Tomorrow is Duke Ellington's birthday (he would have been 86) and his native city is marking the date with several celebrations. The Duke Ellington School for the Arts will host an evening of the great bandleader's music at the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine at 8 p.m. Vocalist Debra Tidwell will offer Ellington's sacred music and big band sounds will be supplied by the Ellington Jazz Ensemble. At Martin Luther King Jr. Library tomorrow at noon two films will be screened, "On the Road With Duke Ellington" and "Black and Tan Fantasy." And at 7 p.m. the John Malachi Trio will perform Ellington tunes in the main lobby. The library events are free.
Rob Bamberger of WAMU-FM will get the jump on Monday's events tonight at 10 when he plays a unique 1932 recording by the Ellington orchestra on his show, The Ellington Hour. Bamberger says that some years ago, collector Jerry Valburn purchased what he thought was an alternate take. It turned out that the 7 1/2-minute medley was part of Victor's early long-play production, which was scrapped because of the Depression. For this session, two turntables and two differently placed microphones were in operation.
Valburn has had the disc synchronized with its mate and will soon release the recording on his own Everybodys label. Says Bamberger, "What we have is a 1932 stereo recording of Ellington's orchestra."