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Three Suites

Duke Ellington

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iTunes Review

Duke Ellington wrote a number of suites in the latter part of his career: Far East Suite (1966), Latin American Suite (1968), and Togo Brava Suite (1971) are fine examples of his work in this vein. The instrumental form draws from dance music, something the great swing bandleader was no stranger to. It also gave him a chance to stretch out and write longer pieces — often collaborating with arranger Billy Strayhorn — featuring his wonderfully rich section writing and inventive rhythms. On Three Suites, Ellington brings his distinctive touch to works by a Russian and a Norwegian composer, and the third piece is inspired by an American novelist. His version of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite gracefully translates the late 19th century warhorse into his own distinctive language, and of course, this being the Ellington band, stellar solos abound. He also works wonders with material drawn from Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suites. The famous Grieg melody is instantly recognizable in “Morning Mood,” and so is Ellington’s lush sound. The title of Suite Thursday, an Ellington/Strayhorn original, refers to Sweet Thursday, the John Steinbeck novel that was a sequel to Cannery Row. Any Ellington fan should delight in the piece’s bluesy sophistication, assorted grooves, and Ray Nance’s bowed and plucked violin solo on “Lay-By.”

Customer Reviews

Incredible...

Duke Ellington has made an absolutely outstanding reinterpretation of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite." Just listening to these short excerpts on iTunes makes me happy!

Wonderful

Outstanding interpetation of The Nutcracker!! Suger Rum Cherry is a sultry version of the classic. Well done!!!

Biography

Born: April 29, 1899 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Duke Ellington was the most important composer in the history of jazz as well as being a bandleader who held his large group together continuously for almost 50 years. The two aspects of his career were related; Ellington used his band as a musical laboratory for his new compositions and shaped his writing specifically to showcase the talents of his bandmembers, many of whom remained with him for long periods. Ellington also wrote film scores and stage musicals, and several of his instrumental works...
Full Bio

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