Duke Ellington

The Clothed Woman in "Mirage: Avant-Garde and Third Stream Jazz"

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Much is written about the magnificient compositions and career of Duke Ellington in the Jazz and Classical sections of this guide, but this piece, recorded on December 30, 1947 (originally issued on Columbia 38236), deserves special attention as a precursor of the pointillistic style in both advanced Afro-American and Eurocentric music. The opening and closing statements of this short work are in free or open time (no pulse or rhythm) and are made from chordal forms abstracted from Ellington's piano "punctuation" accompaniment style (developed over 20 years at the time of this recording)...the resulting sound is several years in advance of a similar sound in serialist music and "free jazz". Avoiding the usual idea of the "bridge" of a song, the mid-section of this composition has a steady pulse is built by placing these gestures over a chromatic boogie-bass figure which serves as a non-modulating, suspended-in-time nervous drone.