Michael Kilpatrick – baritone saxophonist and orchestra leader – was one of the speakers on the second day of Ellington 2021.
He is also a recognized transcriber of Duke Ellington’s and Billy Strayhorn’s music. For this work, he has spent long periods at the Smithsonian’s Ellington Archive, Washington D.C., to go through the boxes there with musical scores by the hands of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.
In conjunction with the cancelled Ellington 2020 Conference, Michael spent another 10 days in the Ellington Archive and returned home with more than 3000 pages of scores.
Together with his partner Sibelius – the music notation software – Michael has spent the last year to making sense of what he found in the Ellington Archive and in his presentation, Michael took the audience on a terrific exploration on how to turn fragments of Duke Ellington scores into a full musical piece.
After all the presentation on the second day when everybody was relaxing, Michael provided another “goodie” to the participants in the meeting – a short extract of Nobody’s Baby Now.
Loren Schoenberg – founder of and senior scholar at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem – provided the first presentation on the third day of Ellington 2021. He is also a pillar in the international Ellington community as well as in the Benny Goodman one and is a terrific expert on big band jazz.
He had hinted to the Ellington 2021 organizers that he might talk about something different than in the program but when he announced that he was going to talk about the Barney Bigard small group recordings in the 1940’s, everybody was happy. They realized that they were in for an interesting talk. And that was what Loren delivered!
For those interested in other presentations by Loren, the YouTube channel of The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is highly recommended as is his lectures at Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Swing University.
Laurent Mignard ended the third day with a sparkling multimedia presentation of his Duke Orchestra. He founded it in 2003 to bring Duke Ellington’s music to old and new audiences and he has done this in a succesful way.
Mignard’s formula for achieving this has been to bring together an extraordinary good orchestra with talented soloists of different generations, use his skill as arranger and transcriber to provide the orchestra with a solid modern Ellington repertoire and frame Ellington’s music in almost theatrical projects.
The presentation was very much about those projects and the Ellington 2021 audience could enjoy video clips from them, including one from a recording session for the upcoming Duke’s Ladies CD album.
Learn more about Laurent Mignard and Duke Orchestra at https://www.laurent-mignard.com/duke-orchestra/ and about himself at https://www.laurent-mignard.com/en/laurent-mignard-biography/.
Marilyn Lester ended the second day of Ellington 2021 with a presentation on Ellington and The Great American Songbook.
It is a topic she knows very well thanks to her background as a critic/reviewer and writer on jazz, cabaret, popular music and theater and she demonstrated this very well in her detailed and thoughtful presentation.
Her broad knowledge has made her an associate editor of the American Popular Song Society newsletter in additon to being the editor of the Duke Ellington Society of New York newsletter.
As a person full of energy and ideas, she is currently also working on several theater projects and two films in development.
In addition, Marilyn is an active member of the international Ellington community and helped to prepare Ellington 2021 as member of the Advisory Program Group.
Ken Steiner has contributed to many Ellington Conferences – Stockholm, London, Amsterdam, Portland, New York, and was scheduled for a presentation at last year’s conference in DC.
This time, his task was to present the Never-Issued Rarities, which Steven Lasker had generously made available for Ellington 2021. Ken handled the job in an elegant and humorous way.
The presentation triggered many comments in the chat room including many thanks to Steven Lasker for letting the Ellington 2021 participants listen to the seven rarities . The comments can be read here.
Ken first fell under the spell of Duke Ellington’s music when he heard Duke in concert at Georgetown University on February 10, 1974. He’s been researching Ellington ever since.