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Ellington: Peanut Brittle Brigade

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: A jazzy twist on a Christmas classic

Duke Ellington continues to be a legend in the jazz world for his creativity and utmost dedication to his art. A prolific composer and arranger all his life, he always tried to push himself to write innovative, adventurous pieces. Later on, he decided to try something completely different, and looked to the music of great classical composers for his inspiration. What resulted were brilliant arrangements for jazz band of three classical suites: Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and the two Suites from Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg. Ellington’s arrangement of the Nutcracker Suite is a jazz masterpiece that gives Tchaikovsky’s original score a new jazzy spin. Ellington further added his own twist by creating clever captions for each of the movements in the suite. The selection you just heard, originally titled “March” in the Tchaikovsky version, becomes “Peanut Brittle Brigade” in Ellington’s version.

Music Heard On This Episode

Peter Ilytch Tchaikovsky, arr. Duke Ellington: "Peanut Brittle Brigade" from Nutcracker Suite
Duke Ellington and His Orchestra — Three Suites (Sony, 1990)
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album cover
Peter Ilytch Tchaikovsky, arr. Duke Ellington: "Peanut Brittle Brigade" from Nutcracker Suite
Duke Ellington and His Orchestra — Three Suites (Sony, 1990)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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