Concert preview: GU Jazz Ensemble
Duke Ellington may have first formed his big band 90 years ago, but his sensual melodies and complex, layered compositions still feel fresh alongside his contemporaries of the digital age.
Want proof? Come support the Georgetown University Jazz Ensemble in its Fall 2013 Concert tomorrow at 8 p.m. in the Gonda Theater.
This fall’s show is an all-Ellington set, highlighting some of his most recognizable tunes. The concert’s highlights will include hits like “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”, “Caravan,” “Portrait of Louis Armstrong,” “Symphony in Riffs,” “The Mooche,” “Prelude to a Kiss,” “I’m Just a Lucky So and So,” and many more.
This is the first time the GU Jazz Ensemble has decided to devote an entire show to a single composer. According to the band’s president, James Paulose (COL ’14), they decided it was about time, in order to “honor one of the most influential figures in American music, hailing from right here in Washington, D.C.”
Ellington’s compositions are famous for their lush harmonies and distinct sense of swing, and Paulose says it’s especially difficult to capture the exact dignified, bluesy sound.”Every piece requires the utmost focus from each musician,” he said. “Ellington was unique in that he wrote parts for the individual members of his ensemble based on their particular skills and style, and so we will also be honoring the talented members of his band by recreating their performances.
Paulose also points out the skill and talent of the new members in the band this semester. The ensemble boasts a rhythm section made up almost entirely of freshmen, two new saxophonists, and a new trumpeter that will be performing in the show.