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Nu Civilisation Orchestra presents Duke Ellington’s New Orleans Suite

EFG London Jazz Festival 2024

Sun 24 Nov
Jazz

Nu Civilisation Orchestra presents Duke Ellington’s New Orleans Suite

EFG London Jazz Festival 2024

Tomorrow’s Warriors presents Nu Civilisation Orchestra led by Peter Edwards for this special EFG London Jazz Festival performance of Duke Ellington’s New Orleans Suite.


Intensely evocative, New Orlean’s Suite is not just Ellington’s love letter to the city that is regarded as the cradle of jazz, but also an homage to the great musicians that shaped the Crescent City sound and who would go on to have such a huge influence across America and beyond.

These compositions retain the trademark Ellington swing, but he’s added something more. There’s a swagger and grit to the opening track, Blues for New Orleans, with its swirling electric organ riffs and rolls that anchor you in Tremé from the get-go. Equally evocative is the high-energy street parade of Second Line, conjuring images of crowds partying down Beale Street amidst a sea of spinning umbrellas.

But Ellington goes beyond just celebrating the city. He also honours some of the great New Orleans musicians, many of whom were his contemporaries, with a series of portraits for Sidney Bechet (who Ellington recalled hearing in 1921, ‘the greatest thing I ever heard in my life. It knocked me out.’), Louis Armstrong, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson and bassist Wellman Braud.

‘Ellington is a unique composer and bandleader. It’s not just the quality of his arrangements, he brings a humanity to his writing that is unlike anyone else. With New Orleans Suite, he is celebrating a city and its great musicians, but there is an added poignancy. At the time of the recording Bechet and Braud were both already dead, and Armstrong and Jackson would pass away within the next two years. Six decades into his own career, Ellington must have been acutely aware that this was the end of a chapter in jazz history, a changing era. You can feel that in the compositions, but he is embracing that change in true Crescent City style, celebrating life and banging the drum for its blessings. Ellington’s music stands alone. It’s tempting to say that there’s Ellington and then the rest is a bag of noise!’
Dr Gary Crosby OBE, Artistic Director, Nu Civilisation Orchestra

Nu Civilisation Orchestra

Founded in 2008 by Artistic Director, Gary Crosby OBE and led by musical director, Peter Edwards, Nu Civilisation Orchestra is earning a reputation as a shapeshifting, cutting edge ensemble. Refusing to be bound by genre or scale, it metamorphoses into a new format as each new project is unveiled.

NCO has toured and performed extensively across the UK and recent highlights include a BBC Proms debut in 2019, and a national tour in 2021 for a perfectly timed creative exploration and celebration of Marvin Gaye’s seminal masterpiece, What’s Going On, five decades after its release.

In 2022 the Orchestra performed Ellington’s Queen’s Suite as part of the Southbank centre’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations before embarking on a 6-date tour, featuring ESKA on vocals, performing Joni Mitchell’s Hejira and Mingus albums, receiving amazing responses from audiences and reviewers alike.

2023 saw NCO perform the 50-year anniversary concert of Bowie’s Aladdin Sane at the Royal Festival Hall before returning to the same venue to present Stan Getz’s Focus with Nubya Garcia. The year ended with a ground-breaking collaboration with dance company Clod Ensemble performing Charles Mingus’ Black Saint and the Sinner Lady across two nights of the EFG London Jazz Festival.

Nu Civilisation Orchestra, telling stories that impact our times through the lens of music.

Date:Sun 24 Nov
Start time:6pm (Doors: 5.30pm)
Venue:Hall One
Price:£15.00-£45.00
+ 10% booking fee.

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