As I surf the internet tubes I’m always on the look out for music for Sunday morning. This Sunday’s piece started with a recommendation in a recent post on science fiction writer, Spider Robinson’s blog. He suggested we would all be better if we listened to a recently recorded (2018) version of Duke Ellington’s Black, Brown and Beige performed by Wynton Marsalis. I couldn’t find that but I did find this performance that included A selection of Count Basie standards and Duke Ellington‘s Black, Brown and Beige too, performed by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra.
It is a bit long, almost 2 hours but this morning it made for a relaxing time as I cooked breakfast, ate it and did house work afterward.
Notes from the video
In this performance, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis plays essential big band music by Duke Ellington and Count Basie. For the first part of the concert, the JLCO swings through a number of classic Basie standards, including “April in Paris,” “Swinging the Blues,” and “Jumpin’ at the Woodside.” Count Basie’s band always brought a party with them when they came to town, and this performance will channel the unstoppable swing and iconic blues riffs that brought down the house wherever they went. The second half of the concert features a full performance of Ellington’s groundbreaking masterpiece Black, Brown & Beige. Originally composed for his 1943 debut at Carnegie Hall, it was advertised as “Duke Ellington’s first symphony,” and Ellington described the powerful three-movement suite as a “tonal parallel to the history of the American Negro.” Stung by the criticism of so ambitious and unexpected a work, he spent the rest of his life revising and updating it, leaving us with a distinctive suite of music that continues to inspire.
I’ve been planning todays selection for most of the week , listening to the doom and gloom in the background. Somewhere, I know, in our past was an America that for all it’s problems was idealistic enough to lead the world to a better life. The world of 2020 is a better world than the world of 1928. Not perfect but a far better place to live. Yet we seem to be hell bent on tearing that world down with little thought as to what needs to replace it. I think one thing about getting older is realizing that civilization ain’t a bad thing
Not trying to lecture here just trying to understand why all week I’ve been coming back to this Gershwin piece, An American in Paris. It conveys his experiences in Paris in the 1920’s. It is fun, lively, sensual, interesting and optimistic. Almost the exact opposite of where we seem to be these days.
Yuja Wang, the pianist for today’s selection also played the Brahms selection last Sunday. She was born and received early instruction in China and currently lives in New York City. If you have the time she has many videos on you tube browse through them and enjoy her talent.
Now for something peaceful and relaxing on a summer morning.