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Music is one great way to entertain and bring people together. In many instances, we are drawn to the sound of music not because of the message we receive but due to nature of how the independent elements of music are woven together in unison to create sweet and relaxing melodies. This paper aims to analyze in detail Duke Ellington's orchestra The Great Paris Concert held in 1963, Paris. What is more interesting, all the Duke Ellington's fellow band members were present including the highly talented Cat Anderson- the trumpet player, Milt Grayson- the vocalist, and the multi-talented Jimmy Hamilton and Russel who both play the clarinet and saxophones. Watching the concert on YouTube provide me with the missed opportunity back before I was born, however, seeing my favourite jazz star on television was a thrilling and humbling experience. I love jazz music since I was young because I would listen as my parents sang along to favourite Duke Ellington's tunes.
Besides, the most notable and my greatest favourite of Ellington's piece, Tone Parallel to Harlem also in many instances referred as Harlem Suite was performed. Arturo Toscanini who worked for NBC's Symphony Orchestra, New York commissioned the song back in 1950. During that period, Duke Ellington was fast gaining recognition as an established composer. Even though the piece is recorded in various forms, in this particular concert Ellington decided to do the composition in jazz, in which he is accomplished performer. In my view, I think Harlem Suite is the best musical composition ever composed and performed by Ellington. Among the striking aspect of the music piece where the incorporation of a variety of harmonic changes, tonal color, and time changes. It is utterly unbelievable how Ellington can scout for and organize a group of fifteen artists to perform in such great unison. Though, such great coordination might seem impossible to many people, but not to the most celebrated jazz artist of the twentieth century. The song employs varying degrees of texture, tempo, and dynamism. For instance, as the performance of the piece begins, the composition is somewhat thin- comprising few layers of sound-then gradually thickens as the song progresses. Moreover, at varying intervals, various sound systems would pose for a while perhaps to create suspense and get the audience more involved. Also, Harlem Suite was performed with slow tempo with the softness of melodic sounds.
Fellow band members worked in unison to flawlessly perform Harlem Suite. The pianists and trumpet player for instance posed on several occasions to varying the texture and dynamism of the performance. The coordination displayed by instrumentalists in tremendous ways communicated the intended message of Harlem Suite. I very much enjoyed the whole production, however, the beginning part of the piece interested me most. The reason is that it welcomes and introduces one to the symphony that characterizes Ellington's work. As I listened to the beginning section of the performance, I found myself glued and unable to concentrate on any other thing. The gradual increment of musical instruments and periodic variation in speed creates an atmosphere of suspense living one unable to guess what comes next. To summarize, watching Duke Ellington's orchestra The Great Paris Concert was a thrilling and interactive experience; I almost felt like I was in a live performance. As a consequence, I would not hesitate to watch it over and over or recommend it to a friend.
Mahar, Bob. "Johnny Hodges- Duke Ellington- The Great Paris Concert." YouTube, 24 Feb. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=IA46Q2qNKJ4 . Accessed 3 June 2018.
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