Moods, Modes, Distant Lands and Sacred Songs
Duke Ellington was one of America’s greatest and most prolific composers. Although his work is often labeled as jazz, he did not use the term. His more than one thousand compositions ran the gamut, and he described his work as beyond category. They reflect musical elements of swing, the blues, southern folk traditions, African American spirituals, the Near East, Europe, and Latin America, among others. We will look at examples of some of these works and learn to play them focusing on melodic structure, chord voicing, and harmonic progression. Our play list will include: tunes of mood and reflection such as “In a Sentimental Mood”, “Mood Indigo”, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”, and “I let a Song Go Out of My Heart”; tunes reflecting distant lands like “African Flower”, swing tunes like “Satin Doll”, “In a Mellow Tone”, and “C Jam Blues”, tunes with a Latin feel like “Caravan”, and sacred or gospel tunes like “Come Sunday”.