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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Sacred side of jazz

Seattle group records Duke Ellington

Jazz master Duke Ellington is well known for his sacred music. Since 1989 an annual performance of this work has taken place in Seattle. A recent two-disc CD features the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in Sacred Music of Duke Ellington (Origin Records). It contains music from all three of Ellington’s “Sacred Music Concerts,” which his orchestra premiered in 1965, 1968 and 1973. The live recordings are from the Seattle event between 2001 and 2005.

Raised in the Baptist and African American Episcopal Zion churches, Ellington attributed much of his music to his faith. The “Sacred Music Concerts” compositions demonstrate every style of jazz, as well as gospel music, blues, spirituals and classical traditions in the various parts. The pieces incorporate choral and solo singing, and spoken word.


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