Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra: Sacred Music of Duke Ellington

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra: Sacred Music of Duke Ellington The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra pours its heart and soul into these recent concert performances of Duke Ellington's sacred music, premiered by the Ellington orchestra in 1965, '68 and '73. It's a natural fit, as the SRJO was "born in 1989 with a presentation of Ellington's sacred music as an ecumenical winter solstice event. Some members of the band stayed together, presented a second concert of Ellington's music three years later at the University of Washington, and the SRJO—now co-directed by drummer Clarence Acox and saxophonist Michael Brockman—was formally established in 1996. This two-disc set is taken from concerts presented in 2001, '03 and '05, with the orchestra reinforced on various selections by vocalists Dee Daniels, James Caddell and Nichol Eskridge; the Oregon Repertory Singers; and tap dancer Tim Hickey.

One of the more striking aspects of this "sacred music is how consistently it swings. That's a tribute to not only Ellington's superlative compositional skills, but also the SRJO and its company of splendid section players and soloists, not to mention the impressive guest artists. Caddell is first up, singing brilliantly on "In the Beginning God, as does Daniels on the spirited "Tell Me It's the Truth. After an instrumental version of "Come Sunday," Gil Seeley guides the Repertory Singers through the inspiring eight-part "Freedom Suite ; Brockman's gossamer alto enhances the lovely "T.G.T.T. (Too Good to Title); and Caddell and Daniels return to close the first disc with the lively, sermonizing "Don't Get Down on Your Knees and Pray (Until You Have Forgiven Everyone).

Brad Smith's wah-wah trumpet leads Caddell, the chorus and orchestra into the groovy "Ninety-Nine Percent, which opens the second disc. "The Lord's Prayer is presented twice, in an a cappella reading by the Repertory Singers and a gospel version by Eskridge, following her vocal on the stately "Heaven. Pianist Larry Fuller is the headliner on the meditative "Reflections in D, dancer Hickey on the dynamic "David Danced Before the Lord with All His Might, Daniels on an ardent second version of the prayerful "Come Sunday. Eskridge, Hickey and the chorus join the orchestra on the soulful finale, "Praise God and Dance.

Sacred music, yes, and terrific jazz as well, laden with sharp ensemble passages, sparkling solos and powerful turns by the various guest artists. Kudos to the SRJO and everyone who designed these marvelous concerts.

Track Listing: Disc 1: In the Beginning God; Tell Me It

Personnel: Clarence Acox, Michael Brockman: co-directors; Dennis Haldane, Jay Thomas, Brad Smith, Thomas Marriott, Ed Lee (3), Floyd Standifer (13), Vern Sielert (3): trumpet; Michael Brockman: alto, soprano saxophone; Mark Taylor: alto saxophone; Dan Wickham: alto saxophone, clarinet; Hadley Caliman, Travis Ranney, Don Lanphere (13), Dan Greenblatt (13): tenor saxophone; Bill Ramsay: baritone saxophone; Bill Anthony, Scott Brown, Dan Marcus, Gary Shutes (3): trombone; David Bentley: bass trombone; Larry Fuller, Marc Seales (13): piano; Phil Sparks: bass; Clarence Acox: drums; Dee Daniels, Nichol Eskridge, James Caddell: vocal soloists; Tim Hickey: tap dancer; Oregon Repertory Singers, Gil Seeley, conductor.

Title: Sacred Music of Duke Ellington | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Origin Records


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roll On CD/LP/Track Review Roll On
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Pandora's Bag CD/LP/Track Review Pandora's Bag
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 25, 2017
Read The Attic CD/LP/Track Review The Attic
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Outside The Comfort Zone CD/LP/Track Review Outside The Comfort Zone
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Janus" CD/LP/Track Review Janus
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "WAHOO!" CD/LP/Track Review WAHOO!
by Greg Simmons
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "True Love Collection" CD/LP/Track Review True Love Collection
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Sing House" CD/LP/Track Review Sing House
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "Centreline Theory" CD/LP/Track Review Centreline Theory
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "Tied Together, Not to the Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Tied Together, Not to the Ground
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 9, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.