MURRAY, Ky. — The Murray State University Jazz Band and Jazz Orchestra will present a concert featuring the music of Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899–1974) on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in historic Lovett Auditorium.

Ellington composed more than 3,000 pieces of music in his life and kept his famous orchestra together for more than 50 years, giving more than 20,000 performances in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia. The Murray State Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Band will perform selections from Ellington’s discography and are both under the direction of Dr. Todd E. Hill, professor of music. The concert is free and the public is cordially invited.

The Jazz Orchestra stands on a stage holding their instruments.
Pictured: Jazz Orchestra

Included will be such Ellington standards as “In a Mellotone,” “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo,” “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” “Mood Indigo” and “Do Nothing ’til you Hear from Me.” The groups will also perform standards by Ellington associates Billy Strayhorn, such as “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “Satin Doll” and “Chelsea Bridge,” and Juan Tizol’s “Caravan.” The Jazz Orchestra will open and the Jazz Band will follow quickly. There will be a brief intermission before the Jazz Orchestra retakes the stage. The second half of the program will feature excerpts from Ellington’s tone parallel “Black, Brown and Beige” about the African-American experience. The masterwork was first published for modern performances earlier this year. The concert will run just under 80 minutes.

“This music has been quite a challenge for us, but the students have really poured themselves into interpreting it as Ellington intended,” Hill said.

The Murray State Jazz Band includes saxophonists Dawson Gray (Owensboro, Kentucky), Stephen Mullins (Owensboro, Kentucky), Tia Crouse (Murray, Kentucky), Roman Roberts (Murray, Kentucky) and Liam Newman (Wildwood, Missouri). Trumpeters for the group are Nick McKenzie (Memphis, Tennessee), Gabby Rapp (Memphis, Tennessee), Austen Shelton (Murray, Kentucky) and Emily Allen (Columbia, Illinois). Trombonists are Lauren Blume (St. Anthony, Indiana), Aaron Beach (Paducah, Kentucky), Nick Bushnell (Louisville, Kentucky) and Jamie Blaylock (Bridgeton, Missouri). The rhythm section includes pianist Sam Winders (Marion, Kentucky), guitarist Gabriel Massinon (Hopkinsville, Kentucky), bassist Gavin Hayes (Metropolis, Illinois), drummer Kelsey Dunn (Sharon Grove, Kentucky) and vocalist Rebecca Robards (Henderson, Kentucky).

Members of the award-winning Murray State Jazz Orchestra include saxophonists Andy Johnson (Mt. Vernon, Indiana), Elizabeth Wechtenhiser (Hawesville, Kentucky), Kevin Kortz (Paducah, Kentucky), Wade Griggs (Murray, Kentucky) and Winnie Smee (Cape Girardeau, Missouri). Trumpeters are Adam Fisher (Bremen, Kentucky), Ben Gerkins (Bowling Green, Kentucky), Dakota Noble (Paris, Tennessee), Abby Ward (Princeton, Kentucky) and Drew Boslooper (Madisonville, Kentucky). Trombonists in the group are Eli Meece (Greenville, Kentucky), Korie Brewer (Cape Girardeau, Missouri), Thomas Wheeler (Goshen, Kentucky) and Parker James (Georgetown, Kentucky). Rhythm section members are pianist Julie Park (Seoul, South Korea), guitarist Ascher Taylor-Schroeder (Boonville, Indiana), bassist Brent Smith (Boonville, Indiana) and drummer Aaron Moody (Murray, Kentucky). The vocalist for the Jazz Orchestra is Kayla Marie Little (Murray, Kentucky).

The Murray State Jazz Orchestra is widely recognized as one of the most outstanding collegiate jazz ensembles in the country. They have performed at the prestigious Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic and performed four times for the Kentucky Music Educators Association. They have also made multiple appearances and earned awards at the acclaimed Elmhurst College Jazz Festival.

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