Monday, October 7, 2013

Duke in Dhaka

courtesy of DHAKA TRIBUNE

It has been an auspicious 50th anniversary of the 1963 for Ellington lovers in the Middle East and South Asia. In a series of local and international tributes to the roaring tour of Ellington and the Orchestra, sponsored by the US State Department, this is the latest addition which appeared on Dhaka Tribune, Sunday, October 6, 2013:

"Monday evening, October 28, 1963. Hundreds take their seats at the Race Course in Dhaka, excitement buzzing through the crowd.
On the stage stands an upright bass and a drum set, along with a piano brought over from the Goethe Institute. There is a slight dampness in the air, and a piano tuner has been asked to stand by. After an introduction, more than a dozen musicians from the U.S., mostly black men, take to the stage. The horn section brings along their well-loved trumpets, saxophones, and trombones. The silence of the night is broken by the melody of Billy Strayhorn’s composition, “Take the A Train,” familiar to some because it is the theme of the Voice of America’s Jazz Hour. It will be followed by other tunes like the wistful “Mood Indigo” and the swinging “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be.” For an hour and a half, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, with some of the world’s finest jazz musicians – including Paul Gonsalves and Sam Woodyard – will make the Dhaka air reverberate with the soulful and sizzling sounds of jazz."

The piece continues to give an anecdotal, as well as sociopolitical picture of Duke in Dhaka. The writer of the article is Mahmud Rahman whose knowledge of the Dhaka concert has benefited this blog on the post I did earlier this year. Mahmud is also the author of Killing the Water (Penguin India) and Black Ice (Harper Collins India).

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