Sunday, 1 September 2013

Times Cubed

I wish I could remember where I’d read the phrase ‘Cubist stride’ as a description of the piano style of Duke Ellington. I think it’s a wonderful expression which conveys not only how Ellington approached his playing (those angular, oblique sorties on the keyboard – great planks of sound to drive and exhort the band which carried over into his solo forays) but offers some insight into the place his music should occupy not just in music (no irrelevant attempts to shoe horn his work into the ‘classical canon’) but in twentieth century art – the Picasso of the piano!

And it’s a particularly appropriate description for the film clip above where footage of Ellington performing in trio with John Lamb and Sam Woodyard is intercut with  shots of a sculpture by Joan Miró.

The film was made on la Côte d’Azur by Norman Granz during Ellington’s sojourn there in 1966.

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