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Duke Ellington

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NEWS
April 29, 1999 | By Teresa Leo
What do martinis and Duke Ellington have in common? Kip Waide, 32, a bartender at The Five Spot,says, "The music, like the drinks, is in vogue again. It's in the Gap commercials, in the malls. But you can't do better than the original. " The Five Spot, a cocktail lounge and supper club in Old City, is one of three clubs I visited to gather views on Ellington, whose 100th birthday anniversary is today. The others were Ortlieb's Jazz Haus in Northern Liberties and Bob & Barbara's lounge in Center City.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 1, 1989 | By Francis Davis, Special to The Inquirer
Is it surprising that so many of this year's most outstanding jazz reissues and vault releases have been by Duke Ellington? Not given the desire of record companies for "new" CD products by recognizable names, Ellington's prolific output and the innovative profile that he maintained in the half century between his first meaningful recordings in the early 1920s and his death in 1974. What might surprise anyone who hasn't been keeping up with recent developments in jazz is that two of this year's most thought-provoking brand- new CDs also bear Ellington's name.
NEWS
February 14, 1989 | By Tom Moon, Inquirer Popular-Music Critic
"This piece is all about levity and gravity," Wynton Marsalis says to the big band in front of him. "Now, you might not know about gravity yet, or tenderness for that matter. But you've got the humor part covered. Start there. " Eighteen pairs of eyes dart around the room. They belong to a group of high school musicians from New York to Washington who have come together to play the music of Duke Ellington. No one wants to admit the tenderness shortcoming, but the mock protests and snide snaps that make up the band's banter show that Marsalis is right.
NEWS
October 10, 2011 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, morrisj@phillynews.com 215-854-5573
AS A KID growing up in Frankford, George Ballard liked to follow the American Legion parades through his neighborhood, and would march along with the drummers. Maybe it was then that George decided he wanted to pound those drums himself, because somehow he conveyed the ambition to his father, who gave him a set of drums he bought from a pawnbroker when George was only 10. That was how it started. George took drumming lessons for 75 cents a session, and by the time he was 16, was allowed to sit in on the Herb Thornton Band, which he heard playing at the Philadelphia Boys Club.
NEWS
July 18, 1993 | By Herbert Lowe, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The memory of Roscoe Gill Jr., a Philadelphia pianist, composer, arranger and teacher who collaborated with jazz great Duke Ellington, will be honored at a concert Thursday. Mr. Gill, 45, died July 10 of renal disease. Choirs and soloists who performed with Mr. Gill or sang his music will perform at the concert, said William Bloom, who met Mr. Gill when they sang in the All Philadelphia Junior High School Chorus in 1961. Bloom, associate music director for the World Peace Choir and Orchestra, based in Bucks County, is planning the concert with Sydney A. Beckett, a friend of Mr. Gill's since they were students at Temple University in 1965.
NEWS
February 14, 1992 | By Stephan Salisbury, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Albert Murray is a little slow afoot these days, hobbled by bum circulation in his right leg. But sit him down in a decent chair and lob a question, and Murray scoots and riffs, races and roams from Thomas Mann to Duke Ellington to fairy tales to Finnegans Wake and back again. No boundaries in Murray's world; nothing is off-limits to his inquiry. "What I'm concerned with," he said, "is what are the sources or the achievements of man's effort to understand his sojourn on the earth?
ENTERTAINMENT
April 27, 1987 | By JOSEPH P. BLAKE, Daily News Staff Writer
Jazz composer and musician Duke Ellington has been gone since 1974, but his music continues to thrive around the world. In honor of the Duke's birthday Wednesday (he was born in 1899), WRTI (90.1/FM) will showcase music written by Ellington and performed by him and other artists. The 24-hour salute begins at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. A MATTER OF FACT The 32nd annual edition of the Nielsen Report on Television, released last week, shows just how much the ratings folks know - or think they know - about you. According to the report: Exactly 98 percent of all the homes in the United States have at least one television set. Television use varies by season, with more people watching in the winter than in the summer.
NEWS
December 15, 2013 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Frank E. Jackson Sr., 89, a retired Philadelphia Police Department auto mechanic whose musical talents gave rise to the Frank Jackson Big Band, died Friday, Dec. 6, of cardiac arrest at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby Borough. Mr. Jackson, a longtime resident of West Philadelphia, retired after 29 years with the department in 1988. His true passion, though, was music. A gifted, self-taught performer on multiple instruments, he also composed and arranged music. After retiring, he formed a 15-piece band consisting of three trumpets, three trombones, five saxophones, a standing bass, drums, guitar and piano.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 11, 2000 | By Kevin L. Carter, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
To hear Mac Rebennack Jr. tell it, his 12-year-old granddaughter, Stephanie, was the talk of her junior high school in New Orleans last week. "Knowing [Stephanie's] big mouth, I'm sure she's told everyone about me," the grandpa said. "Always said she'd been vaccinated with a phonograph needle. " Take Your Grandparents to School Day was coming up in the Big Easy, and Rebennack, known to most of us as the pianist and growler Dr. John, planned to make it to the school and tell the group of restless preteens just who he is and what it is that he does.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 10, 1986 | By NELS NELSON, Daily News Jazz Columnist
I think the late Johnny Hodges must have lived a number of previous existences, because I cannot believe he could have learned so much about the creation of beauty within the space of a single lifetime. This errant thought occurred to me the other day as I listened to this favorite of favorites among Duke Ellington soloists massage an ineluctably gorgeous set of choruses out of his alto saxophone based upon a practically throwaway pop song of the 1930s, "All of Me," via a never-before-released (according to the album cover)
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NEWS
May 8, 2015 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
The music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn - alone or in collaboration, as they were for nearly 30 years - represents some of the most sophisticated and complex works in jazz. Together (though rarely in the same room) they penned eccentric yet commercial compositions such as "Tonk" and "Strange Feeling," in which arrangements added subtle classicism to ferociously masculine orchestration. Each had signature strengths. Ellington was capable of fascinating ethno-rhythmic interplay and romantic melodicism ("Chinoiserie," "Afrique")
NEWS
August 1, 2014 | By Zoë Miller, Inquirer Staff Writer
Alita Moses has come a long way from singing tunes from The Little Mermaid (and songs of her own invention) in the bath as a child. But she grew up with a Broadway performer for a mother and a music professor/singer for a father, so it's not surprising that Moses, 20, found her way to the spotlight. "I've honestly been surrounded by music my entire life," said Moses, a senior at the University of the Arts majoring in vocal jazz studies. In Philadelphia, Moses has performed with UArts music school director Marc Dicciani's salsa ensemble and the Z Big Band, another group affiliated with the university.
NEWS
December 15, 2013 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Frank E. Jackson Sr., 89, a retired Philadelphia Police Department auto mechanic whose musical talents gave rise to the Frank Jackson Big Band, died Friday, Dec. 6, of cardiac arrest at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby Borough. Mr. Jackson, a longtime resident of West Philadelphia, retired after 29 years with the department in 1988. His true passion, though, was music. A gifted, self-taught performer on multiple instruments, he also composed and arranged music. After retiring, he formed a 15-piece band consisting of three trumpets, three trombones, five saxophones, a standing bass, drums, guitar and piano.
NEWS
October 10, 2011 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, morrisj@phillynews.com 215-854-5573
AS A KID growing up in Frankford, George Ballard liked to follow the American Legion parades through his neighborhood, and would march along with the drummers. Maybe it was then that George decided he wanted to pound those drums himself, because somehow he conveyed the ambition to his father, who gave him a set of drums he bought from a pawnbroker when George was only 10. That was how it started. George took drumming lessons for 75 cents a session, and by the time he was 16, was allowed to sit in on the Herb Thornton Band, which he heard playing at the Philadelphia Boys Club.
NEWS
February 23, 2009 | By Gayle Ronan Sims INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Harrison Ridley Jr., 70, Philadelphia's sagacious jazz musicologist and radio host who expressed approval for a song with his on-air trademark "Yes, indeedy," died Thursday of complications of a stroke. Mr. Ridley, who was born and raised in West Philadelphia, educated and entertained jazz devotees listening to Temple University radio on Sunday nights. A proud and discriminating collector of jazz, Mr. Ridley often played songs from his personal collection of more than 8,000 recordings (most of them vinyl)
NEWS
February 21, 2008 | By Vernon Clark INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Black history rolled into South Philadelphia on 18 wheels yesterday, allowing people young and old to take a cruise through the richness of African American culture. On a tractor trailer outfitted with interactive displays, schoolchildren and adults learned about black history, played games, viewed photo exhibits and traced their ancestry online. The American Legacy magazine "Know Your History" tour parked on a lot at Broad and Fitzwater Streets for the day, and dozens climbed aboard the sparkling black trailer with expanding side panels.
NEWS
December 7, 2006 | By Gayle Ronan Sims INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Dave Black, 78, a fiery jazz drummer who toured and recorded with Duke Ellington's orchestra in the mid-1950s and whose dazzling solo on "Gonna Tan Your Hide" - written for him by composer Billy Strayhorn - is considered a classic, died of pancreatic cancer Monday at home in Alameda, Calif. Born in the K&A section of Kensington, Mr. Black started banging on toy drums sent to him by his Scottish aunt when he was 3. He also beat on pots, pans, and anything else within reach of his drumsticks.
NEWS
June 23, 2002
Longtime radio personality and jazz advocate Bob Perkins is the recipient of both this year's Mellon Jazz Community Award and the Public Service Award of Big Brothers and Big Sisters Association of Philadelphia. He is being honored during the four-day Mellon Jazz Festival that ends tonight. June is African American Music Month. Perkins, host of a popular jazz radio program on WRTI-FM (90.1), shared with The Inquirer a "jazz reminiscence" on some of the jazz artists he's highlighted over the decades.
NEWS
January 25, 2002 | By Rusty Pray INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Ricardo J. Martin, 49, of Philadelphia, a musical director, arranger and teacher who had a gift for reaching young people, died Monday of lung cancer at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Mr. Martin, who grew up in Harrisburg, was a resident of the Art Museum area of Philadelphia. In 1992, Mr. Martin founded the Rainbow Company at the Prince, the youth-performance arm of the Prince Music Theater, where he was music director. The program, which includes about 20 schools in Philadelphia and a few in South Jersey and Wilmington, teaches middle-school students how to stage one-act musicals and coaches them through the process, including writing lyrics and a story, composing, and working on sound and lighting.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 7, 2001 | By Tom Moon, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Why bother with jazz? By most contemporary measurements, the American art form once called "the devil's music" is dust-speck insignificant. It accounts for less than 3 percent of total recorded music sales. Its artists rarely rate among the top-grossing live performers. Its grip on the popular consciousness gets looser by the year - jazz artists are rarely seen on television (even if we count Diana Krall and Kenny G) and only slightly more often heard on the radio. The nation's most prominent jazz-presenting organization, Jazz at Lincoln Center, is obsessed with the dead guys and the long musty shadows of tradition, and that orientation has helped make jazz an Oldsmobile of the music world - an aging relic with pedigree, offering valuable lessons for those few youngsters willing to sit still and listen to the wise elders.
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