Sunday, 18 February 2018

1971 Again...

More material has surfaced on Youtube from Ellington's European tour of 1971, this time from their Norwegian concert.

I must sort all these out into one post, chronologically and with discographical details. For now, here is the latest in excellent audio/video quality... 






... and as a bonus, the same poster has uploaded - again in excellent quality - video footage from Bergen in 1969...


Saturday, 17 February 2018

La Dolce Vita



Details of this exciting project here.

And from this website here...

L'AQUILA - "Black Kings, omaggio a Duke Ellington e Martin Luther King" è il concerto in programma all'Aquila per domani, sabato 17 febbraio alle 18, al Ridotto del Teatro Comunale, nell’ambito della 43esima stagione dei concerti dell'Istituzione sinfonica abruzzese.
Direttore d’orchestra, compositore e pianista, Edward Kennedy Ellington"Duke" è stato uno dei massimi compositori del '900.
Risalgono al 1927 i suoi primi capolavori riconosciuti, ma è tra il 1940 e il 1943 che nasce una straordinaria serie di incisioni che rappresenta il contributo più duraturo di Ellington alla storia della musica afroamericana. In un ambito quasi totalmente dimenticato rientrano invece le sue composizioni sinfoniche, i cui significati rimandano al fermo orgoglio nero che nutrì la poetica ellingtoniana. 
L’appuntamento di sabato rappresenta un’occasione per conoscere partiture chiuse per anni negli archivi e per assaggiare cinque decenni della grande musica di Duke Ellington, primo afro-americano ad apparire su un’effige di una moneta degli Stati Uniti e premio Pulitzer (menzione speciale) nel 1999. 
Ad accompagnare l’Orchestra sinfonica abruzzese, la big band del conservatorio "A. Casella" dell’Aquila, composta dagli allievi del dipartimento di musica jazz e delle classi di sassofono, tromba e trombone e diretta dl maestro Massimiliano Caporale.
Nata nel 2014, le sue esibizioni sono state particolarmente apprezzate per il carattere, la determinazione e l’entusiasmo dei giovani esecutori. 
Caporale è pianista stabile dell’Italian big band, ha suonato e collaborato con Dee Dee BridgewaterFabio ConcatoRonVittorio GassmanSerena Autieri.
Già direttore dell’Orchestra sinfonica abruzzese, della Sinfonica della provincia di Bari, della Ico della Magna Grecia, in qualità di pianista svolge attività concertistica in Italia e all’estero (Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari, Teatro Olimpico di Roma, l’Accademia Filarmonica romana).
Tromba solista del concerto è Mike Applebaum. Dagli esordi della sua carriera nel 1971, ha suonato con artisti del calibro di Randy Brecker Bill Evans.
Dal 1978 al 1982 ha suonato con la Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, collaborando con direttori quali Leonard Bernstein.
Come esecutore e arrangiatore ha collaborato con Andrea BocelliNatalie ColeGloria GaynorZuccheroGiorgiaAlex Britti e ha inciso colonne sonore cinematografiche su richiesta di compositori come Nicola Piovani e Ennio Morricone.
Bepi D’Amato è il clarinetto solista. È solista principale della Italian Big Band diretta daMarco Renzi e collabora stabilmente con Tony Pancella.
Tony ScottDee Dee BridgewaterLarry Willis, Ira Coleman, sono alcuni dei musicisti americani con i quali ha suonato.
Vincitore del primo premio ex-aequo al concorso International "Massimo Urbani Award" e del primo premio assoluto al concorso nazionale "Baronissi Jazz" in duo con Tony Pancella, entrambi nel 2004, è tra i pochi musicisti jazz italiani a essersi esibito nella sala grande della Carnegie Hall a new York.
Primo e secondo tempo del concerto verranno introdotti dalla narrazione di Luca Bragalini, docente di storia e analisi del jazz al Conservatorio dell’Aquila.
Ha rappresentato l’Italia in diversi convegni internazionali di musicologia.
Ha scoperto l’ultima opera sinfonica di Ellington e ne ha curato la world premiere recording, ha scoperto opere inedite di Luciano Chailly e riportato alla luce manoscritti inediti diChet Baker con un progetto che ha coinvolto Paolo Fresu.
Il costo del biglietto per il concerto di domani è 10 euro intero, 8 il ridotto e 5 per i ragazzi.

Courtesy of Google Translate, the text reads in English as follows...
L'AQUILA - "Black Kings, tribute to Duke Ellington and Martin Luther King" is the concert scheduled for L'Aquila tomorrow, Saturday 17 February at 6 pm, at the Ridotto del Teatro Comunale, during the 43rd season of the concerts of the Abruzzese symphonic institution.
Conductor, composer and pianist, Edward Kennedy Ellington "Duke" was one of the greatest composers of the 20th century.
His first known masterpieces date back to 1927, but between 1940 and 1943 an extraordinary series of engravings was born, representing Ellington's most enduring contribution to the history of African-American music. In an almost totally forgotten area, his symphonic compositions fall, whose meanings refer to the firm black pride that nourished the Ellingtonian poetics.
The appointment on Saturday is an opportunity to learn about scores closed for years in the archives and to taste five decades of the great music of Duke Ellington, the first African-American to appear on an effigy of a US coin and Pulitzer prize (mention special) in 1999.
To accompany the Symphonic Orchestra of Abruzzo, the big band of the conservatory "A. Casella" dell'Aquila, composed by the students of the department of jazz music and the classes of saxophone, trumpet and trombone and directed by maestro Massimiliano Caporale.
Born in 2014, her performances have been particularly appreciated for the character, the determination and the enthusiasm of the young performers.
Caporale is a stable pianist of the Italian big band, he has played and collaborated with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Fabio Concato, Ron, Vittorio Gassman and Serena Autieri.
Former conductor of the Symphonic Orchestra of Abruzzo, of the Symphony of the province of Bari, of the Ico of the Magna Graecia, as pianist conducts concerts in Italy and abroad (Teatro Petruzzelli of Bari, Teatro Olimpico of Rome, the Roman Philharmonic Academy ).
Solo trumpet of the concert is Mike Applebaum. From the beginning of his career in 1971, he has played with the likes of Randy Brecker and Bill Evans.
From 1978 to 1982 he played with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, collaborating with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein.
As a performer and arranger he has collaborated with Andrea Bocelli, Natalie Cole, Gloria Gaynor, Zucchero, Giorgia and Alex Britti and has recorded film soundtracks at the request of composers such as Nicola Piovani and Ennio Morricone.
Bepi D'Amato is the solo clarinet. He is the main soloist of the Italian Big Band directed by Marco Renzi and collaborates regularly with Tony Pancella.
Tony Scott, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Larry Willis and Ira Coleman are some of the American musicians he has played with.
Winner of the first ex-aequo prize at the "Massimo Urbani Award" International competition and of the first overall prize in the national "Baronissi Jazz" competition in duo with Tony Pancella, both in 2004, is one of the few Italian jazz musicians to have performed in the great hall of Carnegie Hall in New York.
First and second part of the concert will be introduced by the narration of Luca Bragalini, professor of history and analysis of jazz at the Conservatory of L'Aquila.
He has represented Italy in several international musicology conferences.
He has discovered Ellington's last symphonic opera and has edited the world premiere recording, he has discovered unpublished works by Luciano Chailly and unearthed Chet Baker's unpublished manuscripts with a project that involved Paolo Fresu.
The cost of the ticket for the concert tomorrow is 10 euros in full, 8 in reduced and 5 for boys.


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

When A Jazz Musician Shook Up Classical Music

By Addison Nugent

Because sometimes masterpieces are way ahead of their time. 



A racially mixed audience settled into the red velvet seats of Carnegie Hall, their faces gazing up at the gilded proscenium in a mirror image of the orchestral piece they were about to hear: Duke Ellington’s Black, Brown and Beige. It was Jan. 23, 1943, and segregation was at its height, even in cosmopolitan New York City. Yet patrons like Eleanor Roosevelt and Frank Sinatra commingled with Count Basie and other Black celebrities in the illustrious venue for the debut of Ellington’s ambitious jazz suite with its groundbreaking theme — a celebration of the role and spirit of African-Americans in the history of the United States, the injustices committed against them, the struggles they faced and the triumphant emergence of their identity. 

 The concert’s promoters had taken out newspaper ads calling the new work “Duke Ellington’s first symphony,” while the composer himself had described it as “a parallel to the history of the Negro in America.” As “The Star-Spangled Banner” swelled out of the orchestra pit, audience members were unaware that they were about to witness a rare and historic moment of American unification — Black and white, classical and jazz. FATE IS BEING KIND TO ME. FATE DOESN’T WANT ME TO BE FAMOUS TOO YOUNG. DUKE ELLINGTON, ON BEING REJECTED FOR A PULITZER PRIZE IN 1965 

Black, Brown and Beige was the result of extensive research by Ellington, who drew inspiration from anthropologist Franz Boas and African-American sociologist, historian and activist W.E.B. Du Bois. The first movement, Black, is in three parts — Work Song, Come Sunday and Light — that offer an aural retelling of slavery in America. It begins with the repetitive beating of a timpani to represent the monotony and hardship of slave labor. The second movement, Brown, chronicles slave rebellions in the early 19th century leading up to the creation of the blues at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Finally, Beige celebrates the emergence of African-American identity, from the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s up to the early ’40s, when the piece was composed. 

In writing Beige, Ellington drew from his own experience. Born on April 29, 1899, Edward Kennedy Ellington was raised in a middle-class Black neighborhood in Washington, D.C., by two talented musical parents. His father, a sometime butler for a prominent white doctor, always made sure his own family’s table was set formally and taught his son impeccable manners. The young man quickly earned the name “Duke” for his gentlemanly ways. 

Furthermore, Washington at the turn of the 20th century was perhaps the best place in the nation to be born Black. It had the country’s largest African-American community, which established extensive cultural programs. Segregated schools taught etiquette and African-American history; in Ellington’s words, “They were concerned with you being representative of a great and proud race.” 

The distinctly Black art form of jazz, however, exposed Ellington to the ugliness of racism. Early in his career, his Kentucky Club Orchestra played at New York’s famous Cotton Club, a Harlem venue that was modelled after a Southern plantation and typically admitted only white patrons. Nevertheless, his performances there gave him national renown, which grew beyond U.S. borders with tours throughout Europe in the 1930s. 



 Despite a rigorous touring schedule that continued throughout his professional life, Ellington was a prolific composer, writing more than 2,000 songs. But his experiment at Carnegie Hall, fusing jazz and classical traditions, received mixed reviews from critics. “Ellington struggled to achieve acceptance in the world of classical music, beset with institutional racism and widespread disdain toward jazz and popular music,” explains John Edward Hasse, author of Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington. “A few discerning composers seemed to ‘get’ him, such as Percy Grainger and Constant Lambert, but in 1943 classical music critics were not kind to his magnum opus.” 

The lacklustre reception convinced Ellington to revise the work into six shortened excerpts from the much longer suite. The album Black, Brown and Beige was released in 1958 and featured vocals by gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. DownBeat gave the abbreviated version a rare five-star review. 


That evening in Carnegie Hall was the only time Ellington performed his longest and most innovative work. (Not true: the full work was performed again five days later at The Symphony Hall, Boston. VV) However, the fact that the music was considered with respect by the “serious” classical world, and in such a prestigious setting, made it a game-changing event. And over time the classical community’s response to the suite began to change. When the Pulitzer Prize committee rejected Ellington in 1965 for an award in composition, Ellington famously quipped, “Fate is being kind to me. Fate doesn’t want me to be famous too young.” He was 66 at the time. The committee awarded Ellington a special Pulitzer posthumously, in 1999. After Ellington’s death in 1974, classical music began to break free of its traditional Eurocentrism, with critics treating jazz not just as popular music but as a serious art form. These days Black, Brown and Beige is performed regularly by symphony orchestras, and courses on Ellington are integral to the curricula at leading music schools in the U.S. and abroad. With the artistic and cultural acceptance of Ellington’s opus, a new movement might be added to his trilogy — one that speaks of triumph over great musical struggle. 

 EDWARD KENNEDY ELLINGTON — “DUKE” Vitals: b. April 29, 1899, Washington, D.C.; d. May 24, 1974, New York City Instrument: Piano Standards: “Mood Indigo” (1930), “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” (1932), “Sophisticated Lady” (1933), “Take the A Train” (with Billy Strayhorn, 1939), “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” (1940) Quirks: His sidemen sometimes called the suave bandleader “Dumpy” for the weight gain caused by his voracious appetite; Ellington preferred private Pullman train cars when touring with his orchestra. Another take: Duke Ellington’s America, by Harvey G. Cohen (2010)

Source: here

Monday, 12 February 2018

Paris, natch



Compositeur incandescent, modernisateur, charismatique dandy vaudou, Duke Ellington est un personnage hors normes tant il a révolutionné et marqué l’histoire du jazz. Orchestrateur et arrangeur inégalé, son principal instrument, bien que pianiste hors pair, était l’orchestre.
Ellington composait pour son big band et s’accompagnait des plus grands solistes. Enregistré à Paris pendant sa tournée européenne historique de 1958, ce coffret 2 CD contient des enregistrements depuis longtemps indisponibles de l’un des plus importants artistes américains du XXe siècle. 

Patrick FRÉMEAUX
La collection Live in Paris, dirigée par Michel Brillié, permet de retrouver des enregistrements inédits (concerts, sessions privées ou radiophoniques), des grandes vedettes du jazz, du rock & roll et de la chanson du XXe siècle.
 Ces prises de son live, et la relation avec le public, apportent un supplément d’âme et une sensibilité en contrepoint de la rigueur appliquée lors des enregistrements studios. Une importance singulière a été apportée à la restauration sonore des bandes, pour convenir aux standards CD tout en conservant la couleur d’époque.
Patrick FRÉMEAUX & Gilles PÉTARD


Incandescent composer, modernizer, and charismatic voodoo dandy… Duke Ellington was a larger-than-life character whose impact on jazz history was revolutionary. Also a fi ne pianist,
chestra, for which he wrote many major works as well as settings for some of the greatest soloists. This 2CD set was recorded in Paris during Duke’s historic European tour in 1958 and, with music unavailable for a long time, this is part of the legacy of one of the most important American artists of the 20th century.

Patrick FRÉMEAUX 


The Live in Paris collection by Michel Brillié allows listeners to hear previously-unreleased recordings (made at concerts and private- or radio-sessions) by the great 20th stars in jazz, rock & roll and song.
These “live” takes, and the artists’ rapport with their audiences, gives these performances an additional soul and sensibility in counterpoint to the rigorous demands of studio recordings. Particular care was taken when restoring the sound of these tapes in order to meet CD standards while preserving the original colours of the period. 

Patrick FRÉMEAUX & Gilles PÉTARD

DIRECTION ARTISTIQUE : GILLES PÉTARD ET MICHEL BRILLIÉ
DROITS : FREMEAUX & ASSOCIES EN ACCORD AVEC BODY & SOUL.

CD1 : TAKE THE «A» TRAIN • MEDLEY: BLACK AND TAN FANTASY / CREOLE LOVE CALL / THE MOOCHE • NEWPORT UP • DEEP PURPLE • HARLEM AIRSHAFT • SUCH SWEET THUNDER / SONNET TO HANK CINQ • SOPHISTICATED LADY • KINDA DUKISH / ROCKIN’ IN RHYTHM • WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO WITH A DRUM • TOGETHER • JEEP’S BLUES • ALL OF ME • THINGS AIN’T WHAT THEY USED TO BE • EL GATO • STOMPY JONES • HI-FI FO FUMS.

CD 2 : MEDLEY • DIMINUENDO AND CRESCENDO IN BLUE • TENDERLY • ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET • C JAM BLUES • DUKE’S PLACE • CARAVAN • TAKE THE «A» TRAIN (EXTENDED VOCAL VERSION) • MC BLUE • V.I.P. BOOGIE • JAM WITH SAM • HAWK TALKS.

From Frémeaux et Associés, La Libraire Sonore ici.