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 memebers 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. CD recording of the Ellington/Strayhorn composition included.
Anna Harwell Celenza is a musicologist and author. Her children’s books include Saint-Saëns’s Danse Macabre, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Beethoven’s Heroic Symphony, and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. She lives in Washington, DC.
Don Tate is the author and illustrator of Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (Peachtree), for which he received the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, and Strong as Sandow. He received the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor for It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw (Lee & Low). He is the illustrator of several picture books including The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans), and The Cart That Carried Martin. Don lives in Austin, Texas