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THE DUKE ELLINGTON ORCHESTRA
AT THE BLUENOTE - NYC JULY 1-8
JOIN ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT BANDS IN JAZZ HISTORY led by Paul Mercer Ellington, grandson of the legendary Duke Ellington, for their only NYC residency this summer. Following a rigorous European tour, the band returns to the states for their first U.S. engagement featured as the second act during the Blue Note Summer Big Band Festival. The weeklong engagement promises to be high-energy event, invoking the sophistication, style, and infectious swing endemic of the classic Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was the most prolific composer of the twentieth century in terms of both number of compositions and variety of forms. His development was one of the most spectacular in the history of music, underscored by more than fifty years of sustained achievement as an artist and entertainer. He is considered by many to be America's greatest composer, bandleader and recording artist.
The extent of Ellington's innovations helped redefine the various forms in which he worked. He synthesized many of the elements of American music - the minstrel song, ragtime, Tin Pan Alley, the blues and American appropriations of the European music tradition - into a consistent style which, though technically complex, has a directness and simplicity of expression largely absent from the purported art music of the twentieth century.
Ellington's first great achievements came in the three-minute song form, and he later wrote music for all kinds of settings: the ballroom, the comedy stage, the nightclub, the movie house, the theater, the concert hall, and the cathedral. His blues writing resulted in new conceptions of form, harmony, and melody and he became the master of the romantic ballad and created numerous works that featured the great soloists in his jazz orchestra.
Paul Mercer Ellington is currently the Conductor and Bandleader for the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He is also a noted songwriter and producer. He has a degree in Filmmaking from the Vancouver Film School which he completed in February of 2006. He has worked on movies since his graduation while still coming on the road with the band. In addition he has received a scholarship to attend The Vancouver Film School for writing for Film, TV & Interactive Media in 2007.
Initially Paul had difficulty convincing the band that he was the right man for the job. But he debuted his first composition for the Big Band at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, and he received a huge ovation from the audience. Since then there have been some changes made to the Duke Ellington Orchestra: Paul Mercer Ellington is now the Conductor and Bandleader.