Friday, July 29, 2016

The "Sacred" Revisited: A Duke Ellington Memorial

Duke Ellington with Anita Moore at the Rainbow Room, 1972, © Nancy Crampton
Featured here is a great filmed concert whose origins, exact date and the name of musicians are not known to me. Surprisingly, it's not listed either on Jazz on TV filmographies or the discography of the distinguished musicians involved.

This 30-minute-long video assembles songs from Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts, performed in his memory by a superb band which is not Ellington's orchestra or what was left of it at that time. The date, I guess, must be May 1986, when issuing the first postal stamp in Ellington's honor called for ducal festivities and all-star performances of his compositions.

The place? Maybe St. Patrick's Cathedral? If you're familiar with New York City, please go to 16' 12'' for an exterior shot of a church which I assume is the location of the concert.

Also, If you happen to know any of the band members seen in the video, please leave a comment. Those who are more easily detectable are Frank Wess (as), Slide Hampton (tb), Cecil Payne (bs, playing solo on My Love), and Billy Taylor (p). It's quite a line-up!

Vocalists are Priscilla Baskerville, Ellington's brother-in-law McHenry Boatwright, and Anita Moore who was the singer with Ellington Orchestra during the last two years of Duke's life (1972-74) up until the 1980s.

From the repertoire, the songs that I knew are listed below. Two remain unidentified.

Lord's Prayer
Almighty God
My Love
Ain't Nobody Nowhere Nothin' Without God
Don't Get Down on Your Knees to Pray Until You Have Forgotten Everyone


  1. Hi, the two titles are the Lord's Prayer and the other is Heaven. No luck with other musicians I'm afraid. Thanks for posting