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Duke Ellington Orchestra British Tour – February 1964 006

Duke Ellington Orchestra British Tour – February 1964 006

Pages 8 and 9 of a programme for Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra's tour of Britain, 1964. Both pages continue to profile Duke Ellington's career, with a large photograph of Ellington conducting.

Image Details

Catalogue Reference Number NJA/PRO/8
Creator Jack Higgins, Benny Green, Eric Jelly
Date Made 1964
Item Format Programme
Title or Caption
Event Date February 1964

This text has been generated by computer from the image and may contain typographical and/or grammatical errors.

ton ranks, Duke's task would become impossible, as though a saxophonist kept finding the keys on his instrument slightly changed each month. Perhaps this is the key to Ellington’s great fame as a lenient employer, a man who never disciplines his musicians and yet gets maximum results. To the composer who works as Ellington does, the constancy of familiar individual styles is far more important than adherence to petty rules of punctuality or showmanship.
The second point is one which must strike deep depression into the heart of every jazzlover. It is not possible for a jazz composer, especially one like Ellington, to leave behind a recognised repertoire of his music. He can bequeath his scores, but what use will these be unless the package includes Hodges, Gonsalves, Cat Anderson and the rest of them? The only way, in fact, to imitate the Ellington band effectively is to hire the band itself. It is not difficult to prove this point. The Shakespeare suite, "Such Sweet Thunder", will give us more than enough examples.
The Hamlet sketch, Madness In Great Ones, is conceived entirely in terms of the altitude to which Cat Anderson can climb. The very absurdity of his very highest notes are what finally conveys the absurdity of Hamlet’s pretence of madness. Likewise, the Sonnet To Caesar captures its cold patrician stoicism because Jimmy Hamilton happens to possess that kind of a clarinet tone. Yet again, the voluptuous weavings of Cleopatra in Half The Fun are really the voluptuous weavings of Johnny Hodges as we have always known him. The pieces are true compositions, but they have been written with one man specifically in mind. Others may copy if they dare, but the authentic performance of this and other Ellington suites can only be achieved by the men for whom the themes were originally written.
Suddenly we realise who the greatest figure is in jazz history. Not Louis Armstrong. Not Charlie Parker. Not even Duke Ellington. The true hero is a man called Thomas Edison, who invented the gramophone and so made it possible for unique musical effects like those made by the Ellington band to be preserved for ever. Ellington may not have been a very frequent visitor to this country (1933, 1948 without the band, 1958, 1962), but local audiences have had plentiful opportunity of acquainting themselves with some of the thousands of recordings Ellington has made. But where do we begin? He has written perhaps two thousand pieces. Some of them he has recorded several times over. And he has by no means
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