The Ellington Nutcracker ! with UNC Pembroke Jazz Ensemble
The Poplar Knight Spot
The “Ellington Nutcracker” is an exquisite collaboration between Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, setting Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s music to the famous ballet The Nutcracker in a jazz style. The Ellington Orchestra recorded and released the work in 1960 on the album Three Suites (Columbia Records). Ellington and Strayhorn created a nine movement work, renaming and reordering a selection of works from The Nutcracker. Dance of the Reed Pipes became "Toot Toot Tootie Toot,” while the March was entitled “Peanut Brittle Brigade.” Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy became “Sugar Rum Cherry,” and the Arabian Dance was retitled “Arabesque Cookie.” Although the musical settings are a radical departure from that of Tchaikovsky, major themes are readily recognizable drenched in unusual sonorities, complex harmonies, improvisation, and blues topics. We hope you will enjoy Ellington and Strayhorn’s take on The Nutcracker!