Friday, September 8, 2017

The Reverend Duke

Duke Ellington, in his last ten years, wrote three programs he called "Sacred Concerts." And while these contain some memorable music, including the wistful "Come Sunday," which Ella Fitzgerald sang at his funeral, the most hymn-like of his work, it seems to us, is his recording of "Solitude" on the album "Money Jungle."

"Money Jungle" is a trio performance--Duke at the keyboard, with Charles Mingus, bass, and Max Roach, drums. Ellington was always the most orchestral of pianists, and his playing on "Solitude" is magisterial, the power you get from a commanding organist playing a Bach fugue.

Duke Ellington would never have been mistaken for a monk, but he did say, "God has blessed my timing."

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