Welcome to DESUK

The Duke Ellington Society UK’s purpose is to further the study, appreciation and dissemination of the music of Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington.

We meet regularly in London to listen and socialise, and new arrivals are always welcome.

Our house publication Blue Light is released quarterly. The content is wide ranging and we are fortunate to have amongst our members jazz authors, journalists and critics, and equally fortunate to have many enthusiastic members who, because of their own deep interest, have become expert in particular niches of Ellingtonia.

2020 AGM

Save the date: Saturday 2nd May 2020, London. Details to follow.

Non-society events

Got a gig coming up with an Ellington element? Pop us an email and we can publicise via our website.

Harmony In Harlem - Cambridge 29th February

Harmony In Harlem return to St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church in Cambridge for what is becoming an annual fixture. On Saturday 27th February 2020 our theme is Primping for the Prom from one of our new titles, but the centrepiece of the show is the challenging, rip-roaring Diminuendo in Blue & Crescendo in Blue. We will also feature The Mooche, Clarinet Melodrama and Billy Strayhorn’s harrowing Blood Count.

More details here and tickets here.

Harmony In Harlem - King’s Lynn 23rd April

Harmony In Harlem will be in King’s Lynn on Thursday 23rd April at 7.30pm, performing Such Sweet Thunder at St George’s Guildhall.

The St George’s Guildhall in King’s Lynn is the oldest working theatre in the country and also the largest surviving mediaeval guildhall.

There’s more: it is also the only existing performance venue believed to have hosted William Shakespeare himself.

To celebrate this unique connection to the Bard, Harmony In Harlem will be performing Duke Ellington’s Shakespeare suite “Such Sweet Thunder” at St George’s Guildhall - on St George’s Day, Shakespeare’s birthday.

Such Sweet Thunder, composed by Duke and Billy Strayhorn in 1957, is one of the most acclaimed albums in jazz, a collection of 12 vignettes of Shakespearean characters some of which are sonnets in musical form. Harmony In Harlem performed Such Sweet Thunder four times in 2014 and 2015 and we are pleased to revive this suite, with guest performers including Bob Hunt on trombone, for King’s Lynn.

Tickets £12. More details will be forthcoming here.

Mike Westbrook’s Uncommon Orchestra: On Duke’s Birthday 29th April

Ronnie Scott’s, London will host Mike Westbrook’s Uncommon Orchestra on Duke Ellington’s birthday, Wednesday 29th April 2020, with a piece dedicated to the Ducal anniversary.

This will be the first time that the full-scale version of the piece will have been performed in London. The fact that April 29th is Ellington’s birthday makes this an even more special occasion.

Details here.

Frank’s gigs

Our own Frank Griffith has numerous upcoming gigs, often with an Ellingtonian twist.

Date: 20 February 2020
Location: Fredericks Bar, 32 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BX
Featuring: Frank Griffith with Misha Gray and Viktor Nordberg
Admission: Free

Date: 2 March 2020
Location: Boulevard West. 7 Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1RP
Time: 9PM
Featuring: Frank Griffith Trio
Admission: £15, includes supper
More information: 01704 537263

Date: 22 March 2020
Location: Seven Arts Jazz, 31 Harrogate Road, Leeds, LS7 3PD
Time: 1.30PM
Featuring: Frank Griffith, Louise Gibbs and Richard Wetherall
More information: Music of Ellington and Strayhorn www.sevenleeds.co.uk
Admission: £10

Date: 12 April 2020
Location: Nantwich Jazz Festival, Crown Hotel, High St, Nantwich, CW5 5AS
Time: 2-4PM
Featuring: Frank Griffith Trio
More information: 01270 625283 www.nantwichjazz.com

Date: 17 April 2020
Location: Sefton Park Cricket Club, L17 1AA
Time: 8PM
Featuring: “Tenors Anyone” with Frank Griffith, Phil Shotton and the Jonny Dale Trio
More information: 07481 155077
Admission: £5

More on Frank’s website.

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