Friday, August 20, 2021

Duke Ellington in Isfahan

A shot from Duke Ellington in Isfahan

Duke Ellington in Isfahan is a short film that the author of this blog (Ehsan Khoshbakht) made in 2018 and slightly reworked in 2021 for festival release. Featuring jazz historian and musician Alyn Shipton, it's an archive-based documentary.

This short documentary by the Iranian filmmaker, writer and archivist Ehsan Khoshbakht tells the story of Duke Ellington's concert tour of the Middle East in 1963 and the development of one of the most beautiful jazz standards.  

The legendary composer and bandleader was seen as the ideal cultural ambassador for the United States at the height of the Cold War, when President Eisenhower's desired perception of the US as a moral force for good in the world was being undermined by an awareness of its treatment of African-Americans. 

Arriving in Iran with his band, Ellington was inspired by the historical city of Isfahan and especially its architectural riches. It would give its name to one of the pianist's most enduring compositions, and the tour as a whole helped to shape a Grammy Award-winning album, Far East Suite, which showed how much Ellington had absorbed from the sounds of his travels. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Chick Corea Quartet plays That Old Feeling

Chick Corea. Photo source.

RIP Armando Anthony "Chick" Corea (1941-2021)

The July 1992 German tour of Chick Corea and Friends was the concert series of which I've already posted one here. This video, also from the Stuttgart concert, features Bob Berg on tenor saxophone, Eddie Gomez on bass and Steve Gadd on drums, going through That (same) Old Feeling:

Chick Corea and Friends in Stuttgart, 1992

RIP Armando Anthony "Chick" Corea (1941-2021)

July 1992. Chick Corea plays a series of concerts in Germany with his quartet featuring Bob Berg (tenor saxophone), Eddie Gomez (bass), and Steve Gadd (drums). The video I'd draw your attention to is from the Stuttgart stop of the tour. The band plays Waltz for Dave, written for Dave Brubeck, first recorded for the 1978 LP, Friends, with a band whose line-up was almost identical to this touring band in Germany (all except tenor player who, in the original record, was Joe Farrell).

More than a week after this performance, there's another TV footage of the song circulating online, this from Philharmonie Am Gasteig, Munich, which you can view here. 🔺