Duke Ellington’s “Black, Brown and Beige” Suite

After listening to an Open Source interview with biographer Harvey Cohen,  I wanted to hear Duke Ellington’s Black, Brown and Beige Suite. It’s one of Ellington’s longest and most ambitious compositions. It’s had a complicated and incomplete recording history since its premiere at Ellington’s first Carnegie Hall concert in 1943. I believe I have a vinyl record of that legendary performance, first released in 1977, somewhere in my house. But even if I dug it out of storage, I no longer have a stereo turntable to play it.

So YouTube comes to the rescue. Thanks to Praguedive for posting excerpts from the 1944 studio recording. Part 1 includes “Work Song” and “Come Sunday from the “Black” movement, and part 2 features “The Blues” from the “Brown” movement. The last clip here is the complete “Brown” movement from the Carnegie Hall concert.

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