A Tribute to Duke Ellington

Waverley Homestead, 24 June 2012

 

Pianist Chris Martin with bass player Lyndon Grey and drummer Yuri Markov presented an astonishing, exhilarating concert of Duke Ellington music on a cool winter Sunday afternoon at Waverley Homestead. We had a good crowd, pretty much a full house.

In addition to being a virtuoso pianist Chris, whom we first encountered as accompanist for Sidonie Henbest, provided fascinating facts about the music to be played, in an informal and most engaging manner. He first explained that the music to be played was from the Duke's small group music repertoire, as opposed to the Big Band oeuvre.

They kicked off with "Cottontail" and "C Jam Blues" then with Yuri leaving the stage, Chris and Lyndon gave a quartet of duets that the Duke once played with Jimmy Glanton on bass. These pieces were "Body and Soul", Pitter Patter Panther", "Sophisticated Lady" and "Mr. J. B. Blues".

Yuri returned and they played "Piano Reflections", "Kind of Dukish" and "Montevideo".

Then from the 1962 album "Money Jungle", during the making of which there was much friction between the bass player Charlie Mingus  and the drummer, came "African Flower", "Money Jungle" and a sentimental favourite, "Caravan".

The crowd loved it.

After interval the group played "Things Ain't What They Used To Be", and "Prelude To A Kiss".

Chris then explained that they would do their own arrangements of music from an album that the Duke made in 1962 with the famous trumpeter John Coltrane - "Take the Coal Train" and "In A Sentimental Mood".

Next came some pieces from a 1957 album, released thirty years later on CD, titled "Piano in the Foreground" - "I Can't Get Started" and "Canon for Improvisation Number 1".

The recital finished with two soft solo piano pieces, this being an excellent way to wind down.

All in all, with Nancy and friends providing cheese platters and Sam behind the bar it was a memorable afternoon.

Peter and Peter happy to take your money.

Chris, Lyndon, Yuri

Getting into the swing

Some of the audience

Chris and Lyndon playing duets

Carolyn had a ball

Yuri

Lyndon got some amazing high notes from the bass