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Jazz Ensemble Pays Tribute to Duke Ellington at Wednesday Concert

March 9, 2012

The DePauw University Jazz Ensemble will be paying tribute to the music of history's most influential jazz musicians, Duke Ellington, at its opening concert of the Spring 2012 semester. You're invited to attend the Wednesday, March 14 performance, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium of the Judson and Joyce Green Center for the Performing Arts. It is presented free of admission charge and is open to all.

The concert will consist of music composed by Duke Ellington, Billie Strayhorn, and many others Ellington collaborated with in creating a sound in jazz like none other. Among these compositions will include works for his big band and small groups, such as Caravan, Hodge Podge, Mood Indigo, Harlem Air Shaft, Echoes of Harlem and I’m Beginning to See the Light.

"There are many challenges in performing Duke Ellington’s music," explains the jazz ensemble’s director, Shawn Salmon. "Each composition had a life of its own and tells a story. It is our job to tell that story to the audience. He also wrote his music not for instruments, but for the unique voices in his band. The students had to really assimilate the individual, personal sound of the members in Duke’s band."

Joining the DePauw Jazz Ensemble for the evening will be special guest, trombonist Brent Wallarab. Wallarab has served as specialist in jazz for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., where he he has transcribed, edited, and restored nearly 300 works for big band deemed by the Smithsonian as national treasures, including many pieces from the Ellington archives. Wallarab also performs as lead and solo trombonist for the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the jazz ensemble-in-residence of the National Museum of American History, a position he has held since the inception of the orchestra in 1991.

In 1994, Wallarab, along with Mark Buselli, founded the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, a professional jazz ensemble based in Indianapolis, dedicated to the creation of new works for jazz orchestra and developing programs for jazz education.

Wallarab currently teaches jazz ensemble and jazz arranging at the Indiana University School of Music and is sponsored as an endorsing performing artist by King Trombones, a subsidiary of Conn-Selmer, Inc.

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