‘Such Sweet Thunder’ Selections

Duke Ellington

Switzerland, 1959

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These are selections from “Such Sweet Thunder,” a concept album that Duke Ellington meant to pay tribute to the works of William Shakespeare. Kind of like “Peter and the Wolf,” each soloist takes a turn to stand up, as if speaking a different role.

If you’re into theater, see if you can pick out the roles of the different characters — Othello or, say, Cleopatra. On the larger album, Johnny Hodges would carry out a defining solo as he tried to interpret Shakespeare’s own interpretation of the relationship between Cleopatra and Antony.

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