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Duke Ellington - Harlem

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Published on Jan 15, 2013

(from the liner notes by Maurice Peress)

"Harlem" (orchestrated by Luther Henderson and Maurice Peress) was to be part of a group commission by the celebrated conductor, who was not known as a champion of American music. Duke, a master title-giver, described the work as a concerto grosso for jazz band and symphony orchestra. In "Harlem", we see Ellington as having learned from his "Black, Brown, & Beige" experience. It is one completely integrated movement, the first part of which is held together by the word "Har-lem" (a minor third), intoned by the growl trumpet. The second half is built out of the street funeral dirge (Duke refers to an Elks Band) which begins as an eight-bar blues for three marvelously interwoven clarinets and builds to a climax combining both thematic ideas.

Ellington described "Harlem" as follows:

"...The piece of music goes like this (1) Pronouncing the word "Harlem," itemizing its many facets---from downtown to uptown, true and false; (2) 110th Street, heading north through the Spanish neighborhood; (3) Intersection further uptown--cats shucking and stiffing; (4) Upbeat parade; (5) Jazz spoken in a thousand languages (6) Floor show; (7) Girls out of step, but kicking like crazy; (8) Fanfare for Sunday; (9) On the way to church; (10) Church---we're even represented in Congress by our man of the church; (11) The sermon; (12) Funeral; (13) Counterpoint of tears; (14) Chic chick; (15) Stopping traffic; (16) After church promendade; (17) Agreement a cappella; (18) Civil Rights demandments; (19) March onward and upward; (20) Summary--contributions coda.

On this recording:
Jon Faddis - Trumpet
Bill Easley - Clarinet
Ron Carter - Bass
Butch Miles - Drums

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