In 1914, a young man called Edward Ellington wrote a simple piano piece entitles Soda Fountain Rag. Over the next sixty years, he would compose a cannon of work which would have him recognised as the foremost American composer of any genre. Nicknamed Duke by his schoolfriends because of his regal bearing, Ellingtons music contains a unique blend of contrasts and contradictions. At once visceral and elegant, intimate and shouting, traditional and progressive, the music is unique, exciting, earthy and refined.
The Echoes Of Ellington was first formed in 1994 to celebrate the Duke’s music, and to bring it by live performance to a modern audience. Jazz enthusiasts the length and breadth of the nation, and later on in Europe and the United States were amazed by the group’s ability to get inside the scores and really bring out the Ellington flavour.
Today, the orchestra is in its finest incarnation yet, with highly specialised virtuoso players on all the instruments who understand intimately the nuances put on the page by the Duke. Whether a familiar standard such as Satin Doll, or a rare marvel from one of the Suites, you can be sure of a sonic big band journey like no other.
The show is conducted and presented by clarinettist Peter Long, who over the years has built a reputation as the pre-eminent big band frontman in the United Kingdom today. As well as keeping you entertained with the music, he will ensure that you will leave the show with a little more background information than you were expecting, heightening the experience of hearing the music by understanding.
Alongside the set of Ellington's greatest hits, the band will be, for fairly obvious reasons, recreating the epoch-making 1956 album "Ellington At Newport"! Expect to hear "Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue", "Skin Deep", "I Got It Bad", "Jeep's Blues" and the wonderful if rarely performed "Newport Festival Suite". The results are amazingly truthful to the original Duke Ellington Orchestra sound. With the aim of producing a sound as close to the original as possible, the big band will play without any amplification.