The Laurent Mignard Duke Orchestra is one of the few orchestras in the world entirely devoted to the music of Ellington. It was founded in 2003 by the trumpeter/composer Laurent Mignard who is the leader and conductor of the orchestra.
He is also the one who ensures that it plays a wide Ellington repertoire from the well-known standards to the larger works and suites including pieces that have never or rarely performed. Contrary to many Elllington-performing orchestras, the Duke Orchestra have a strong focus on the later repertoire of Ellington (including the standards of the 1940s).
Mignard says that he is inspired not only by Ellington but also the likes of Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and Henri Dutilleux. But when one listens to the band, it has also a kind of Basie feeling in its punchy way of playing.
Below are some examples of the band.
First two examples of the band’s way of playing Ellington standards.
Then two examples from Ellington suites – Far Eastern Suite (Blue Bird of Delhi) and Goutelas Suite (Gogo). Gogo has the same theme as Amour, Amour in the Togo Brava Suite but it was left unfinished. Laurent Mignard has made the effort to finish the job so we can hear it in a full version.
The last example is excerpts from the Scared Concert which the Laurent Mignard Duke Orchestra performed in the Madelaine church in Paris in 2014 and the year thereafter on a national tour.
So far Laurent Mignard has recorded four CDs/DVDs with the Duke Orchestra and four with his Pocket Quartet (with a non-Ellington repertoire). They can be bought from the Laurent Mignard website http://laurent-mignard.com/index.php?id=12
Visitors to Paris in late November for Christmas shopping and other things should not miss the next concert of the Duke Orchestra, which takes place on November 29, 2016 at Le Prisme in the east of Paris. The Laurent Mignard website give all the details about the concert and future ones.