Classical Duke Ellington

The Classical Duke Ellington

The Echoes of Ellington Orchestra

Saturday 8 September 2018, 19:30

Past Event
The Classical Duke Ellington Past Event


Holst The Planets (arr. Pete Long)

Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker Suite (arr. Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn)

Grieg Peer Gynt Suites 1 and 2 (arr. Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn)


Echoes of Ellington Orchestra

September 2018 is the centenary of the first ever performance of one of the most-loved works in the classical repertoire, Gustav Holst’s The Planets. Its novel sonorities helped make the work an immediate success with audiences at home and abroad and now have inspired Pete Long to re-score the work as if Duke Ellington had adapted the piece in his own distinctive way. As Long explained:

“Whilst driving, ‘Venus’ from the Planets Suite came on the radio. It suddenly struck me how Ellingtonian the curves of the melody were, and how Holst’s warped, flowing harmonic symmetry was so redolent of that of Ellington’s composing partner, Billy Strayhorn. It was a long car journey, and by the time I’d reached my destination, the broad idea of re-orchestrating the whole suite for an Ellington-style orchestra had coalesced.”

Besides his tenure as leader of the Ronnie Scott Orchestra, featured sax star of the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and Musical Director of The Jazz Repertory Company, Long has also run the Echoes of Ellington Orchestra since 1993 and his admiration for the work of Duke and Billy Strayhorn has given him a deep knowledge and understanding of what makes this music sound as it does. He is also able to source the right musicians to recreate the uniqueness of the great orchestra’s sidemen such as saxophonists Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves and Harry Carney, as well as the distinctive drumming of Sam Woodyard and trombone work of Laurence Brown. Listening to the Echoes of Ellington perform is the closest you’ll ever come to the experience of hearing the original Ellington sound live in all its glory and pomp.

The other works included in our concert are Duke’s re-workings from 1960 of Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite (from the album Swinging Suites by Edward E. & Edward G) and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite (which the Echoes of Ellington Orchestra performed with Northern Ballet on their coast to coast USA tour).

We hope you’ll be able to join us for this very special triple celebration – 10 years of The Jazz Repertory Company at Cadogan Hall, 25 years since the formation of the Echoes of Ellington Orchestra and 100 years since the premiere of The Planets.

Ticket Information

£36 £28, £23, £18

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