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Duke Ellington: The Music's "Great Spirit" (Fortsetzung) Teil 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5

     Ellington is the Classical American composer, with a world encircling understanding of the singularly expressive, pointedly sensuous possibilities of Music. His use of voice, vocalism, chorus, the incredibly beautiful harmonies...almost never fully reproduced by those who seek to...are literally stunning.
     Duke's Harmonic conception is Western Blue, the depth, Blue Black Deep, inferring a natural "unison" use of whole fabric of sound, placed precisely to caress the broadest chromatic spectrum of itself as color and drama, mood and emotion. Ellington's music is fundamentally lyric drama...Dramatic as sensuous ideation, containing narrative, call & response. Tales of passion or revelation, pain and uproarious joy.
     Some recent highly touted interpretations of Ellington seem superficial, the orchestra playing the written notes but unable to create the deep colors, powerful moods and transcendent imagery of the works, particularly the extended, more complex pieces, like the great Suites.
     Duke always tells a Tale or continues it, in ideosonic images, as rhythm-melodic verse, chromatic color mood sound emotion as living musical drama. This is the heavy historical presence the music brings, narrative images. The formal rationalization of Duke's music is the complex and inventive compositions. But the maestro always explained to the orchestra What the pieces were about. Their narrative Tale. The Mood's Meaning. E.g., "Characters", Settings, Dramatic Contexts and Scenes, as musical creations, musical relationships whose aesthetic whole is itself Narrative, ie, how it is put together..Musically! Ellington explained in his rehearsals what those relationships, of note, to phrase, to theme to emphasis, style, tempo create that evoke the particularity of the image he sought. Its Story, description, structure, musical functions, which propose a relationship direct or as a result of, as indirect, that exist as an infinite number of paradigms and examples. Metaphor is a function of anything, according to its context.
     Max Roach describing the sessions that produced the great "Money Jungle" relates that at the first rehearsal with himself and Charlie Mingus, before any music was played, Duke explained the "Mise en Scene", i.e., the dramatic world he wanted to create with that music.
     But whether the initial material and inspiration originates as Stride, Rag, old or new blues, they are expanded in their Use and meaning in the music that follows. Ellington combines, through the classic historical summation and convergence of cultural elements, All the Music We Know!

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