Town Hall First Hill
Sat., Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m. 2015 All Ages
This is the annual concert of Sacred Music by Duke Ellington. Ellington was, of course, the greatest and most creative figure of the big band era. He had, one could argue, three main musical projects: One was the production of dance-hall hits, two was the production of serious black music (music that would represent the 400-year history of African descendants in the world that was new to Europeans), and three was the production of pieces that expressed his religious/existential feelings.
Tonight is devoted to the third, and in many ways most profound, of Ellington's projects. Anyone who has heard his composition "Come Sunday" instantly understands that Ellington felt God as something that's inside and not outside of (or remote from) the human experience. He was, in short, a Spinozist. And so was, for that matter, John Coltrane. The theology of Spinoza, a 17th century Dutch Jewish philosopher, has many features that agree with jazz spirituality. Charles Mudede