Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite   by Anna Harwell Celenza    Picture Book

Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite by Anna Harwell Celenza Picture Book

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It's a challenge to transform the "Nutcracker Suite's" romantic orchestra into jumpin' jazz melodies, but that's exactly what Duke Ellington and his collaborator, Billy Strayhorn, did.

Ellington's band members were not so sure that a classical ballet could become a cool-cat jazz number. But Duke and Billy, inspired by their travels and by musical styles past and present, infused the composition with Vegas glitz, Hollywood glamour, and even a little New York jazz.