Tag Archives: Duke Ellington

Come Sunday, We Shall Gather at the River

For several Sunday mornings now, I have walked down to the Little Miami River following a path in the woods that takes me past some mossy stones that once made up foundations for cabins inhabited by fugitive slaves. The spot isn’t far from the Mill where I used to live, which was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The woods are so thickly overgrown now with honeysuckle that I have to stop and search for the stones. In the quiet of the morning I hear a wood thrush singing even this late in August. Then I hum the tune to Duke Ellington’s masterpiece, “Come Sunday.” Continue reading

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An American Arc from Emerson to Ellington

One of my great joys in listening to Radio Open Source is Christopher Lydon’s reliable insight into the cultural resonance of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I never imagined a connection between Emerson and Duke Ellington until Lydon traced it in an interview with Ellington biographer Harvey Cohen.

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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.

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