GMN
GMNYour Arts Network
Home Classical Jazz Opera Ballet Theater World Shop Contests Forums

 Websites
GMN Premium
ClassicalPlus
JazzPlus

CD SHOP
 Special Offers
 Best Sellers
 GMN CDs
 Classical
 Jazz
 Opera
 World
 Ballet
 Theater
 Gift Subscriptions

 Forums
Visit our NEW! Discussion Forums
(Registration Required)

SUBSCRIBE
 
FREE Newsletter
'

Want to save money on your broadband? Quick, grab a lifeline from PlusNet. Super-fast up to 20Mb broadband only £9.99 per month. Moving is free - terms apply. PlusNet broadband.
SEARCH
The GMN Shop
Content Archive
The MediaPlayer
Free Music
Grove Dictionary
All Searches



MEMBERS
 Sign In
 New User Sign Up
 Select a Player


News
Overview
Classical News, Jazz, Opera, World Music, Theater, Ballet ...

The Secret Duke Ellington
In 1958, Duke Ellington (with the aid of Billy Strayhorn) wrote 22 songs for a Broadway musical entitled Saturday Laughter with lyricist Herb Martin. Unfortunately, the show ­ set in South Africa and featuring an all-black cast ­ was never produced on the big stage and the songs languished in obscurity for over 40 years, until now. Originally prepared for an April 2000 concert presented by the Duke Ellington Society at St. Peteršs Church in Manhattan ­ in which all 22 songs were arranged and performed ­ 12 of them have now been recorded by an all-star lineup on Secret Ellington for True Life Entertainment.

For the project, veteran jazz producer Todd Barkan brought together a revolving ensemble featuring 20 of todayšs top jazz vocalists and instrumentalists to perform new arrangements of these 12 songs (on 14 tracks total ­ two of the strongest melodies received two different treatments). The result is not only a historic event and a powerful tribute to Ellington, but also a truly enchanting disc.

The diverse and expressive vocalists are FREDDY COLE, JEFFERY SMITH, JUDI SILVANO, KAREN OBERLIN, and IAN SHAW. The stellar lineup of musicians on the disc includes: saxophonists JOE LOVANO, ERIC ALEXANDER, GROVER WASHINGTON, JR. and BOB KINDRED; flutist LOU MARINI; vibraphonist JOE LOCKE; pianists ARTURO OšFARRILL and JAMES PEARSON; guitarist JOE BECK; bassists GEORGE MRAZ, CHIP JACKSON, and MICHAEL POPE; and drummers STEVE BERRIOS, MARK FLETCHER, and KEITH CARLOCK.

The compositions themselves only existed in poorly-recorded demo tapes and sketchy, often inaccurate, lead sheets (Ellington never orchestrated them for his orchestra), so the arrangements were written by participating musicians: seven by Beck, one by Shaw, two by Pearson, and four by OšFarrill (who provided the arrangements for the 2000 concert). Ellington authority Luther Henderson also served as musical consultant.

The upbeat "You Are Beautiful" kicks off the disc with Shaw providing the rhapsodic lyrics and Eric Alexander crafting a lightning tenor sax solo. On "They Say," Grover Washington, Jr. (in what turned out to be his final recording session) gives a heart-breaking intro and accompaniment to Freddy Colešs soft delivery of the poignant words. "This Man" brings together the ethereal vibes of Joe Locke and some Stan Getz-inspired tenor saxophone from Bob Kindred for a breezy samba, underpinned by Joe Beckšs intriguing chord work.

The touching ballad "Only Yesterday" then gets two minimalist treatments: the first with Shaw on vocals accompanied by Pearsonšs piano and Kindredšs sax; the second, a rich duet between Joe Lovano and Beck on alto guitar.

Shaw delivers the life-affirming "I Like Singing" with Pearsonšs stride piano and a jaunty solo by Alexander. Lou Marinišs alto flute introduces an appropriately mysterious "Full of Shadows" with vocals by Jeffery Smith. Beck propels the modern instrumental groove of "New Shoes" with Kindred, Locke, Michael Pope on bass, and vibrant drumming from Keith Carlock.

What follows next is an ingenious OšFarrill arrangement of the song "I Am Lonely." Lovano supplies a cascading intro and his wife Judi Silvano intones a rubato prelude before singing the main theme over an inspired Ellingtonian chord progression. The band moves in and out of a subtle swing, Lovano explores the harmonic intricacies of the composition, and the song recaps its extended theme ­ all in all, a masterful updating of an alluring Ellington work.

The opener "You Are Beautiful" is then reprised in a lyrical reading by Freddy Cole with OšFarrill on piano. Kindred convincingly delivers the hard-swinging melody for the instrumental track "I Get Lonely for a Plaything" (although the title does hint at an intriguing lyric). The cabaret vocalist Karen Oberlin makes an appearance to sing "You Walk In My Dreams," perhaps the most "musical theater"-esque track on the disc.

Locke, Beck, and Kindred re-unite for their third instrumental, "Big White Mountain," driven by the irrepressible pulse of Michael Pope and drummer Keith Carlock. Finally, Jeffery Smith gives a touching performance of "My Home Lies Quiet" that brings to mind Ellingtonšs devout "Come Sunday."

Herb Martin and playwright Henry Miller are currently reviving "Saturday Laughter" as a new play called "Renaissance Man," transporting the action from 1950s South Africa to 1920s Harlem. Although Ellingtonšs original project never made it to Broadway, Secret Ellington finally brings these provocative compositions to light in the best way possible ­ through inventive new arrangements performed by a superior group of top vocalists and instrumentalists. And with several compositions absent from this collection, Barkan and True Life Entertainment have room to continue this significant project in the future.

Fri Mar 8 2002 (7:35:00 PM)

  Discussion

 Printer Friendly version
More Jazz News

 Jazz News
Alyn Shipton wins Jazz Writer of the Year Award
Respected Jazz broadcaster earns recognition for his book' A New History of Jazz'

BBC Radio Jazz Awards Nominees Announced
Wednesday July 11th at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

2nd BBC Jazz Awards
Wednesday July 11th at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

Coltrane Tribute in Montclair, NJ
2 Day Fest May 10 and 11

More Jazz News


 Featured Item


Read more


gmnyour arts network
 GMN.com 
 GMN ClassicalPlus   GMN JazzPlus 
Become an Affiliate ˇ Contact Us ˇ Advertising ˇ News ˇ Links
Home ˇ Register ˇ Terms of Use ˇ Privacy Policy ˇ Information Center ˇ Help

Copyright © 1999 - 2001 Global Music Network Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Music downloads, audio and video provided for personal, non-commercial use only and may not be re-distributed.

Mon, Apr 24, 2017 6:44:51 PM US EST
back to top
0.0234375 Seconds
v4.0b - gmn.com - True
Easynet