Scotland’s award-winning, internationally acclaimed jazz orchestra delivers an authentic Ellington experience under the leadership of saxophonist-director Tommy Smith with special guest, pianist Brian Kellock.
Recorded on tour in Scotland in October 2012, In the Spirit of Duke captures the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra in one of its best-ever performances, getting under the skin of the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Following every last Ellington detail, including the stage set-up, using specially sourced period mutes and playing scores that in some cases were specially transcribed from Ellington performances, SNJO director Tommy Smith set out to give audiences as close to the real-deal Ellington experience as possible. And he succeeded.
Audience responses were ecstatic and reviews enthused about the triumph in presenting the music, which spanned almost Ellington’s entire career, as both true to the spirit of the original and as if it was freshly minted.
The repertoire includes such Ellington hits as Black & Tan Fantasy, Concerto for Cootie, Harlem Airshaft and a ravishing tenor-piano duet of The Single Petal of a Rose and as well as movements from The Queen’s Suite, it features extracts from Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s, at the time, controversial re-interpretation of Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite.
With outstanding individual performances from soloists including pianist Brian Kellock and a world-class ensemble sound, this is Ellington and the SNJO rockin’ in rhythm, harmony and peerless swingtime.