Following our April 24 remembrance of Duke Ellington’s 70thbirthday party at the White House, be aware that Jim Wilke has prepared a special Ellington broadcast on his Jazz Northwest. Here is part of the Jazz Northwest alert and instructions for listening:
These unique performances combine excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays with Duke Ellington’s musical portraits of the featured characters. The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra is conducted by Michael Brockman with guest actors from The Seattle Shakespeare Company, Darragh Kennan and Hana Lass (pictured below with SRJO pianist Randy Halberstadt).“Such Sweet Thunder” was commissioned by the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, and premiered at Town Hall in New York City in 1957. It was recorded the same year by the Duke Ellington Orchestra. To the best of our knowledge, it has never been performed with actors except by The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra and Seattle Shakespeare Company, who first joined in this production in 2014.These performances were recorded at Kirkland Performance Center and Edmonds Center for the Arts on April 22 and 23, 2018. Because of the length of the suite and the readings, highlights from the two concerts will be broadcast in two parts, May 6 and 13. Jazz Northwest airs Sundays at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KNKX, and streams at knkx.org. The concerts were recorded and produced for KNKX by host Jim Wilke. Special thanks to the actors and to George Mount of Seattle Shakespeare for his participation and assistance.