A Duke Ellington-Billy Strayhorn Extravanganza At U.C.L.A. April 4,5 2009

Professor Kenny Burrell Hosts Ellington Bash Honoring 97 Year Old Herb Jeffries Featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater!

Duke Ellington's 110th Birthday Celebration April 4, 5 2009 At Schoenberg Hall U.C.L.A.!

This festival of music celebrated a man many consider to be the most important musician in the 20th century. Moreover, there is a growing worldwide consensus that Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington is the greatest composer, and music contributor America has ever produced. There are some who even say Ellington was the greatest composer in history because of his ability to combine for the first time the musical elements of two different cultures, and produce superb music his entire life, and of course with his collaborator Billy Strayhorn for most of his career.

Professor Paul Chiara calls "Ellington our Mozart".

Professor James Newton says "Ellington profoundly changed what was possible in music." "He was grounded in tradition, yet chose to be perpetually avant-garde". With a foundation of the root languages of spirituals, the blues, layered with early New Orleans jazz, Harlem stride, American popular music, and French impressionism, Ellington's diverse compositional palette delivered many insights into the understanding of our ever evolving human condition".

A small portion of this pallete was eloquently delivered by the students, faculty and special guests this special first weekend in April of 2009. This musical extravangza was the greatest live musical experience I've ever had in my life, and it was captured in video and audio, and hopefully those of you who unfortunately were not present will be able to experience some of what a few thousand people and I experienced. It was standing room only during the night performances as the price was right as Duke also performed at UCLA in 1937 for free.

Because of the graciousness of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, the Department of Ethnomusicology, and the friends of jazz at UCLA have given those of us who have fallen in rough economic times a bright hope for a glorious future as Ellington is not the past, but the future!

This future was exemplified by the outstanding musicianship of the UCLA students who were mentored by what Herbie Hancock calls "the greatest jazz faculty in the nation". Dr. Kenny Burrell, George Bohannon, Clayton Cameron, Charley Harrison, Tamir Hendelman, Wolf Marshall, Roberto Miranda, Barbara Morrison, James Newton, Charles Owens, Ruth Price, Bobby Rodriquez, and Michele Weir!

The UCLA Jazzers are second to none in the world. The great jazz schools like the Berkelee School of Music, North Texas State, Indiana University, University of South Florida and many others produce thousands of great musicians every year for which there is scant employment, but it's not the quantity of musicians who receive jazz educations, but it's the quality of individual performers finding their voice who prevail!

Some at UCLA are already beginning to find their individual voices which will resonate for years to come. Just to name a few Sheila Judson, Kanami Shimanuki, Jake Jamieson, Adam Shumate, Julian Le, Spencer Dunn, Randy Taylor, Mike Greenwood, Anna Kent, Dan Marschak, Mark Einhorn, Andrew Longaker; this was the first time I've ever heard these students, and there were dozens of student performers; so please excuse me if I neglected to mention you in this review. just invite me to your next recital!

Pianist Mike Greenwood, Drummer Travis Barnes, Bassist Ryan Mahlstedt opened the Duke Extravanganza with a swinging Take The A Train! Greenwood began rubato and introduced Duke's theme which would be heard several more times throughout the day and evening in different tempos and with different musicians; Once in tempo, the students showed they are professionals. It had a nice groove, some big rim shots from Barnes, a little too loud for a trio, but Greenwood showed nice chops and built his solo to a climax; I've heard the same standard licks many, many times, but as the program evolved several of the students showed some originality in creating and presenting their solos.

Student vocalists Sheila Judson as "Queenie Pie" and the Swinging Kanami Shimanuki were the best collegiate vocalists I've ever heard! With a little refinement, they are ready for the jazz road! However they might think about entering the Thelonious Monk Competition which helped launch the career of present jazz stars, Roberta Gambarini, Jane Monheit And Tierney Sutton.

Ms. Shinmanuki of Japanese and Brazilian parentage has been singing since she was 3 years old and has been swinging ever since. Her mannerisms resemble one of the finest vocalists today, Roberta Gambarini who was scatting with Ella and Louie in her native Torino when she was two years old. We love her madly!

Five student vocalists presented "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" which allowed each to solo and scat. The number at a tempo of about 200 made everyone work in harmony literally and figuratively, a fine performance!

Alto Saxophonist Mark Einhorn and trio opened with a funky arrangement of Chelsea Bridge which would have made Billy smile. Great solos by Mike, pianist Adam Shumate, bassist Charlie Domingo, accompanied by the tasteful Terry Goldberg. Shumate ended CB appropriately with the first strains of Lush Life.

Then Einhorn presented a beautiful arrangement of "Sunset and The Mockingbird" which Duke wrote in a noisy after hours club in London. ( GO TO www.wenjaz.blogspot.com, scroll down to hear it from Bob Udkoff, Duke's road mgr. for 50 years.) Nice solos, gorgeous chords!

Pianist Julian Le of Chinese-Vietnamese parentage from Albany High School, Albany, Ca. where I once subbed shows tremendous promise, perhaps along the lines of Gerald Clayton who went from USC right into Roy Hargrove's group and also playing an incredible solo on Roberta Gambarini's "Only Trust Your Heart" as he zoomed into the world of today's youngest jazz stars. Le and trio accompany the swinging Ms. Shimanuki on one of Duke's older numbers, "Chocolate Shake". (I'm not sure of the correct title here.) Le showed some nice chops, probably from his classical studies as his father is a classical pianist.

Ms. Shimanuki shows she can take it down a notch with a grooving I'm Just A Lucky So And So. Closing the Saturday evening program, Kenny and Dee Dee Bridgewater did a very sexy version of this number.

The vocalists all should have gone to school this weekend by listening to Dee Dee who put on a clinic in vocalizing as she put the Bridgewater touch on every note the entire weekend, "Prelude to a Kiss", "Come Sunday", "I Got it Bad", "Things Ain't What They Used to Be ".

Trombonist Spencer Dunn offered a very unique version of Billy Strayhorn's "Bloodcount", never in my life have I heard it done in a rather funky fashion. I’m sure Billy would have smiled at this as well. The solo chorus was very nice; head out more classic, beautifully done! Mr. Dunn has a great, mature sound on bone, arco ending by Zachary Samuels.

Strayhorn's "Johnny Come Lately " at a tempo of about 180 again showcased Mr. Dunn showing some nice chops; great future for Mr. Dunn; nice solo from bassist Zachary Samuels, trading fours with Sarah Mori on brushes, a future Cindy Blackman. head out, very well done!

African Flower is introduced by bassist Charlie Domingo and pianist Adam Shumate; Mark Einhorn's haunting alto brings in the theme; nice harmony with trumpeter Daniel Richman who takes a nice solo, takes his time like Miles; Einhorn takes a grooving, soulful solo with nice comping from the pianist Shumate; Shumate expresses an original Monkish interpretation of this Ellington chestnut which is not played very often! harmonized head out! Very well arranged and executed! swings nicely!

A Single Petal of A Rose gorgeously and tenderly introduced by Shumate; enter the lush sounds of Einhorn and the muted trumpeter Daniel Richman and the beautiful guitar sound of Andrew Longaker, sounds like Kenny!

A swinging versIon of I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart at a tempo of about 180 featured fine guitar, piano, trumpet, bass solos kicked by Jake Jamieson, a drummer who can really kick ass and shows the potential of being a Louie Bellson, Buddy Rich, Art Blakey, Max Or Tony Williams, a young man from Calabasas! (he's one of the first guys i would call to play with me as i've experienced Billy Higgins, Akira Tana, Anthony Brown and Tootie Heath!) head out done very well as this is not the easiest tune to play at a brisk tempo!

In A Sentimental Mood gorgeously introduced by muted Trumpeter Daniel Richman; bridge delicately done by Shumate; nice solos from the aforementioned students. very well soulfully executed!

Jake kicks off a brisk Take The A Train, guitarist Longaker takes the first chorus, a nice Burrellish sound, plenty of chops; pianist Shumate lays out a thoughtful, original solo for a tune which has been performed at least a million times by jazzers all over the world. (i don't know who gets the royalties for A Train, the Strayhorn estate or the mob!) nice bass solo aided by Jake. trading fours, Jake talks! ( i tell you you want Jake to play with you, but only if you're amplified.) head out trading 2 bar phrases, very well done!

Trumpet virtusoso, Professor Jens Lindemann presented a very effective student brass ensemble playing great arrangements of "East St. Louis Toodle-O", "The Mooch", and "Caravan". very nicely done! the students were mostly from California, many from the bay area. (if i were a jazz student, i would definitely head to Socal, UCLA, USC, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State etc. as the bay area universities don't seem to give jazz its appropriate place in higher education! (After all it is America's classical music and should be promoted as such President Obama!) Great tuba work by Marc Bolin! (a prize winning arrangement of Caravan by J.D.Shaw and Lindemann with counterpoint, exciting brass flourishes, need chops to play this!, just imagine Sandoval, Faddis, Marsalis, Sean Jones, Nicholas Payton, Wallace Roney, Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Brown, Roy Hargrove, Jeremy Pelt, Dizzy, Roy Eldridge and others playing this together!)

The brilliant composer, arranger Professor Paul Chihara presented a student string quartet playing his gorgeous arrangements of Sophisticated Lady and Take The A Train; Chihara who did Sophisticated Ladies On Broadway is another great writer for strings in Socal alongside greats Clare Fischer and Johnny Mandel. The beauty of two violins, viola, cello will make you weep, and these arrangements will drain you as they did the audience whose applause erupted like a volcano! Cellist Misha Khalikulov ably walked the bass line on A Train, almost Ron Carterish!

But when it comes to swinging, accenting and bebopping on the violin bring in Lesa Terry, Clark Terry's cousin and protege who with pianist Tom Ranier presented a gorgeous rendition of "T.G.T.T" (Too Good To Title).

Faculty member Ranier performed a tasteful "Single Petal Of A Rose"! (Ranier also blows bebop clarinet like Eddie Daniels AND Buddy Defranco!)

Kenny presented an Ellington montage composed of a delicate, sensitive Azure with blues licks (Kenny has to be one of the greatest blues guitarists in the world. i hear him all the time on Direct Satellite.) segues to Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me, Don't Get Around Much Anymore, (There is a common hook in A Train which is used in many Ellington, Strayhorn tunes which originated I think with Fats Waller.) then Kenny slides into Warm Valley, In A Sentimental Mood. (Suppose you wanted to play Ellington's 3000 plus pieces. It would take you years to find them all, Library Of Congress, Yale, other schools. and it will take you years to learn them and years to record them.) Lesa Terry and Tom Rainier follow Kenny into a gorgeous rendition of "In A Sentimental Mood".

Kenny brings in faculty members Clayton Cameron and Roberto Miranda with "C Jam Blues". Bebop! Clayton does an amazing Max Roach type solo with brushes.

The UCLA Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Neal Stulberg is probably the swingest symphony orchestra in the world!

They did a super job on Echoes Of Harlem with Professor Jens Lindemann doing a superb Cootie Williams. Lindemann had recorded this before with The Canadian Brass with a wonderful arrangement by Duke's classical arm Luther Henderson. Luther Henderson's son and daughter were in the audience!!!!!!!!!!

This composition first recorded in the mid 30s based on minor triads and the blues set the tone for many future American compositions including Gershwin's, An American In Paris and Rhapsody In Blue and also Duke's later, A Tone Parallel To Harlem. in other words Duke used a clarinet lead with Barney Bigard and Jimmy Hamilton in the late 30s which was later picked up and minted by Glenn Miller in the 40s. (Was clarinetist, saxophonist and Mary Fettig protege Anna Kent recruited from the east bay just to play the Bigard and Hamiliton parts? She has a great sound, capturing all the overtones, and she's only a freshman! Look out world!)

Dee Dee Bridgewater then proceeded to milk every note of "Prelude To A Kiss" (arr. Alan Broadbent) and "Come Sunday" to make her claim as the world's number one female jazz vocalist! (One really shouldn't rank vocalists, but after Ella, Sarah, Carmen, Shirley et al, we are all looking for the person everyone wants to hear all the time. i have my favorites; www.wenjaz.blogspot.com) The Philharmonia gave Dee Dee a gorgeous foundation. All jazz artists and vocalists must record with strings as Bird did (Just Friends) (Getz-Focus, Lovano-Symphonia, Krall-Live In Paris), and this will bring you closer to becoming a household word and and providing the masses with easily digestible fare!) (look at what Chris Botti is doing as he's the only jazz artist ever to get on Oprah!.)

Dee Dee took "Come Sunday" to another level, different from Mahalia Jackson, but definitely as effective.

The Philharmonia presented a gorgeous A Tone Parallel To Harlem which Duke first recorded in the 50s which most accurately musically portrays Harlem from the Renassiance to its present day in the 50s with the blues echoing throughout, the crowded urban streets, the happenings all around this wonderful area of NYC, an area which produced many forms of original art for American Society And The World. This musical masterpiece providing solo room for the individualistic members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Jimmy Hamilton, Cootie, Rabbit, Harry Carney et al., a wonderful portrait of one of the greatest areas in the nation. Take the A Train!

This UCLA Philharmonia swings like no other! Great ensemble playing, strings, reeds, all together tight.

A fitting closer to an astounding first day of Ellingtonia, "A Lucky So And So" with everyone, and i and others in the audience are the lucky so and sos for being present.

Sunday opened with Ellington's folk opera "Queenie Pie" starring one of the best singers i've heard in my entire life student or otherwise, Sheila Judson.

Here's a synopsis of "Queenie Pie" which is being perfomed at the University of Texas, Austin the week of April 17th and stars Carmen Bradford! Duke's opera deserves to be performed much more; perhaps UCLA Jazz can present it in it's entirety in the future.

Queenie Pie is the National Honorary Degree and Title bestowed annually upon the Beautician-Cosmetologist voted “best” by her professional colleagues. The celebration surrounding the event is a Mardi Gras in Harlem, held on the 13th of every May. For the past ten years, Queenie has earned and held the esteemed title. She came up from the ranks of Beauticians, diligently studying and working to become the best. She has also entered into the business of producing Beauty Products.

With business and position fairly secure, Queenie has settled in to a life of social respectability. Her place is a gathering salon for interesting people. She and they all love each other madly - a most necessary ingredient: a mixture of instant approval and applause.

This years’ contest find Queenie in serious trouble with a beautiful, young contender: the smooth, sleek personification of her name, Café Olay. Possessed of a bad, jealous temper, Cafe Olay is trouble. Holt Fay, a handsome member of Queenie’s circle, is in charge of the contest festivities and has fallen in love with Café Olay.

The contest now becomes a personal struggle for these three and tragedy sets in when Café Olay kills Holt Fay. Queenie wins the title and crown again, but by default. Queenie realizes that time is fast on her heels and during a poignant self-appraisal her faithful old friend and servant guides her thoughts back to his birthplace - an uncharted island, where there is a magic formula for everlasting anythingness.

Queenie embarks on the journey to this island, acquires the mysterious article of necessity only to lose it through a mix-up in the following directions. Throughout the subsequent events, Queenie must now decide what is important in her life: the prize or living while on the road to attaining the Prize. She must learn and choose, as did Holt Fay, where to go to give up.

Holt Fay is ably and artistically portrayed by Randy Taylor from Pomona. This young man definitely has a future on Broadway! Elllington's music is gorgeous, the harmony stupendous, the student singers, wonderful! (some Broadway prospects there as well!) Altoist Mark Einhorn plays great bebop and shows his pensive balladry. Professor Jens Lindemann plays the shit out of the blues ala Cootie Williams, Anna Kent, Mary Fettig's protege from the east bay fills the Barney Bigard, Jimmy Hamilton chair with ease. Only a freshman, Ms. Kent has a great sound, capturing all the overtones on clarinet and tenor. She solos well and plays lead well as Ellington was probably one of the earliest band leaders to utilize the clarinet lead way back in the 30s. Ms. Kent and Mr. Einhorn are definitely ones to watch as future jazz stars along with my man Jake and pianist Adam Shumate, guitarist Andrew Longaker from Culver City. (Longaker says he wants to play with me in Santa Monica. Glad to have him as well any student from UCLA Jazz!) Anthony Debenedetti (any relation to Tony?) played Harry Carney's notes to perfection. I heard him loud and clear as the the bottom is absolutely essential to Ellingtonia! Freshman director Marc Bolin did a magnificent job putting "Queenie Pie" together. (He is as much of a freshman as I am, as I want to enroll as a freshman at ucla as well after listening to these students!)

Randy was especially effective on "My Father's Island" done this Sunday as a bossa; i don't know whether Duke did it as a calypso or what. Shumate shows great chops with his intros and solos; the singers are terrific!

Sheila Judson not only can perform operatic, but she can also swing!

Ellington's MUSIC in this opera which we never hear is absolutely profound and futuristic, especially when you consider this was showcased for the first time around 1957. All Ellingtonia is as valid in 2009 as it was when it was first made public from the 1930s to the present, timeless beauty!

Ms. Jordan is so versatile. Too bad L.A. is not Broadway!

The beauty of this music overwhelms me; I know I'm repeating myself, but this is the first draft of the Ellington two day extravanganza! Some beautiful bone work from one of the students. Ms. Jordan along with the trombone counter melody is absolutely gorgeous! It's vintage Ellington using the soprano voice as the top lead with the entire orchestra in gorgeous coloration.

Ms. Jordan enunciates clearly as she tells Queenie Pie's story. "I've been queen of the day. of the bay..all the way to UCLA..." cool! she swings, tempo changes (this is NOT easy music!) Duke conveys his message to all of us "I Don't Want To Die Alone" as are some of my homeless friends in Santa Monica.

Professor Lindemann tears up the end of the Queenie Pie folk opera with a swinging performance; he's a true bebopper as are all the members of the Queenie Pie ensemble, some great lead work from a guest trumpet player from the bay area.

Ellington's Sacred Music featured the honored musical greats Dwight Tribble, Chester Whitmore, and others! Broadway AND THE Met have nothing that we don't have in Socal! "David danced before the Lord with all his might" from "Black Brown And Beige " was ably and enthusiastically performed by the eloquent Mr. Whitmore.

As Duke said, "Everyone prays to God in his own language, and God understands it all!

PROFESSOR CHARLES OWENS WHO ALSO CONDUCTS SOCAL'S MINGUS ORCHESTRA brought out the best in ELLLINGTON'S SACRED MUSIC.

MR. TRIBBLE ALA PAUL ROBESON wailed and gospelled ELLINGTONIA TO HEAVEN! again Ms Kent played well; Mr. Shumate got his fills in and comped well; the supporting singers were great!

Shumate introduces "Come Sunday" beautifully, and Mr. Tribble sent us to church this Sunday in Westwood! The ensemble was gorgeous! dynamics great; ..JUST CLOUDS PASSING BY...DEAR LORD ABOVE...GOD ALMIGHTY GOD OF LOVE...PLEASE LOOK DOWN AND AND SEE MY PEOPLE THROUGH...I BELIEVE THAT GOD PUT THE SUN AND MOON IN THE SKY..I DON'T MIND THE GREY SKIES AS THERE JUST CLOUDS PASSING BY...DEAR LORD, DEAR LORD ABOVE, GOD ALMIGHTY, GOD OF LOVE, PLEASE LOOK DOWN AND SEE MY PEOPLE THROUGH...there's no more thoughtful prayer than that!

Shumate then brings in a wonderful soprano voice of Lauren Michelle! (as one listens to and plays more Ellington and Strayhorn, the music becomes one gorgeous montage as ably preseented by Professor Burrell. There is no beginning and ending, The music just flows continuously, effortless modulations, and that's the way it should be. It will continue to flow til the end of time.

It's amazing how Ellington combined the soprano voice with strings. It brings tears to your eyes! Ms. Michelle was outstanding!

FREEDOM, FREEDOM, FREEDOM only ELLINGTON could put the blues in SACRED MUSIC! but what is sacred music anyway? TO ME, ALL GOOD MUSIC IS SACRED. Shumate plays some nice blues licks and swings! FREEDOM SWINGS! without FREEDOM, there is no swinging! JAZZ, DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM!

HEAVEN MY DREAM, HEAVEN DIVINE, HEAVEN COMBINES EVERY SWEET AND PRETTY THING LIFE WOULD LOVE TO BRING...Tribble and Shumate bring this to life with all the delicacy imaginable!

Chester Whitmore, little known to most of us, but a great artist known by other great artists "DANCED BEFORE THE LORD WITH ALL HIS MIGHT". (i was fortunate in my life to have played BLACK BROWN AND BEIGE IN PERFORMANCE IN CHICAGO, at the time i really didn't know the history of this great music, but now i feel very fortunate!) This was conducted by Maestro Owens at a tempo of about 200 plus, and Ms. Kent blew a great clarinet solo! Charlie Domingo and Terry Goldberg gave great rhythmic support.

I hope UCLA makes a video as Mr. Whitmore is something else!

Shumate's gorgeous block chords, Einhorn's fine baritone sound, Ms Kent's clarinet cadenza beautifully introduce..IN THE BEGINNING GOD.....AS MR.TRIBBLE sings for humanity; in tempo IN THE BEGINNING GOD... (you have to realize these talented students are replacing DUKE HIMSELF, HARRY CARNEY, RUSSELL PROCOPE, JIMMY HAMILTON!)(NO MORE BULLSHIT ON EARTH. LET'S GO TO HEAVEN!) IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS NO MAN'S INHUMANTY TO HIS FELLOW MAN AS THERE IS NOW! WAR, WAR AND MORE WAR! POVERTY, POVERTY AND MORE POVERTY!

Three big bands, honored guests, closed out the magnificent Ellington extravanganza weekend.

UCLA'S CONTEMPORARY JAZZ LARGE ENSEMBLE DIRECTED BY PROFESSORS KENNY BURRELL, JAMES NEWTON, STUDENT DIRECTOR NICK DEPINNA opened Sunday's grand evening!

CHESTER WHITMORE led the ensemble opening with KO KO with DeBenedetti's Harry Carney notes kicking off a very swinging version with the muted trumpets, the kicking Jake Jamieson, Dan Marschak, and Charlie Domingo propelling the ensemble onward and upward!

Dan Marshak presented a very beautiful, impressionistic arrangement of "Prelude To A Kiss"; once in tempo at a medium four, the ensemble began to take shape, and Marshak laid out his blues licks on one of Ellington's most gorgeous ballads written in 1938 and now being played in 2009, a lovely alto sound brings the head back to ballad tempo.

PROFESSOR JAMES NEWTON directed "The Mooche" as only he can! This classic composed by DUKE in 1929 at the end of the roaring 20s before the depression gives one much needed joy today. The glorious sounds of Anna Kent's clarinet opened the soloing, followed by some fine trumpet and alto work; nice ensemble playing on one of DUKE's earliest blues thereby laying the framework for many future jazz compositions. The ensemble handled the dynamics very well!

"Isfahan" by Billy Strayhorn from Duke's FAR EAST SUITE featured the fine alto sounds of Ryan Weston.

CHESTER WHITMORE then kicked off a swinging RIDIN' on a Blue Note composed by DUKE in 1938. The medium four tempo allowed choreographer Whitmore to put on his dancing shoes again. The soloing was in high gear with the ensemble members and with Domingo, Jake AND Marshak propelling the soloists and Whitmore into a solid groove. Great ensemble playing and soloing to the delight of a very appreciative audience.

PROFESSOR KENNY BURRELL directed "AFTER BIRD JUNGLE" composed in 1963 which is largely unknown, but was recorded in Europe! This piece was sent to Kenny by someone in A DUKE ELLINGTON EUROPEAN SOCIETY! The piece reflects what perhaps was in DUKE'S mind after BIRD passed. We all know BIRD LOVED BARTOK. So in this piece you hear DUKE offering very modern, impressionistic sounds of the future. Again Anna Kent's beautiful clarinet sound opened this gorgeous composition! The lush sounds of the saxophone section provide a beautiful backdrop for Ms. Kent. (DUKE'S WRITING FOR THE SAXOPHONE SECTION IS VERY SIMILAR TO THE WAY HE USES STRINGS AS A BACKGROUND) THIS COMPOSITION MUST BE HEARD! AND I'M ONE OF THE FEW PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WHO HAS EVER HEARD THIS, JUST INCREDIBLE!

DWIGHT TRIBBLE really kicked the ensemble into gear with "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing"! again Charlie Domingo laid down the foundation with his effective bass line! Tribble traded fours with Altoist Weston, Jake Jamieson and perpuated Duke's message forever!

"I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart" was kicked off by BMORRBLUES BARBARA MORRISON and THE UCLA LATINJAZZ ENSEMBLE directed by DR. BOBBY RODRIZQUEZ (hear him and Barbara at www.jamwave.com/birdmew) sequeing into a beautiful "In A Sentimental Mood" by Ms. Morrison...ROSE PETALS ...DIVINE... IN A SENTIMENTAL MOOD... I WAS IN A WORLD SO HEAVENLY....(1935) then to "Do Nothin Til You Hear From Me" (1943) by now the ensemble is swinging as the perfect time Ms. Morrison can swing a band by herself!

MISTER TIME HIMSELF ERNIE ANDREWS opened with his and the Duke-Strayhorn classic "Satin Doll". Andrews often opens with "Satin Doll" as I've seen him do this before maybe 20 years ago! It's a great opener, gets the audience swinging and tapping their feet, then segueing into the lovely "I Got It Bad". ... WHEN MONDAY COMES AROUND I FEEL AS IF I STARTED JUST CRYING MY HEART OUT...I GOT IT BAD AND THAT AIN'T GOOD! "DON'T GET AROUND MUCH ANYMORE" and then "SOPHISTICATED LADY" what's more georgous than this? "THEY SAY", just that half step intro will send you into an orgasm..."SMOKING, DRINKING, ....OF TOMORROW.... YOUR DIAMONDS...IS THAT ALL YOU REALLY WANT?....SOPHISTICATED LADY I KNOW....YOU TAKE GOTTA TO TAKE THE A TRAIN in ballad tempo. what's more beautiful? ..."...HURRY..
HURRY...NOW IT'S...CAN'T YOU HEAR?....CAN'T YOU HEAR?...I'M NOT MUCH TO LOOK AT ...BUT I'VE GOT A LADY WAITING FOR ME...HURRY, HURRY AND TAKE THE A TRAIN"....in classic swinging tempo..., a ritard. what a finish for ANDREWS AND THE UCLA LATINJAZZ ENSEMBLE to the roar of the crowd.

JUMP FOR JOY (1941) presented as a salsa would indeed bring a smile to Mr. Ellington!

SPECIAL GUEST ARTIST DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER was brought to tears with an award for MUSICAL EXCELLENCE from Professor Burrell.

KENNY musically introduced guest BILL HENDERSON on "Mood Indigo", ..."THAT FEELING, THOSE FEELINGS, DOWN TO MY SHOE...WHILE I SIT AND ..GO LONG BLUE...ALWAYS GETS THAT MOOD INDIGO, SINCE MY BABY SAID GOODBYE, The rhythm section comes in.....THE INDIGO BLUES IS SOMETHING ALL TOGETHER...YOU AIN'T BEEN BLUE TILL YOU'VE HAD THAT INDIGO BLUEEEEEEEEEEEE to rousing applause!

PROFESSOR CHARLEY HARRISON directing the UCLA JAZZ ORCHESTRA opened with a swinging HARLEM AIR SHAFT based on rhythm changes, fine trumpet solo from DANIEL RICHMAN, and again the beautiful clarinet sounds of Anna Kent soloing over the ensemble. The Orchestra provided a wonderful backdrop for 97 years young "MR. FLAMINGO" HERB JEFFRIES. At his age, JEFFRIES can still croon "FLAMINGO" in the same way he has seduced millions with his recording thoughout the years! Singing from a wheel chair not because of old age, but because he was hit by a car! this may have been the beautiful Strayhorn arrangement which sold in the millions! if you've never heard it, i'm sure it's on I-TUNES!

OLD FRIENDS, HERB AND KENNY did "Solitude"..."of memories gone by.. in my solitude.. with memories that never die...gloom everywhere..i stand there..i stare..i know that i've seen romance...send me back my LOVE!" Kenny solos as only he can...delicately, tenderly, .."NO ONE CAN FEEL SO SAD....IN MY SOLITUDE....SEND ME BACK MY LOVE, DEAR LORD ABOVE, SEND ME BACK MY LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Professor Harrison leads the orchestra on "AD LIB ON NIPPON" (1965) the closing movement of Duke's "FAR EAST SUITE"! Greenwood introduces this asian beauty with leaping penatonic intervals, throws it to bassist Ryan Mahlstedt. (DUKE LOVED JAPAN, AND JAPAN LOVED DUKE touring there regularly from 1964 on.) The penatonic theme is developed throughout this movement with glorious harmonies, and again Anna Kent is the star with a great cadenza and blowing beautifully over the ensemble at a tempo of about 180. Pianist Greenwood is showcased in the interlude which is what DUKE would have played! Mr. Greenwood does it beautifully with exquisite chords; he finishes in CECIL TAYLORISH FASHION. Ms. Kent really shines, soloing as JIMMY HAMILTON would have. Her breaks are cool! SHE'S GOT CHOPS! YOU DON'T GET THIS WAY WITHOUT PRACTICING THOUSANDS OF HOURS.

90 YEARS YOUNG GERALD WILSON who can still leap around like a teenager directed his arrangement for DUKE ELLINGTON OF "PERDIDO". WILSON who just retired from UCLA six months ago stood at SHOENBERG HALL for 20 years offering students THE HISTORY OF JAZZ MUSIC!

WILSON SAID DUKE USED HIS ARRANGEMENTS FOR MANY YEARS WITHOUT PUTTING WILSON'S NAME ON THEM, AT LEAST 15 RECORDED ARRANGEMENTS AND COMPOSITIONS ! (now if duke had put GERALD WILSON'S NAME ON THE CHARTS DUKE USED. WILSON AND NOT THE LAS VEGAS MOB WOULD BE GETTING THE ROYALTIES!)

WILSON'S arrangement of "Perdido" at a tempo of about 180 allowed for some great bebop from the saxophone, trumpet players! (i think PERDIDO was the only ELLINGTON TUNE BIRD EVER RECORDED, AND THAT WAS AT MASSEY HALL) WILSON'S ARRANGEMENT ENDS CLIMATICALLY WITH THE SAXOPHONES AND TRUMPETS SOLOING AT THE SAME TIME, YOU KNOW THIS BRINGS EVERYONE TO THEIR FEET!

DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER with all her heart sings "I Got It Bad". (and she honestly expressed that SHE HAD IT BAD COMING UP AT TIMES THROUGHOUT HER CAREER which began i believe in ILLINOIS and later moved to EUROPE for many years when we didn't hear from her, but SHE WAS HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL IN EUROPE!)

EVERYONE JAMMED ON "THINGS AIN'T WHAT THEY USED TO BE", BUT THEN WHO WANTS IT TO BE. NOT DUKE! HIS MUSIC IS FOREVER AND EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

ALL ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS ACCEPTED AT WENMEW@GMAIL.COM PHOTOS ALSO ACCEPTED AND WILL BE EDITED IN LATER!!

THANK GOD I AM ALIVE AND HAVE BEEN PRIVILEGED TO HEAR, LEARN AND PLAY ELLINGTON, STRAYHORN. WWW.MYSPACE.COM/WENMEW1 WWW.JAMWAVE.COM/WENMEW3 PHONE 310-434-9639 COME SEE AND PLAY WITH ME IN SANTA MONICA. WWW.SANTAMONICATODAY.COM

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