Take The A Train was written in 1939 by Billy Strayhorn for the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The title refers to the, at the time, new A train service in New York City. Ellington’s son, Mercer, recalled that he found A Train in the trash. Strayhorn originally thought it sounded too much like a Fletcher Henderson arrangement. The song was inspired by directions that Ellington gave Strayhorn to his place in Harlem upon offering him a job working for the orchestra. This tune became a signature piece of the Ellington Orchestra and is one of the most famous works that the Strayhorn/Ellington collaboration produced.

This tune is most commonly played in the key of C major.

30 Stepsto Better Jazz Playing

Videos to learn the melody/changes


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