The “Ellington Suites”, written over the course of several years, are the focus of this concert evening. In addition to the complete masterpiece “Far East Suite” by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn from 1964, the ZJO will also play excerpts from Ellington’s suites “Peer Gynt” and “Such Sweet Thunder”, as well as music composed by Duke Ellington for the soundtrack of the Otto Preminger film “Anatomy of a Murder”. A great evening for lovers of traditional big band music, Duke Ellington and of course the swinging Zurich Jazz Orchestra.
In 1963, the U.S. State Department sent the Duke Ellington Orchestra on a lengthy tour that took them to Jordan, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, other Middle Eastern countries and Iran, among others; it gave the musicians their first glimpse of the “other side of the world” A tour of Japan followed in 1964. In the course of the following three years, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn processed the travel impressions at intervals.
“Anatomy of a Murder” by Duke Ellington is one of the first major film scores to be recorded by a full-fledged jazz musician. It was a musical revelation that still sounds and seems fresh 64 years later. Duke Ellington even made an appearance in the film. This unusually self-conscious moment is key to recognizing Ellington’s importance to the film, when he jams with lead actor James Stewart at the piano. It’s one of the best bows to a film composer Hollywood has ever produced.