Duke Ellington: Three Suites

ap091228Duke_Ellington_ThreeCOVER115x115.jpgAs one of the most important and influential jazz musicians of the 20th Century, Edward "Duke" Ellington led a band from the early 1920s until his death in 1974. He composed new material relentlessly, specifically writing to get the best out of his band members. At the height of his career in 1960, Ellington decided to devote an album to arrangements of other composers’ work. Three Suites celebrates Ellington’s love of the suite format as he masterfully adapts material from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” and Grieg’s “Peer Gynt Suites,” then offers a suite of his own. For the project Ellington enlisted long-time collaborator Billy Strayhorn and together their treatment of Tchaikovsky and Grieg seem a natural interpretation, a mixture of respect and innovation that preserves many of the original melodies but finds new light and feeling in the jazz performances. With this iconic selection we take a listen to one of the best works pressed into vinyl that continues to enchant and inspire music lovers of all ages.

Three Suites streams on KCRW's Eclectic 24 at 8pm Monday, December 28 and will be available on-demand through January 26, 2010.

Official artist website: www.DukeEllington.com

Track listing:

1. Overture

2. Toot Toot Tootie Toot (Dance of the Reed-Pipes)

3. Peanut Brittle Brigade [March]

4. Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy)

5. Entr'acte

6. Volga Vouty (Russian Dance)

7. Chinoiserie (Chinese Dance)

8. Dance of the Floreadores (Waltz of the Flowers)

9. Arabesque Cookie (Arabian Dance)

10. Morning Mood

11. In the Hall of the Mountain King

12. Solvejg's Song

13. Ase's Death

14. Anitra's Dance

15. Misfit Blues

16. Schwiphti

17. Zweet Zurzday

18. Lay-By