Ellington's <i>Black, Brown and Beige</i>

Maurice Peress

in Dvorák to Duke Ellington

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780195098228
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199869817 | DOI:
Ellington's Black, Brown and Beige

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Ellington's signature work, as a symphonic suite for the Chicago Symphony and reconstructed and returned to Carnegie Hall in its original form for a jazz band, was premiered in 1943. The chapter reveals the work's unusual genesis — Ellington's own narrative poem about the history of the negro in America — and explores Ellington's extraordinary compositional techniques. It demonstrates how complex the compositional process was that created his seemingly happy-go-lucky music; how even the defining idea of jazz-inspired music — a tenor saxophonist “taking off” on an improvised flight for example — was controlled, bent, premeditated by Ellington in the service of his muse; and how he crafted his music from his own poetry.

Keywords: Chicago Symphony; Carnegie Hall; jazz; Ellington; poetry

Chapter.  7554 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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