Monday, July 30, 2012

Ellington Legacy; Michael White's New Orleans - Bob Stewart

With "Single Petal of a Rose", the talent-laden Duke Ellington Legacy offers an insightful tour through a program of masterpieces by Ellington and his inimitable creative partner, Billy Strayhorn. A nine-piece multi-generational ensemble founded by guitarist Edward Kennedy Ellington II, Duke's grandson, the Legacy explores sublime ballads, hard-charging flag wavers, lustrous tone poems and sultry vocals, channeling an essentially Ellingtonian spirit from a contemporary perspective. With savvy music direction by saxophonist Virginia Mayhew and brilliant arrangements by pianist Norman Simmons, the band fully adheres to Duke's prime directive, swinging as if their lives depended on it.

New Orleans jazz luminary Dr. Michael White returns with "Adventures in New Orleans Jazz, Part 2", which lays much closer to its roots than the internationally spiced Part 1. A propelling force of classic New Orleans jazz, the unique experiences that the clarinetist has had throughout his career paired with his ability to articulate the significance and timelessness of the music has made him a highly influential voice. In addition to receiving the NEA's National Heritage Fellowship Award, White was named Louisiana Humanist of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, and he also won the Offbeat Magazine Best of the Beat Award as Clarinetist of the Year, and Gambit Magazine's Big Easy Entertainment Award for Traditional Jazz Artist of the Year.

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