program notes by composition > C > Classic Duke

Classic Duke

arr. by Luther Henderson/Paul Murtha

Classic Duke This is an adaptation for concert band of three classic Duke Ellington compositions: "Cotton Tail", "Sophisticated Lady", and "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)." It was originally scored by Luther Henderson for full orchestra and brass quintet and was adapted for band by Paul Murtha.

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Duke Ellington (1899-1974) was a bandleader, pianist and composer. He became one of the most influential figures in jazz. although he preferred to call his music "American Music". Raised by musical parents, he won a scholarship to study art after graduating from high school in Washington, D.C., but he decided instead to play piano in the ice cream parlor where he worked. By the time he was nineteen he had organized a small jazz band and was playing for dances. In 1927 he started a five-year engagement with a twelve-piece band at the Cotton Club in New York and the world of jazz was never quite the same. In spite of many worldwide honors and degrees including a special award citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board, Ellington remained a modest man, a tireless composer and performer, until his death in 1974.

Luther Henderson (1919-2003) was an arranger, composer, orchestrator, and pianist. A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, Henderson was staff orchestrator for the U. S. Navy School of Music, Washington, D.C. He orchestrated more than 50 Broadway musicals, over 100 songs for The Canadian Brass, and served as orchestrator for Ellington's orchestral works.

Last updated on April 3, 2012 by Palatine Concert Band