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In our series “Duke Lives On”, we present today the Harmony in Harlem band. It is a British orchestra with DESUK member and arranger Michael Kilpatrick as its musical director. It is based in South Cambridgeshire and was formed in 2006.
It calls itself a rehearsal band, i.e. the band members meet regularly to rehearse and to expand its repertoire of Ellington music. The orchestra tours frequently to play concerts and dances.
Kilpatrick has provided the band with an authentic repertoire, which evokes the Cotton Club days of Duke Ellington and his orchestra.
He has done this by drawing on his research at The Smithsonian in Washington D.C. transcribing the works of Ellington and Billy Strayhorn as accurately and faithfully as possible from the records and scores held there in the Duke Ellington Archive.
The aim of this work is also to “encourage orchestras to bring to performance many of Ellington underrated masterpieces”. A catalogue of Kilpatrick’s Ellington transcriptions can be found at http://www.ellington-music.co.uk/index.php?page=catalogue
One of his recent transcription is Such Sweet Thunder, which the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland used for its performance in early August 2016 in the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms.