Naxos Music has released the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's recording of five of Duke Ellington's orchestral works.
The works were recorded in June at Kleinhans Music Hall. JoAnn Falletta conducted the BPO in performing "Harlem," "Black, Brown and Beige," "Three Black Kings," "The River Suite," and "Take the A Train." They were also featured on pops and classics concerts held in May.
"Duke Ellington wrote serious music for symphony orchestras ... with great power. I feel that he single-handedly elevated jazz to a level of artistry comparable to all the other art forms. The music is very beautiful; it's very symphonic, very orchestral," Falletta said.
Ellington wrote "Harlem" in 1950 as a tribute to his roots. "Black Brown and Beige" is a comment on three facets of the African-American experience. "Three Black Kings," the final work that Ellington composed, was originally written as a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., and expanded when Ellington got the idea to pay tribute to two legendary black kings, Balthazar and King Solomon. "The River Suite" was originally written for the American Ballet Theater, with choreography by Alvin Ailey. But Ellington's signature piece, that is most deeply associated with him, is "Take the A Train."
Already, this recording has garnered positive reviews from around the world. It received four stars from Scotland on Sunday, and has been appreciated by bloggers and customers. Many of the works are infrequently performed and recorded, and this new recording represents a rare chance for Ellington fans to hear this music.
The CD version is available for purchase at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra box office, located at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo, and at www.bpo.org. It is also available for download through www.naxos.com.