Civica Jazz Band

The Symphonic Ellington: Night Creature

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Duke Ellington did not write for symphony orchestras very often in his career, but when he did, the results were generally memorable. Two of his main works, the six-part "Night Creature" and the four-part "The Three Black Kings," plus an adaptation of the three-part "New World a-Comin'" are interpreted in Italy by the Civica Jazz Band (a big band) and the Ensemble dell'Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi. In addition, pianist Marco Fumao is featured on "Swampy River" and pianist Enrico Intra is showcased on a slower-than-usual version of "Take the 'A' Train." There are some strong solo moments along the way, including a string of solos during the third part of "The Three Black Kings," and the orchestra does justice to Duke's work, sometimes hinting at his own big band. This rarely performed music is well worth exploring.

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