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  1. I traveled back in time to chat with Duke about his score for the film Anatomy Of A Murder. My Interview With Duke Ellington ... it's a sort of supplement to last week's Night Lights show.
  2. Last week's show, exploring Ellington's score for the 1959 Otto Preminger film Anatomy Of A Murder and Lewis' score for Robert Wise's Odds Against Tomorrow, made the same year, is up for online listening: Black Composers In Hollywood: Duke Ellington and John Lewis, 1959
  3. Another recent Night Lights show up for online listening, devoted to Ellington's musical celebrations of black culture and identity in the 1930s and 40s: Swing It Loud: Duke Ellington's Early Black-Pride Music
  4. A list of recommended books about Ellington that I put together in honor of his birthday today. Additional suggestions welcome! Read Him Madly: A Duke Ellington Bibliography
  5. This past week’s Night Lights show focused on Duke Ellington’s weekly broadcasts to help sell war bonds for the U.S. government while World War II remained underway in the Pacific. It includes some little-known Ellington compositions and unusual arrangements, as well as several of Ellington’s promotional spots for war-bond sales and some news bulletins that occasionally broke into the broadcasts: “The Duke Is On The Air”: Duke Ellington’s Summer 1945 Treasury Shows
  6. ' WE ' all know the drummers of Duke Ellington, starting with Sonny Greer, then from the 50's-years with Louie Bellson, Sam Woodyard , Jimmy Johnson , Dave Black.. Rufus*Speed*Jones..- In the year..:1966 Duke in his European jazz-festivals tours (*one in Milano ,Italy, and in Parigi ,France..) used to have 'two'-drummers in the Orchestra..:''Skeets'' March with Elvin Jones,.!!..- Well, ''WE'' all know Elvin Jones.,but surely no-one of us know, or have seen ''Skeets'' March,.?!?,. Is possible to have an ..HELP.. from someone that posts some photos??,.- -
  7. Up a bit early in honor of Ellington's birthday today, here's this week's Night Lights show, featuring music from The New Orleans Suite, the second and third sacred concerts, the Goutelas and Latin American Suites, the Afro-Eurasian Eclipse, and more, as well as commentary from Michael McGerr and numerous musical outtakes at the bottom of the post: Ellington Ending: Duke Ellington 1967-73
  8. A new Night Lights program that focuses on the debut and afterlife of Ellington's 45-minute-long musical panorama of African-American history, with extensive commentary from Ellington biographer Harvey Cohen, as well as remarks from Wynton Marsalis and Ellington himself: Black, Brown And Beige: Duke Ellington's Historic Jazz Symphony I'm going to tweak the online version just a bit later today, but the current broadcast audio is available at the link above.
  9. Something I stumbled across a couple of hours ago while working on a Night Lights show and turned into a blog post: Duke Ellington, Andy Warhol, And Yehudi Menuhin: A 1955 TV Collaboration ... btw, if you read the comments on the Youtube posting of the "Music '55" episode to which I link, you'll see I'm not the first Organissimo poster to have viewed it. One "Jim Sangrey" left an inquiry regarding the possible presence of Johnny Richards arrangements in the program.
  10. A couple of years ago I did five big-band programs based on Duke Ellington's 1945 Treasury shows. These were weekly broadcasts that Ellington did for the U.S. government to help sell war bonds; they were called "Your Saturday Date With the Duke," and they were often done while Duke was on the road somewhere. The music is a mix of contemporary pop hits, staples from the Ellington songbook, and Ellington/Strayhorn compositions that sometimes were never (or rarely) performed or recorded again. (Previous Organissimo discussion of the Treasury shows here. Generally the band did two, three, or four numbers, and then the MC and/or Duke made a pitch to buy war bonds. The programs I did were distillations from 4 CDs' worth of broadcasts, presented with some background about the times and the music, each one representing a month's worth of shows (these were done as 60th-anniversary commemorations for the end of World War II). Yesterday I posted April 1945 and today I posted Duke Ellington Treasury Shows May 1945. Over the next three days I'll post June, July, and August 1945. Still hoping that Storyville will resume/finish the D.E.T.S. series (they're halfway through but have slowed significantly--owing, I'd imagine, to Karl Emil Knudsen's passing away).
  11. Epistrophy Arts presents The Instant Composers Pool (ICP) @ North Door in Austin, Texas 5/14 Amsterdam’s 10-piece Instant Composers Pool (ICP) Orchestra has earned worldwide acclaim for its inventiveness, musical genius, and unpredictable stage antics. The group includes world-class improvisers Han Bennink on drums, Michael Moore on clarinet and alto saxophone, Ab Baars on clarinet and tenor saxophone, Tobias Delius on clarinet and tenor saxophone, Thomas Heberer on cornet, Wolter Wierbos on trombone, Tristan Honsinger on cello, Ernst Glerum on bass, Mary Oliver on viola, violin, vocals and Guus Janssen on piano. Thursday, May 14at 8:00pm The North Door 502 Brushy St, Austin, Texas 78702 advance tickets @ This project is supported in part by individual contributors, Ruby’s BBQ, and the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.
  12. This link is good until tonight, then the program refreshes: Last evening's broadcast of Jazz From Blue Lake with the music of Duke Ellington in the 1950's available today "on demand."
  13. At the end of World War II bandleader Duke Ellington was coming off an artistic and commercial zenith, and he’d managed to keep most of his talented orchestra intact during the war years. But economic and cultural changes, along with stubbornly persistent racism, would challenge, provoke, and inspire Ellington as he continued to pursue his unique musical vision while working to stay financially viable. On A Turquoise Cloud: Duke Ellington After The War, 1945-47 features lesser-known Ellington compositions such as “Lady of the Lavender Mist,” “Magenta Haze,” and “Air-Conditioned Jungle,” as well as a Carnegie Hall concert performance of the atonal/stride-paino “The Clothed Woman,” singer Al Hibbler’s anthemic performance of “I Like the Sunrise” from The Liberian Suite, and one of the few recorded numbers from Ellington’s score for the failed Broadway musical Beggar’s Holiday. Historian and Ellington expert Michael McGerr offers insights into this period of Ellington’s career as well. The program airs tonight at 11:05 p.m. EST on WFIU, at 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville, and at 11 p.m. Central Time on Oklahoma Public Radio. It also airs Sunday evening at 10 p.m. EST on Michigan's Blue Lake Public Radio. It will be archived Monday morning at this link: On A Turquoise Cloud: Duke Ellington After The War, 1945-47 which also includes a clip of Ellington performing his "The Perfume Suite" in 1947, accompanied by a cast of dancing puppets that emerge from perfume bottles.