12/22/05

Two Emmy-nominated Duke Ellington films on DVD

Two Emmy-nominated films featuring Duke Ellington and directed by Ralph J. Gleason were released as a single DVD last month. Love You Madly, a 1967 documentary of Ellington’s later years, and A Concert of Sacred Music at Grace Cathedral, the premier performance in Ellington’s religious orchestral series, were released together and retitled Duke Ellington, out on Eagle Rock Entertainment.

In Love You Madly, Gleason profiles Ellington through concert footage and interviews with the legendary bandleader. The film includes performances of “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “Sophisticated Lady” and “Mood Indigo.”

A Concert of Sacred Music at Grace Cathedral was the first in a series of religious programs Ellington’s orchestra performed at churches across the country between 1965 and 1973. Ellington has the described the series as one of his greatest accomplishments. This particular concert, at the famed San Francisco cathedral, includes “In the Beginning, God;” “Ain’t But the One;” and “Come Sunday.”

Ashley Kahn, a music journalist and frequent JazzTimes contributor, penned the liner notes for the DVD package. Kahn briefly analyzes the Grace Cathedral concert and describes Gleason’s love for Ellington’s music and the historical importance of these two musical documents.

“That we have these valuable documents of Duke Ellington… We have Ralph J. Gleason to thank,” Kahn wrote.

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