Duke Ellington’s Jazz Nutcracker


The Nutcracker Suite was the topic of the Google Doodle yesterday. It is now 120 years old! No Christmas would be complete without Tchaikovsky’s ballet fantasy, which has been mounted by all the major companies, and has been interpreted in many different ways.

Even in jazz! In 1960, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn composed jazz interpretations of pieces from Tchaikovsky’s score. I’m sorry there is nothing to look at… just turn up the computer speakers while you wrap presents or finish the tree. You may even want to dance!

In 1999, this suite was supplemented with additional arrangements for The Harlem Nutcracker, which I will share tomorrow.

Duke Ellington – Overture

Duke Ellington – Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy)

Duke Ellington – Arabesque Cookie (Arabian Dance)

Duke Ellington – Chinoiserie (Chinese Dance)

Duke Ellington – The Volga Vouty (Russian Dance)  

Duke Ellington – Toot Toot Tootie Toot (Dance of the Reed-Pipes)

Duke Ellington – Dance of the Floreadores (Waltz of the Flowers)

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