Tag Archives: Black and Tan Fantasy

The two billionaires

One night during the 1990s, my band the Australian Cotton Club Orchestra was playing at a posh society dinner dance at one of the 5-star international hotels in central Melbourne. After we had just finished a set and were taking a break, I looked down from the stage and there in front of me were two billionaires standing side by side. One of these two men is still alive so I won’t mention their names. Suffice to say that they were both well known in Melbourne society; and indeed, we had played at one of their mansions a few times. I recognised the other one from media images, although we had never met.

So what on Earth would they want to talk to me about? And why did they both want to talk to me together? One of them said: “We’ve just had a $10,000 bet on the name of that slow Duke Ellington tune you just played”. “Was it ‘Black and Tan Fantasy‘ or ‘The Mooche’?” This was a fair question because they are both dark and mysterious blues numbers in minor keys. I was actually quite impressed that they were at least partially familiar with Duke Ellington’s music.

As I recall, the answer I gave was ‘The Mooche’. So I had one smiling billionaire and the other a bit crestfallen. Needless to say, the winner didn’t give me a cut of his loot.


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