Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington's Such Sweet Thunder (1957) was inspired by and dedicated to the Stratford, Ontario Shakespeare Festival. This suite of musical portraits of Shakespearean characters ranks among his finest work. 

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra and the Seattle Shakespeare Company teamed up in February to present the first known performance of Ellington's music combined with related scenes from Shakespeare's plays.

  In 1957, Duke Ellington completed and presented "Such Sweet Thunder" in concert for the first time. Working with Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington composed a suite of musical portraits of characters from Shakespeare's plays; Hamlet, Lady MacBeth, Caesar, Cleopatra, Henry V, Iago and others. 

In two unique performances last month, The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra was joined by actors from the Seattle Shakespeare Company to perform the Ellington suite with related excerpts from Shakespeare's plays. 

If you are looking for some jazz in holiday style to get your hands on, you might want to consider these Christmas jazz albums I've listed on Groove Notes. Some might be more of a challenge to track down than others.