Bristol sings to Duke with 180 voices

The 40th anniversary of the last of Ellington's Sacred Concerts is to be marked by a performance featuring 180 singers at the inaugural Bristol jazz festival in March

On 2 March 2013 Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival will pay tribute to some of Duke Ellington's lesser-known work: his series of Sacred Concerts, the last of which received its debut in London in 1973.

Written between 1965 and 1973 and performed across the USA and at Coventry Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, the Sacred Concerts were scored for Ellington's jazz orchestra and choir. As well as the music, Ellington wrote the words, which were drawn from a variety of biblical texts. He regarded the pieces as his most significant musical statement, saying they were "the most important thing I have ever done".

To mark the 1973 performance, David Ogden will conduct a collection of local choirs, including the City of Bristol Choir, in a selection of pieces from the sacred series at Bristol's Colston Hall on 2 March. The concert will also include singer Yolanda Quartey and tap dancer Junior Laniyan. 

The concert is part of what is perhaps the most stylistically diverse jazz festival in the UK this spring. Bristol's packed jazz festival line-up also includes John Scofield, Ginger Baker, Arturo Sandoval, Chris Barber, Clare Teal, Pee Wee Ellis and Lillian Boutté.

To book tickets to see Bristol's tribute to Duke's Sacred Concerts, visit or call Colston Hall box office on 01179 223686.

Sally Evans-Darby

Your Comments:

Posted by Andy Williamson, 23 January 2013, 22:28 (1 of 2)

The band on the day will be the Big Buzzard Big Band, featuring some of the UK's finest musicians, including Zoe Rahman on piano and Jonny Bruce on trumpet. The band performed the Sacred Concert in Exeter in December 2012; here's 'The Shepherd', featuring Zoe and Jonny.
Posted by Mark Gilbert, Editor, 24 January 2013, 13:34 (2 of 2)

Andy, thanks for the extra detail - we knew the name of the band, but not personnel.
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