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Third theme Creole Rhapsody – Dixieland Crackerjacks
http://www.dixielandcrackerjacks.com
Recorded during the 2009 Poznan trad Jazz Festival. October 24. 2009
Dixieland Crackerjacks second tour to Poland.

Creole Rhapsody is Duke Ellington’s first extended composition.
This third theme is only on Ellington’s second time his orchestra recorded it, date : June 11. 1931.
The first recording, dated Januari 20. 1931, simply does not have this theme! Highly remarkable, since it is one of the most beautifull melodies Ellington ever wrote. Alas a bit neglected, one very seldom hears it played anywhere. Ellington during his lifetime recieved a lot of criticism on his longer works. In fact society was not really ready to accept a composer of a “dance or jazz” band as a serious musician. Totally forgetting that it is the composer himself who decides if one of his works is serious or more lighthearted.
Ellington stands out as one of the greatest figures in Jazz, alongside with Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker and with that he is one of the most important musicians/orchestra leaders/composers of the 20th century. It is not difficult to find arguments to single him out as the greatest American composer ever. Other interesting longer works by Ellington are : Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue, Riminishing in Tempo, Black, Brown and Beige suite.

It is interesting to observate that both Gerswin and Ellington got criticised during their time about the form they used in their longer works. The “serious” music press somehow found Ellington’s and Gershwin’s longer pieces lacking in form. Probably since they could not discover a Rondo or Sonata form in it? Even in the ’50’s/’60’s Bernstein had a bit of a contradiction in his statement that although he loved to play and listen to Rhapsody in Blue, he didn’t like the form.
Happily Rhapsody in Blue and Porgy and Bess are now accepted as succesfull MUSIC, regardless of stylistic narrowmindedness. It is my hope that one day there will be good arrangements available of the longer Ellington pieces. One barrier however is that Ellington’s music is so much harder to play.

We should not forget that Jazz, be it under the banner of Symphonic Jazz, as we have accepted Gershwin’s longer work in, or in the works Ellington produced, cannot and should not be judged by rules acceptable in European classical music. Such a thing is simply unfair. We don’t criticise Mozart for not having a swinging rhythm section, or Beethoven for not writing for saxophones. It is almost the same idea.

Creole Rhapsody is a remarkable piece of music, it was so allready in 1931 and it still is now. With this recording, only of the third theme and an improvised variation on it, we hope to attract a little more attention to one of the most haunting melodies Ellington ever wrote. It should be heard more often!

The Dixieland Crackerjacks recorded this piece in 2001 on the CD St. James in Germany.

4 gedachten over “Alto sax solo on Creole Rhapsody, comp Duke Ellington Soloist Bert Brandsma”
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