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The Royal Ellington Concert
The Royal Ellington Concert
Actor: Bob Wilber
Director: Duke Ellington
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2004     1hr 2min

After meeting Queen Elizabeth at a private audience in London in 1957, Duke Ellington, one of Jazz's most prolific composers, was inspired to write The Queen's Suite. It was later recorded, but this was no ordinary recordi...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Bob Wilber
Director: Duke Ellington
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Ellington, Duke, Jazz, Musicals & Performing Arts
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 10/26/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 2min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Duke's music well presented by Bob Wilber's big band
Gary Coffrin | San Jose, California, USA | 01/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Released in 2004 but recorded in 1989, the DVD "The Royal Ellington Concert" is filled with classic American jazz well performed by a big band headed by Bob Wilber. Does the 16-piece group assembled for this live concert have the excitement of Duke's bands at their best? Well, no, there is no going back. But, the group deserves a medal for bringing "The Queen's Suite" and earlier Ellington tunes to life. (The suite was never released during Duke's lifetime, but was issued by Pablo in 1976.) There is no Cat Anderson or Harry Carney in this band, but I am amazed that there was ample budget to have these guys play together enough to sound as strong and as swinging as they do.

Several charts bring back the feel of Duke's early band with Bubber Miley and Tricky Sam Nanton. Hearing Black and Tan Fantasy played with a banjo in the rhythm section adds a welcome period feel. The charts for Stompy Jones, The Mooch, and Mood Indigo have the feel of Ellington's earliest arrangements from the late 1920's or early 1930's and involve extensive use of mutes. Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue has a surprising energy. Vocalist Adelaide Hall makes a brief appearance. (This undeservedly forgotten singer was on Ellington's original 1927 hit recording of "Creole Love Call.")

Bob Wilber has been performing pre-bop classic jazz with dedication and skill for decades. Born in 1928, Wilber plays soprano, clarinet and alto saxophone (with a tone somewhat similar to Johnny Hodges' beautiful sound). Wilbur of late has found the energy (and the funding) to pursue large projects requiring big bands and probably plenty of rehearsal time. His two CDs with Fletcher Henderson's unrecorded arrangements for Benny Goodman have drawn rave reviews.

You will enjoy this DVD if you appreciate Duke Ellington or classic jazz in general. The live concert format adds energy to the proceedings. This DVD is perhaps not quite essential to a jazz library, but is still excellent indeed."
Duke Ellington Tribute
Henry Cooper | Atlanta, GA | 11/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Whoa!! I don't know what else to say! This is the greats I've seen on BET on Jazz paying tribute to the late legendary pianist Duke Ellington. Highly recommended!"