The Duke Ellington Orchestra – Take The Holiday Train
Duke Ellington was the most important composer in the history of jazz as well as being a bandleader who held his large group together continuously for almost 50 years.
The two aspects of his career were related; Ellington used his band as a musical laboratory for his new compositions and shaped his writing specifically to showcase the talents of his band members, many of whom remained with him for long periods.
Often collaborating with others, Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions; his extensive body of work is the largest recorded personal jazz legacy, with many of his works having become standards. Following an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, in July 1956, Ellington and his orchestra enjoyed a major career revival and embarked on world tours.
Due to his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and thanks to his eloquence and charisma, Ellington is generally considered to have elevated the perception of jazz to an art form on a par with other more traditional musical genres. His reputation continued to rise after he died, and he was awarded a special posthumous Pulitzer Prize for music in 1999.
Listen to nine holiday favourites as interpreted by the Jazz legend Duke Ellington and his orchestra.
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
Jingle Bells/Silver Bells Medley
The Christmas Song
Auld Lang Syne