The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra have a new album, “In the Spirit of Duke”, coming out next month. It’s made up of recordings from their excellent series of Duke Ellington concerts with Brian Kellock late last year, and includes a mixture of well-known Ellington tunes and rather more obscure ones (including a couple of Ellington and Strayhorn’s arrangement of pieces from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite).
The band are back on Tommy Smith’s Spartacus label, after last year’s appearance on ECM with Arild Andersen. However, regular ECM recording engineer Jan Erik Konshaug mixed and mastered this one, so it should have very good sound quality. If “Celebration” had a flaw, it was that the selection of tracks meant there were no solos by anyone other than Andersen or Smith, but as anyone who was at the Ellington concerts will know, this one should give the orchestra more chance to demonstrate the talent to be found throughout their line-up. In particular, listen out not just for some amazing playing from Brian Kellock, but for young alto player Ruraidh Pattison, who was making his debut with the band.
“In the Spirit of Duke” is officially released on March 13th, but advance copies will be available at next weekend’s SNJO concerts where they’ll be playing the music of Miles Davis with Paolo Fresu. You can get more details and order your copy on the Spartacus Records website.
Oh, and if you were thinking about going to next Saturday’s Glasgow performance, but don’t yet have a ticket, you’d better get a move on – it’s pretty much sold out.