A joyful celebration of the music of the jazz legend Duke Ellington and his long-time collaborator Billy Strayhorn. The band features internationally recognised vocal star Cleveland Watkiss, whose credits include, Stevie Wonder, The Who and many more, as well as MOBO nominee David Lyttle and Steinway artist, Robert Mitchell.
Tom Harrison has hand-picked an all-star cast of British jazz musicians to interpret these compositions, each of whom brings a unique voice to the musical palette. Together the group create stunning interpretations of both popular and lesser-known masterpieces, including Solitude, The Intimacy of The Blues and Take the ‘A’ Train.
Reimagining the work of a master is a daunting task for any artist, but Harrison has embraced this challenge head on, allowing the personalities of the musicians in his band to come to the fore; “Like all jazz musicians I grew up listening to Ellington. In preparing for this project, I spent a long time studying as much of his music as possible. It’s very intimidating to try to develop music that already has such a strong history and identity. I haven’t tried to reinvent the music, I’m trying to capture the feeling behind Duke’s songs, what they’re about, what they mean to me, and build a performance on that.”
The multi-award-winning vocalist Cleveland Watkiss is no stranger to the music of Ellington either, having performed it with a huge range of artists and ensembles across his career; “Duke Ellington is the daddy of our music. I’ve performed his work many times, but in this setting I can explore his music with a freedom I’ve never had before. When the music starts, anything can happen!” Cleveland Watkiss.
The result of this on-stage spontaneity, is a live album that remains faithful to the roots of Ellington’s music, but strives to challenge and develop the master’s work in an eccentric style all its own.
Cleveland Watkiss vocals; Robert Mitchell: piano; Tom Harrison: sax; Conor Chaplin: bass; David Lyttle: drums.
Doors 7.30pm. £18/16 (NUS £5). Booking fee applies.Buy Tickets