Posted by: loomisisc | June 17, 2010

This Duke Loved Trains

Click Image for Show Link

A celebration of Duke Ellington’s genius was recently on display in “Sophisticated Ladies” at the Arena Stage in D.C. If you had a chance to catch the show, you would come away with a sense of the legendary entertainer’s love for trains and how large they loomed in his life and touring career. At one point in the breathtaking show of non-stop music and dance, a train bears down the tracks on one of the many see-through screens that fill the stage and the audience gets a sense of the excitement of the Duke going on tour and taking his magic on the road.

Of Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis wrote,

“…Duke Ellington touched more people than confetti

He captured the sound of trains, planes, baby(s), lions and elephants

He liked simple songs with complicated developments and pretty endings…”

“Take the A Train,” is an iconic Duke Ellington track that has been revisited by Marsalis, Dave Brubeck and a number of jazz musicians over the years.  In this rendition with Ella Fitzgerald, listeners are reminded of the railway’s efficiency, “If you miss the A train, you’ll find you’ve missed the quickest way to Harlem.”

Click Image to Hear Their Duet.

In a few years, the quickest way from West Oahu to Honolulu will be the Honolulu rail. And we’ll be singing its praises, too.

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