GOOD MORNING P.O.U.!
As you enjoy your Sunday breakfast/brunch, check out the sounds of Duke Ellington…
Black, Brown and Beige is a jazz symphony written by Duke Ellington for his first concert at Carnegie Hall, on January 23, 1943. Ellington introduced it at Carnegie Hall as “a tone parallel to the history of the Negro in America.” It was Ellington’s longest and most ambitious composition.
Known by Ellington as “B, B, & B” according to Irving Townsend in his 1958 liner notes to a recording of a later version of the suite (Black, Brown and Beige, Columbia records). It received a preview performance at Rye High School in Westchester County, New York, on January 22, 1943, its premiere at Carnegie Hall the following night, and a subsequent performance at Boston’s Symphony Hall on January 28. These are the only known performances of the complete work.
After these performances, Ellington only performed pieces of it. At the December 11, 1943 Carnegie Hall concert, he said, “We thought we wouldn’t play it (Black, Brown and Beige) in its entirety tonight because it represents an awfully long and important story and that I don’t think too many people are familiar with the story. This is the one we dedicate to the 700 Negroes who came from Haiti to save Savannah during the Revolutionary War.” The band then played West Indian Influence, the section to which Ellington referred. After that they play Lighter Attitude which is a reworking of Emancipation Celebration.
There are many recordings of the Ellington Orchestra playing selections from Black, Brown and Beige. One of the themes of “Beige”, Sugar Hill Penthouse was recorded in the abridged 78 rpm record album of the piece. Several selections appear in the series of broadcasts they made for the Treasury Department in 1945 and 1946.
In the 1960s, Come Sunday and The Blues were part of Ellington’s 1963 show, My People. This celebrated the 100th anniversary of The Emancipation Proclamation. Come Sunday and Light were part of A Concert of Sacred Music. Black was performed at the White House on June 14, 1965.
Musical Form and Characteristics
“Black,” the first movement, is divided into three parts, the Work Song, the spiritual Come Sunday , and Light. “Brown” has three parts, West Indian Dance or Influence; Emancipation Celebration, and The Blues. “Beige” depicts “the Afro-American of the 1920’s, 30’s and World War II,” wrote Leonard Feather in the liner notes of the 1977 release of the original 1943 performance.
*Information Courtesy of Wikipedia*
Black Brown And Beige Part I
Black Brown And Beige Part II