In a Sentimental Mood

"In a Sentimental Mood" is a jazz composition by Duke Ellington. He composed the piece in 1935 and recorded it with his orchestra during the same year. Lyrics were written by Manny Kurtz; Ellington's manager Irving Mills gave himself a percentage of the publishing,[citation needed] so the song was credited to all three. Other popular versions in 1935/36 were by Benny Goodman and by Mills Blue Rhythm Band.[1]

"In a Sentimental Mood"
Composer(s)Duke Ellington
Lyricist(s)Manny Kurtz
"In a Sentimental Mood" – first 9 bars on tenor saxophone


According to Ellington, the song was born in Durham, North Carolina. "We had played a big dance in a tobacco warehouse, and afterwards a friend of mine, an executive in the North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company, threw a party for Amy. I was playing piano when another one of our friends had some trouble with two chicks. To pacify them, I composed this there and then, with one chick standing on each side of the piano."[2] The recording featured solos by Otto Hardwicke, Harry Carney, Lawrence Brown, and Rex Stewart.

Ellington recorded a version with John Coltrane which appears on Duke Ellington and John Coltrane (1963) and Coltrane for Lovers (2001). The original was recorded in F major, starting on D minor and with the bridge in Db major.[3] But the Ellington and Coltrane version was performed in Bb minor or D-flat major, with an interlude in A major.

A section
Dm Dm(M7) Dm7 Dm6 Gm Gm(M7) Gm7 Gm6
Dm Dm D7 Gm7 C7 F
B section
Db Bbm7 Ebm7 Ab7 Db Bb7 Ebm7 Ab7
Db Bbm7 Ebm7 Ab7 Gm7 C7

Other versionsEdit

Appearances in other mediaEdit

In the Netherlands, the chords at the beginning are a well-known part of the song since the 1960s, due to its use as the theme of Simon Carmiggelt, one of the country's most famous writers, when he was reading his columns on national television.[9][10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 527. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  2. ^ Dance, Stanley. The Ellington Era, 1927–1940, Vol. 2 (Media notes). Duke Ellington.
  3. ^ "Jazz Standards Songs and Instrumentals (In a Sentimental Mood)". Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. New York City: Oxford University Press. pp. 195–196. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  5. ^ "Steps Ahead - Magnetic". Retrieved 25 December 2021.
  6. ^ Dryden, Ken. "Reaching for the Moon". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  7. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Soul Purpose". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  8. ^ Dryden, Ken. "Inner Urge". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Simon Carmiggelt - De roltrap 1985". (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2021-12-22.
  10. ^ "André van Duin: Vergeet Carmiggelt niet!". (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2021-12-22.