The River (Podcast #17-015)

Ellington was commissioned
by the American Ballet Theatre to write a ballet, which became “The River” in 1970.
Continue reading

“In retrospect, it seems that 1970 must have been a busy year, because I was also working on a ballet score that had been commissioned by the American Ballet Theatre. Choreographed by Alvin Ailey, the ballet was premiered at the New York State Theatre on June 25, and it received enthusiastic reviews from, notably Clive Barnes in the New York Times. It was entitled The River…..”

–Duke Ellington, Music Is My Mistress


The recordings heard on this podcast episode:



The Spring//The Meander//The River//The Neo-Hip-Hot Kiddies Communities//Her Majesty, The Sea (CD: “The Private Collection, Volume 5 – The Suites” LMR CD 83004)

Recorded 25 May 1970 in Chicago

Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson, Mercer Ellington, Fred Stone – trumpet; Booty Wood, Julian Priester, Chuck Connors – trombone; Russell Procope, Norris Turney, Harold Ashby, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Joe Benjamin – bass; Rufus Jones – drums.

The River_Louisville

The Giggling Rapids//The Lake(LP: “Suite from The River” First Edition Records LS 777)

Recorded 1983

The Louisville Orchestra, Akira Endo – director.


The Run//The Falls//The Whirlpool//The Spring (CD: “Ellington Suites” Jazz in Motion Records JIM 75219)

Recorded 16 February 2005, live at the Bimhuis, Amsterdam

Tony Overwater – bass; Wim Kegel – drums; Oliver Boekhoorn – oboe, English Horn; Ivar Berix – clarinet; Raaf Hekkema – alto sax; Jelte Althuis – bass clarinet; Alban Wesly – bassoon.



The Villiage of the Virgins (CD: “Accelerando” Act Music + Vision ACT95242)

Recorded 8/9 August 2011 in New York City

Vijay Iyer – piano; Stephen Crump – bass; Marcus Gilmore – drums.