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Rutgers Hosts Ellington Conference

Those who love jazz enough to get scholarly about it should take the A train (or whatever train Amtrak is running) to Newark, N.J. on Nov. 10. Once they arrive, they can take in the Third Annual Duke Ellington Society Conference at Rutgers University’s Institute of Jazz Studies, a one-day smorgasbord of learned papers and erudite lectures addressing various aspects of Ellingtonia.

To provide food for thought, a continental breakfast and light lunch will be served; after hearing about the music, pianist Dick Katz will play the music itself. Best of all, the meals, conference and concert are all open to the general public and absolutely free of charge.

Conference director Krin Gabbard, the chair of the Department of Comparative Literature at SUNY-Stony Brook, has assembled what appears to be quite a fascinating array of scholars and topics. These include Stephanie Stein Crease, author of Gil Evans: Out of the Cool, delivering a lecture titled “Fine Lines: Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Gil Evans, and the Jazz Arranger’s Art”; Farah Jasmine Griffin, who wrote If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday will speak about “Ellington and the Female Voice”; and John Szwed, Professor of Anthropology, American Studies, Music, and African-American Studies at Yale University, elucidating the relation between “Duke and the Avant-Garde.”

For more information on the conference or the Duke Ellington Society, call (212) 330-0787.

Originally Published