Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1998-1999 index

Distributed April 14, 1999
Contact: Glenn Hare

Duke Ellington centennial film to première at Brown April 26

Brown University will join the 100th birthday celebration of jazz composer and band leader Duke Ellington with the première of Swingin' With Duke: Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra With Wynton Marsalis. The screening is planned for Monday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Starr Auditorium of MacMillan Hall.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Brown University will join the worldwide Ellington Centennial, the 100th birthday acknowledgment of the great jazz composer and band leader Duke Ellington, with the première screening of the film, Swingin' With Duke: Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra With Wynton Marsalis, Monday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Starr Auditorium of MacMillan Hall.

Produced for the PBS series Great Performances by WNET (New York) and Storyville Films, the 90-minute program weaves performances by the acclaimed Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, under the musical direction of trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis, with documentary footage that explores the heart of Ellington's passions as a composer and band leader.

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, credited with more than 2,000 works, was one of the most prolific American composers of the 20th century, both in numbers of compositions and variety of forms. His development as a composer was underscored by more than 50 years of sustained achievement as an artist and entertainer. He is considered by many to be America's greatest composer, band leader and recording artist.

Directed by Oren Jacoby, Swingin' With Duke contains excerpts from a rarely seen concert appearance featuring the legendary singer Ella Fitzgerald with Ellington and his orchestra, and Marsalis in conversation with 60 Minutes correspondent and jazz fan Ed Bradley and novelist and Ellington friend Albert Murray. These distinguished guests provide insights on Ellington in a variety of contexts - revisiting his favorite haunts in Harlem, speaking on a local jazz show and hanging out in jazz clubs after hours.

The program also showcases several of the Ellington Orchestra's best-known works, as well as lesser-known gems, reflecting the themes that most frequently inspired his compositions - dancing, trains, women and the spirit of places like New York and New Orleans. The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra is featured performing Take the A Train, and Mood Indigo. Renowned jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves joins the orchestra on Bli-Blip and Rocks In My Bed. On hand, too, is tenor saxophone legend Illinois Jacquet, and later in the show, veteran dancer Frankie Manning stops by to show a group of young dancers from the new swing craze sweeping the country how it was really done.

An avid jazz enthusiast, Jacoby produced and directed Benny Goodman: King of Swing and Doc and Nick, a music video for Verve Records with the late trumpet great Doc Cheatham.