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Back to Duke Ellington Orchestra British Tour – February 1967

Duke Ellington Orchestra British Tour – February 1967 007

Duke Ellington Orchestra British Tour – February 1967 007

Pages 10 and 11 of a souvenir brochure for Duke Ellington's tour of Britain in 1967, presented by Harold Davison and Norman Granz. Page 10 concludes Benny Green's profile of Duke Ellington, with a photograph of Duke Ellington on page 11.

Image Details

Catalogue Reference Number NJA/PRO/11
Creator Benny Green, Norman Granz
Date Made 1967
Item Format Programme
Title or Caption
Geographic Location

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

coupled with his sense of humour. Clark there is one truly absurd item in this Terry's talking trumpet becomes Puck, collection and that is the one listed under the two sides of Johnny Hodges, the the name Paul Whiteman’. The choice elegaic and the primitive, are each seems doubly nonsensical when one reads utilised, as Juliet and as Cleopatra. Cat that the theme is Gershwin's ‘ Rhapsody Anderson's stratospheric range becomes In Blue ’. How can one treat such a work the expression of Hamlet's advancing in a practical way and make it sound madness, Jimmy Hamilton's austere like jazz? The answer seems obvious as severity is deployed in conveying the grief soon as you start to play the track, and dignity of the death of Caesar. The Ellington has first performed ruthless catalogue can go on indefinitely, but the acts 0f concision, reducing the original point is surely made, that nobody ever Gershwin programme from twenty min-used a big jazz band before with so utes to four ancj a ^alf. He ^as t|ien profound an insight into the personali- gjven the opening clarinet cadenza to ties of the individual men in that band Harry Carney’s baritone, allowed Cootie and the ways in which those personalities williams to put some animation into the could be adapted to portray dramatic brass figures, and then, when he arrives archetypes. at the central problem, of how to present
'Such Sweet Thunder’ is by no means Gershwin's beautiful main theme, given an isolated item in the Ellington canon, that theme to himself at the piano. So There have been suites about Perfume, far, orthodox enough. But then, against about Liberia, about the history of the the piano playing the main theme there Negro in America, about John Stein- unfolds the most ravishing obbligato beck’s characters. There have been at- from Paul Gonsalves’ tenor saxophone, tempts at paraphrasing Tchaikovsky and Whether there is any sense in the heads Greig. There have been film scores. The of those who insist that Ellington's best quality of this music has varied from work was done many years ago. I cannot project to project, but each one has had say, but it occurs to me that if Ellington about it that unmistakeable yet indefin- after forty years as a bandleader-able air of belonging to Ellington. Prob- composer-pianist can achieve this kind of ably this has much to do with his strength performance, then he is still growing, as a musical being. He must have been still developing. When jazz musicians built of superhuman proportions to have describe him as the most modern musi-withstood the tides of jazz fortune over cian in jazz, they are not being facetious, a forty-year period as a bandleader, to but merely stating a fact, have survived so many booms and since the lnfiux 0f American jazzmen to slumps, to have held his orchestra to- our concert stages became the normal gether for so long that one or two of the thing. there have been many enriching musicians in the ranks this evening were events for the connoisseur to savour, in those same ranks before the writer of Nothing, however, that I have ever seen these notes was born. or heard has ever given me the satisfac-
There are always examples by the dozen tion. the sense of sumptuous luxury and to demonstrate Ellington's virtues. He magnificence, that Ellington's band has has recorded so many items that it is given me. It is a long time since 1 came possible to make out series of lists where to his music as a beginner. I have had each item contradicts the next. ‘ Prelude many years in which to digest his findings To A Kiss’ establishes him once and for and come to a few conclusions about all as a super-romantic: ‘Pretty And what he has been doing these forty years. The Wolf as a worldly cynic; Tulip ^uj | am afrajfi that at the very core of Or Turnip as a comedian : Madness In Ellington method there remains
Great Ones as a wit: Half The Fun something which baffles me. Somebody as a voluptuary ; Sonnet For Ceasar £|se wbG was 0nce mystified in this way as an ascetic. Each listener draws his the sheer force and scope of Elling-own conclusion, but none can avoid the (0n-s muSic asked him to state his artistic conclusion that his strength in musical philosophy. This is what he got from
matters seems able to override everything gnjngton_______
and anything.
The point was made for me on the / like great big ole tears. That's why I release in Britain last year of an album liked Whetsol. When he played the called ‘ Will The Big Bands Ever Come Funeral March in ' Black And Tan Back?' In this album Ellington played Fantasy ' / used to see great big ole tears the best-known themes of one-time rivals, running down people's faces. . . . Bubber and it was sad to think that hardly any used to say, ‘ If it aint got swing, it aint of them have survived long enough to worth playin’; if it aint got gutbucket. continue their rivalry. On the face of it it aint worth doin’.’
photographs by NORMAN GRANZ
programme notes by BENNY GREEN
programme designed by ANIMATED GRAPHIC