“Do Nothing till You Hear from Me“ is a song with music by Duke Ellington….and lyrics by Bob Russell…. which was originated as a 1940 instrumental….“Concerto for Cootie”….that was designed to highlight the playing of Ellington’s lead trumpeter, Cootie Williams….whereas Russell’s words were added later. In 1944, Ellington’s own recording of the song was a # 1 hit on the R&B chart for eight non-consecutive weeks….while being # 6 on the pop chart…..with other recordings reaching the Billboard charts in 1944 were by Woody Herman and by Stan Kenton.
Joe Williams (December 12, 1918 – March 29, 1999) was an American jazz singer…..who sang with big bands such as the Count Basie Orchestra and the Lionel Hampton Orchestra along with his groups. He sang in two films with the Basie orchestra and sometimes worked as an actor…..while winning the Best Jazz Vocal Performance Grammy Award for his LP Nothin’ but the Blues in 1984…..which was also the winning Traditional Blues Album in the Blues Music Awards of the Blues Foundation in the following year. Williams was nominated for seven other Grammy awards….for Prez & Joe in 1979….“8 to 5 I Lose” in 1982…. I Just Want To Sing in 1986….Every Night: Live At Vine St. in 1987….“I Won’t Leave You Again” in 1988 with Lena Horne….“Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby” in 1989 with Marlena Shaw….and In Good Company in 1989.
In 1988, Williams received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music…..and in 1992, his 1955 recording of “Every Day I Have the Blues” with Count Basie was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame for recordings of particular historical or qualitative importance….and was added to the Jazz Wall of Fame of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in 2001.
In this video seen herewith….Joe Williams sings “Do Nothing till You Hear from Me“….while being accompanied by Billy Taylor and His All Star Orchestra at the 1980 Kennedy Center “Salute to Duke Ellington.