Posts Tagged ‘Nutcracker’

Les Brown & His Band – Nutcracker Suite (very good!)

December 29, 2013

As I’ve mentioned, I grew up listening to a lot of big band music (like it or not). Actually, I liked (and still do) a lot of that style of music. In their day, big band leaders and the musicians were the equivalent to our rock stars. We have air guitars — they had air clarinets!    So back in the day, if you were in to modern music, you didn’t want to rock — you wanted to swing baby!

Today I’m featuring Les Brown and His Band Of Renown performing Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite.

Brown and his band performed with Bob Hope for nearly 50 years, oftentimes playing USO shows for the troops in Vietnam — interesting dichotomy in music styles and genres — you had Hope entertaining the troops with a “big band” sound while many of the troops were, on their own, listening to Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Doors. However, I don’t think one troop minded because Bob always brought along Ann Margaret or Racquel Welch.
As I said, this is Brown’s version of the Nutcracker Suite — and it is simply fabulous.
This is from a wiki page: “We start off with Piotyr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s famous “The Nutcracker Suite,” Op. 71A. Heard to great advantage are the Overture; March ( with a statement first heard in its original form then the response is in jazz tempo); Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy; Trepak; Arab Dance (which arranger Frank Comstock set in a Latin dance tempo!); Dance of the Reed Pipes; Waltz of the Flowers leading into a grand flourish even Tchaikovsky would have been proud had he heard this rousing score!”
pick it up here:


The Great Duke Ellington

December 27, 2012

In 1960, Duke Ellington released an album titled “The Nutcracker Suite,” featuring his interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s, The Nutcracker. The album was re-released on CD in 1990 as “Three Suites.” The re-release featured the original piece along with Ellington’s reworking of Grieg’s “Peer Gynt Suite” and “Suite Thursday,” his tribute to John Steinbeck.

If you have not had the chance to listen to Three Suites in its entirety, you can find it here. You can purchase Three Suites as a CD from – or as a digital download at either amazon or iTunes. In my opinion, it deserves to be listened to off the CD (or even better, vinyl). The compressed mp3 files do not do it justice (but then that’s true for just about any piece of great music).

In the meantime, here’s the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra performing Ellington’s  Danse Of The Floreadores.

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