7/31/17 O&A NYC HOLLYWOOD MONDAY: Mills Brothers – Caravan

The Mills Brothers recorded the Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington exotic jazz composition Caravan a cappella making the instruments’ sounds with their voices. The Mills Brothers honored Duke Ellington with this swing version of his Caravan.

Mills Brothers – Caravan

The Mills Brothers, sometimes billed The Four Mills Brothers, and originally known as The Four Kings of Harmony, were an African-American jazz and pop vocal quartet who made more than 2,000 recordings that sold more than 50 million copies and garnered at least three dozen gold records. The Mills Brothers were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.

(Repost) 7/21/17 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE: John Bubbles- Cabin In The Sky

Cabin in the Sky is a 1940 American musical with music by Vernon Duke, Lyrics by John La Touche, and a musical book by Lynn Root. The musical premiered on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on October 25, 1940. It closed on March 8, 1941 after a total of 156 performances. It was directed by Albert Lewis and staged by George Balanchine. The Broadway production starred Ethel Waters as Petunia Jackson, Dooley Wilson as Little Joe Jackson, Katherine Dunham as Georgia Brown, Rex Ingram as Lucifer Junior, and Todd Duncan as The Lawd’s General. Continue reading

6/16/17 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Dudley Williams last Performance- Dance Of The Village Elders

By Walter Rutledge

Dudley Williams was a performing artist, and teacher and a friend. I often referred to him as the “Lyric Prince of Modern Dance” a moniker that he enjoyed. In reality Dudley was a fighter. And the bantamweight dancer was in a battle with time, he simply refused to let it stop him from dancing. Continue reading

4/28/17 (REPOST) O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Three Black Kings- An Ailey Classic

By Walter Rutledge

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Three Black Kings was the last dance and music collaboration between choreographer Alvin Ailey and composer/musician Duke Ellington.  Continue reading

3/7/17 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Phyllis Hyman, Gregg Burge and Hinton Battle- It Don’t Mean a Thing! From Sophisticated Ladies

Tony Award nominated Phyllis Hyman performing Ellington classic It Don’t Mean A Thing From Sophisticated Ladies. She’s accompanied by Tony Award Winner Hinton Battle and Gregg Burge. Continue reading

12/17/17 O&A NYC SUNDAY AFTERNOON JAZZ CONCERT: Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite- Quantum of the Seas Orchestra (Christmas Eve 2015)

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On Christmas Eve, 2015, the Quantum of the Seas Orchestra performed the entire Duke Ellington version of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite.
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3/12/16 O&A NYC DANCE: The Vortex- From Alvin Ailey’s The River

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Jennifer Gelfand performs the Vortex section of Alvin Ailey’s The River. Originally set on American Ballet Theatre in 1970 the work was performed by Gelfand during a tour entitled  Vortex section of Alvin Ailey’s The RiverFernando Bujones and Stars of the Boston Ballet in 1993. The work was set to music by Duke Ellington.  Continue reading

2/19/16 O&A NYC THEATRE: Maurice Hines- Tappin Thru Life

By Walter Rutledge

Shall We Dancetappin_thru_life_a_lMaurice Hines presents Tappin Thru Life, at the New World Stages (340 West 50th Street), an entertaining mix of song, and dance peppered with Hines winning blend of tongue in cheek comedic realism. The evening chronicled his career in show business, which spans over six decades (beginning at age five). Septuagenarian (plus two) Hines charmed and cajoled the audience with unabashed panache, creating a clap along good time from beginning to end. Through a series of autobiographical anecdotes accompanied by song, dance and a mosaic/collage of multiple projected images Hines reveals a life spent “walkin the walk” or in Hines case “tappin thru life”.

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7/3/15 O&A Shall We Dance Friday: The Lake section of Alvin Ailey’s The River- American Ballet Theater with Cynthia Gregory and Marcos Paredes

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The Lake section of Alvin Ailey’s The River featuring music by Duke Ellington, with American Ballet Theater Cynthia Gregory and Marcos Paredes.  The ballet was first performed by American Ballet Theater (ABT) on June 25, 1970 to highly enthusiastic reviews. Continue reading

6/3/15 O&A: A Conversation With Dudley Williams- Three Black Kings and more (2011)

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Three Black Kings was the last dance and music collaboration between choreographer Alvin Ailey and composer/musician Duke Ellington. The work premiered during the 1976 Ailey season with a cast that included Elbert Watson as King Balthazar, Clive Thompson as King Solomon and Dudley Williams as Martin Luther King Jr. King was a close friend of Ellington and his widow Coretta Scott King attended the première. In this 2011 interview Dudley discusses his role and Ailey’s choreographic process. Continue reading