Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra

Sacred Music of Duke Ellington

Origin 82456

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(The SRJO) plays everything with conspicuous passion and commitment. Repertory orchestras may not be everyone's cup of tea, but there's a lot to be said for the SRJO's warmth and proficiency.
All About Jazz

"Every man prays in his own language, and there is no language that God does not understand." So Duke Ellington said, and the thought captures the spirit of the three Sacred Music Concerts that he premiered in 1965, 1968, and 1973, and that were the culmination of the last, liturgical phase of his life's work. The tradition of performing the Sacred Music of Duke Ellington in Seattle began in the winter of 1989. In a sense, the SRJO began with that first Concert. Many SRJO founding members, including Michael Brockman and Clarence Acox, but also Don Lanphere, Floyd Standifer, Bill Ramsay, Marc Seales and others were integral to the first few years of the concert's presentation, and were drawn together because of the concert. In the ensuing years, the band won multiple awards for its concerts, it's first recording - SRJO Live, and in 2005 was named Best Northwest Acoustic Jazz Ensemble at the annual Earshot awards in Seattle.


Track Listing:

DISC ONE

1. In the Beginning God 12:40
2. Tell Me It's the Truth 7:11
3. Come Sunday (instrumental version) 5:28
4. It's Freedom (The Freedom Suite) 12:54
5. T.G.T.T. (or "Too Good to Title") 2:35
6. Don't Get Down on Your Knees to Pray
(Until You Have Forgiven Everyone) 6:10

DISC TWO

7. Ninety-Nine Percent 4:46
8. The Lord's Prayer (a cappella version) 2:30
9. Heaven 5:46
10. The Lord's Prayer (gospel version) 2:47
11. Reflections in D 6:43
12. David Danced Before the Lord with All His Might 5:25
13. Come Sunday (vocal solo version) 4:58
14. Praise God and Dance 12:05

Performers:

Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra:

Michael Brockman - conductor, alto & soprano sax
Mark Taylor - alto sax
Dan Wickham - clarinet, alto sax
Hadley Caliman - tenor sax
Travis Ranney - tenor sax
Don Lanphere - tenor sax (track 13)
Dan Greenblatt - tenor sax (track 13)
Bill Ramsay - baritone sax


Bill Anthony - lead
Scott Brown
Dan Marcus
Gary Shutes - (track 3)
David Bentley - bass trombone


Dennis Haldane - lead
Jay Thomas
Brad Smith
Thomas Marriott
Ed Lee - (track 3)
Floyd Standifer - (track 13)
Vern Sielert - (track 3)


Clarence Acox - drums
Larry Fuller - piano
Phil Sparks - bass
Marc Seales - piano (track 13)

VOCAL SOLOISTS
Dee Daniels
Nichol Eskridge
James Caddell

TAP-DANCER
Tim Hickey

CHOIR
Oregon Repertory Singers
Gil Seeley - conductor

Production Info:

Recorded live in concert at:
University Christian Church, Seattle, WA, on December 20, 2003 (1,2,6,12),
December 18, 2004 (4,7,9,10,11,14), and December 22, 2001 (13);
First United Methodist Church, Portland, OR, October 4, 2003 (8);
Kirkland Performance Center, Kirkland, WA, November 6, 2005 (3 & 5); track 5
was recorded following the concert

Produced by MICHAEL BROCKMAN and CLARENCE ACOX with EARSHOT JAZZ
Recording Engineer (all except track 8): JIM WILKE, Hatchcover Productions
House Sound and Recording Assistant (all except track 8): DAN MORTENSEN
Recording Engineer (track 8): AMER ISSE
Mastering Engineer: STEVE SHERRARD, MusicTech/DBAR Productions
Piano: Bl¸thner (Leipzig) 9-foot grand (except track 3)
Cover photograph: SANJAY BEERY
Live band photography: BRUCE C. MOORE
Other photography: STEVE ROBINSON, JIM WILKE
Cover design & layout: JOHN BISHOP


Reviews of Sacred Music of Duke Ellington

All About Jazz (Jack Bowers)
The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra pours its heart and soul into these recent concert performances of Duke Ellington's sacred music, premiered by the Ellington orchestra in 1965, ë68 and ë73. It's a natural fit, as the SRJO was "born" in 1989 with a presentation of Ellington's sacred music as an ecumenical winter solstice event. Some members of t ...

All Music Guide (Adam Greenburg)
If a repertory orchestra is going to do something, it might as well go big. Here, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, in combination with the Oregon Repertory Singers and a handful of guests, take on music from Duke Ellington's three Sacred Music concerts. The performances are flawless, running the range from gospel to jazz to something mighty cl ...

Audiophile Audition (Jeff Krow)
Freedom, justice and prayer's power are Ellington's themes in his sacred music ****1/2 You do not need nationally-renowned jazz orchestras to make brilliant recordings. Most every major city in the U.S. has national- level jazz musicians. Many of them choose to teach and lead high school and college level jazz bands. They can then play gigs o ...

Jazz Times 2006 (Andrew Lindemann Malone)
Before this review delves into the overarching aesthetic issues which we critics so like to concern ourselves, I should note that the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra's two-CD compilation of pieces from Duke Ellington's three Sacred Concerts provides solid performances of mostly remarkable music. The Oregon Repertory Singers sound especially good ...

Ellingtonia (Reuben Jackson)
Like another internationally celebrated Washingtonian, vocalist Marvin Gaye, Duke Ellington's overt declarations of faith were composed, recorded and performed toward the end of his career. By 1965, when Ellington's First Sacred Concert was performed, his always stunning gift for crafting a sensual and evocative orchestral palette had grown even mo ...

Jazz Radio 247 (Evan Dobbins)
In the jazz world, recreating much of Ellington's repertoire can be a touchy subject. Some feel that what Ellington's bands created is so unique, that to revisit it would be akin to repainting the Sistine ChapelÖthat some things are meant to stand alone, admired but untouched. When it comes to attempting to simply imitate these works, I would have ...

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