When Ellington Swings

Duke Ellington was the Most Valuable Player of the league in Season 2. In 12 matches, he took 24 wickets at an average of 13 and scored 198 runs at an average of 33. This piece is a celebration of that season and hopefully a tip of the hat to the great songbook tradition and the 80s soul records I was listening to at the time. The video version references a number of different ways that the game of cricket can be simulated.


When Ellington Swings

There’s a city girl in tears, it’s rain stop play
she’s doing nothing till she hears from him.
So she takes a walk down to Central Park
to catch an over of Ellington’s swing.

He bowls from the Zoo end in Indigo blue
Short run up, high action, a clean follow through.

He’s pitching leg, and hitting off,
‘It’s like heaven’ says Irving Berlin,
Rockin’ in rhythm
When Ellington swings.

There’s a batsman who’s walking, his bat under arm,
he danced down the pitch, missed, was stumped.
And Ellington applauds the next victim in
before yorking him on middle stump.

There’s no begrudging getting out like this
to a middle paced artist, a swingologist.

Cole Porter applauds like the old boys at Lords,
He says ‘It’s just one of those things,’
Lost in meditation,
When Ellington swings.

The girl sees the batsman, she catches his eye,
He asks will she go dancing with him,
In cloudy conditions or the night club’s smoke haze
There ain’t no resistance to swing.

As Ellington’s keeping the time with his band,
They’re wicket to wicket, he’s holding her hand.

On Chelsea Bridge at a quarter to Three,
Is this the A train to Harlem, or the MCC?
We’re just lucky so and so’s,
When Ellington swings.

Simon Travers © 2014

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