Duke Ellington plays his symphonic jazz piece ('A Rhapsody of Negro Life') with his orchestra against slice-of-life background scenes. The four movements: 1) The Laborers, 2) A Triangle: ...
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Duke Ellington plays his symphonic jazz piece ('A Rhapsody of Negro Life') with his orchestra against slice-of-life background scenes. The four movements: 1) The Laborers, 2) A Triangle: Dance, Jealousy, Blues, 3) A Hymn of Sorrow, 4) Harlem Rhythm.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Symphony in Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life
Written by Duke Ellington
Played throughout the movie by Duke Ellington Orchestra (as Duke Ellington and His Orchestra)
The four sections (with additional performers noted) are titled:
Triangle: Dance, Jealousy, Blues
Hymn of Sorrow
Harlem Rhythm - danced by Earl 'Snake Hips' Tucker See more »
If you want to see this film, it's available in a compilation disc entitled "Hollywood Rhythm: Volume One" and is a set of musical shorts featuring Black artists of the 30s and 40s. The films were made by Paramount and is a rare case of a major studio featuring Black music to wider audiences of the day. This particular short is a highly condensed version of Ellington's much longer "Symphony in Black". It's divided into four parts and you see little vignettes acted out as the music plays. Some of the time, you don't see Ellington's orchestra--just Ellington himself sitting casually at the piano. A big debut here is Billie Holiday--a brilliant singer with a very tragic life. Overall, the piece is very polished--very classy and refined--much like Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess". Very watchable and enjoyable--it's just too bad it's not all of Ellington's piece--now THAT would be a great little slice of history.
By the way, on the disc, this and another Ellington short are among the very best stuff. What an artist!
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