American Symphony Orchestra Salutes Duke Ellington With Marcus Roberts Trio & Catherine Russell
American Symphony Orchestra culminates its 2019-20 Vanguard series on March 12 with a tribute to the genre-defying genius of the great Duke Ellington on the stage of Carnegie Hall, where the composer played a series of annual concerts and premiered many of his greatest works, including Black, Brown, and Beige and New World A-Comin'.
The evening, conducted by ASO's music director Leon Botstein, features two world premiere arrangements of New World A-Comin' and Three Black Kings for Jazz Trio and Large Orchestra by American jazz pianist, composer, arranger, bandleader, and teacher Marcus Roberts, who performs with his Marcus Roberts Trio. His method of writing for trio and orchestra is to blend the two ensembles, the seemingly different worlds of Jazz and Classical they each represent, and the contrasting approaches of improvisational and written music-making into a collage that is uniquely and unmistakably American. Grammy Award-winning vocalist Catherine Russell, best known for her album Harlem on my Mind and her appearance as a featured artist on the soundtrack album for the HBO TV series Boardwalk Empire, also joins the evening.
Duke Ellington Ellington's musical style employed a unique blend of classical and jazz compositional techniques that also combined improvisation with written works, making him one of the most influential jazz composers of all time. Although he considered his compositions "beyond category" and he never defined himself as a jazz composer, his instrumental groupings, improvisational skills and jazz arranging brought the world a notable American sound that can be heard in works like Sophisticated Lady and Harlem. His symphonic suite Three Black Kings demonstrates his focus on musical form and jazz composition. Ellington said his aim in writing Night Creature-which premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1955-was "to try to make the symphony swing."
Leon Botstein will provide the musical context for the program in a lively, 30-minute Conductor's Notes Q&A session, free for all ticket holders, one hour before the concert.
ASO: Duke Ellington Thursday, March 12, 2020 at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage) Conductor's Notes Q&A 7 PM Concert 8 PM Leon Botstein, conductor Marcus Roberts Trio Marcus Roberts, piano Rodney Jordan, bass Jason Marsalis, drums Catherine Russell, singer Three Black Kings (world premiere arrangement by Marcus Roberts) New World A-Comin' (world premiere arrangement by Marcus Roberts) Satin Doll Harlem Sophisticated Lady Night Creature for Jazz Band and Orchestra Black, Brown and Beige Suite
Tickets, priced at $25-$65, are available at carnegiehall.org, CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800 or the box office at 57th St & 7th Ave.