Happiness as Anarchy #338: Duke Ellington

Ellington seems an appropriate subject for a post on the eve of International Jazz Day. Such Sweet Thunder is a 12-part suite written in 1957 as a tribute to Shakespeare. Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn (composer/ arranger) wrote the music in three weeks, each piece inspired by a character or idea from Shakespeare’s works. I have listened to this album so many times in the last two decades and it still amazes me – it’s complex, beautiful, tragic, full of love and hate, darkness and light, with humour and sadness. The arrangements are exquisitely crafted and the band is impossibly tight. If I could only listen to one album for the rest of my life, this is the one I would choose.

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