Duke Ellington was one of the most influential jazz musicians, because of his compositions, the way he led big bands, and his solo play. He created countless compositions, but for the album Rediscovered Ellington, nine forgotten works were arranged and recorded with the WDR Big Band. On 16 December, you can hear seven of these works live. The CvA Concert Big Band, a 17-piece band assembled a few times a year for the occasion, will perform Richard DeRosa's vibrant arrangements for the first time, with musical guest Dick Oatts.
The music on the album Rediscovered Ellington originates from the personal archives of Ellington's family. Some of those gems were brought back to life by Richard DeRosa. DeRosa, who works at the University of North Texas and was the conductor of the WRD Big Band on several occasions, provided the arrangements of this music for the aforementioned Big Band. 'You really don't need to be an expert to enjoy these arrangements,' reviews from leading jazz journals read, 'While for connoisseurs, it's a glimpse into previously unknown recordings in Ellington's well-known style.'
Stars of the evening include the members of the CvA Concert Big band, who are led by Johan Plomp and accompanied by soloist Dick Oatts. This selection band, with individually strong musicians comes together only a few times a year to play a show. What's so great about the concert band? Anna-Maria, Senior producer of the jazz department, explains: 'These individually tremendous musicians form a wonderful sound together. The band is big, there are many and different instruments participating, which gives a broad colour palette. It has a very different energy and goes like a train. And as much power as it can have, the sound can be equally small and intimate.'
In addition, the presence of leading saxophonist, Dick Oatts, is also an important factor in the concert. Colleague Jasper Blom, coordinator of the CvA Sax Department, praises Dick as a musician and educator: 'he brings a profound melody, while also being a tremendously good all-rounder, but what really makes him unique is that, as a teacher, he has both "feet in the mud". He enjoys joining in on a student jam session on Monday nights, as much as he likes playing a Big Band session.'
This evening is a must to attend, and if you are not yet convinced, be sure to come see for yourself on Friday night. More information about the event can be found here.