 AM, John Simna wrote:

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> 
> Regarding the name Phoebe Snow:  The name was attached to the Delaware,
> Lackawanna and Western Railroad.  She was a character created to emphasize
> the fact that the railroad used clean-burning anthracite coal - less soot
> from the locomotives pulling the passenger trains, cleaner clothes - hence,
> as white as snow.  As I recall offhand, the railroad even named its top
> passenger train after her, and described the Railraod itself as "The Route
> of the Phoebe Snow."
> It would seem a workable assumption that that led to the ballet...
> 
> John Simna
> jsimna at wclv.com
> 
> 
>> From Tom Reney:
> I was always intrigued by the origin of her name, and attributed it to a 
> Duke Ellington-Billy Strayhorn piece entitled "The Road of the Phoebe 
> Snow," which is listed in the appendix of Duke's memoir,/ Music Is My 
> Mistress/.  Its publication year is 1971, a posthumous copyright in the 
> case of Strayhorn, who died in 1967. On the one or two occasions when I 
> thought to look for it, I couldn't find any recordings of the piece.
> 
> But yesterday, in reply to a query I made to David Berger, Mark Harvey, 
> and other Ellington specialists, I learned that "The Road of the Phoebe 
> Snow" was actually a dance piece by Alvin Ailey comprised of different 
> parts of Ellington works like /Such Sweet Thunder/, /A Drum Is A Woman,/ 
> and /Anatomy Of A Murder/.  Mark Harvey recalls that the late Bostonian 
> Herb Pomeroy, an expert in Ellingtonia who occasionally spelled Cootie 
> Williams in the band, scored a performance of "The Road of the Phoebe 
> Snow" for a production by the Boston Ballet.
> 
> Speaking of Ellington and Ailey, in 1970 they collaborated on/ The 
> River/, which was choreographed and composed for the American Ballet 
> Theatre.  It was Ellington's first symphonic score written specifically 
> for dance.  A recorded version is available on DUKE ELLINGTON: THE 
> PRIVATE COLLECTION Volume V.
> 
> Tom Reney
> "Jazz à la Mode"
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> 
> 
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