Secret Ellington

In 1958, composer Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, along with librettist Herb Martin, composed 22 songs for a Broadway musical titled Saturday Laughter, based on novelist Peter Abraham's Mine Boy.

In 1958, composer Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, along with librettist Herb Martin, composed 22 songs for a Broadway musical titled Saturday Laughter, based on novelist Peter Abraham's Mine Boy. Although the show—which dealt with apartheid in South Africa—was never produced, it left behind 22 Ellington songs that, until now, were never recorded, existing only on demo tapes and the composer's own lead sheets. Twelve of those songs are represented here, brought to life by vocalists Ian Shaw, Freddie Cole, Jeffrey Smith, and Judi Silvano, with stellar backing that includes one of Grover Washington Jr.'s last recordings. The arrangements by the participating musicians may not reflect the depth with which Ellington himself might have orchestrated the music, but the songs are as sophisticated and melodic as any in the composer's catalog and sound every bit as classic as their history would indicate. Contact 718-977-1123 or tlemusic@hotmail.com—SG