First Night: Duke's swing hits town

Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra Barbican Centre London

THE ACE trumpeter Wynton Marsalis brought centenary birthday boy Duke Ellington to town with the Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra, swinging a sequence of standards with gusto and style - though no one with an ear for old records would pretend that it was quite "the real thing".

But then Marsalis wouldn't pretend that it was. He's taking the band around the world, spreading the Ellington gospel in his own style, though to judge from last night's performance most of the ideas are Ellington's own.

The concert didn't so much start as waft into the hall, with piano, bass and drums quietly creeping beneath the audience chatter before Marsalis appeared with the trombonist Wycliffe Gordon for the "Black and Tan Fantasy". The wailings and wha-whas were instantly recognisable and so was the growled reference to Chopin's "Funeral March" that ends the piece.

"Rockin' in Rhythm" was the next to arrive with Seneca Black blowing the main trumpet solo. Marsalis took a back seat, shared a joke with his men and the pent-up atmosphere soon relaxed.

It was good to hear "Lady Mac" - a pungent tonal blend suggested, as Marsalis himself confessed, that "deep down, he always knew that she had a little ragtime in her soul".

"Concerto for Cutie" placed a boyish, bespectacled Ryan Kisor centre stage, toying with doleful repetitions before bursting in with the big central tune.

The Duke loved trains and "Track 360" described trains that pass in the night with reeling clarinets, pumping trombones, and drummer Herlin Riley achieving a perfect diminuendo as the trains thundered into the waiting silence.

Joe Temperley's baritone sax was a husky, lyrical "Sophisticated Lady" - someone that the audience was particularly happy to meet. Riley returned in full force for the fourth dance from the Liberian Suite with a repertoire of effects that ranged from clattering sticks to a full artillery and clarinettist Victor Goines helped colour the mellow - and extended - tale of Ellington's "Tattoo Bride'.

After the interval, Marsalis cued the title number from "Such Sweet Thunder" - and I doubt that even Ellington himself could have made a better job of it.

Rob Cowan

Suggested Topics
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam