Duke Ellington was perhaps jazz music's greatest composer of the 20th century. His importance led to him being asked to provide the musical focal point for the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln on 1 January 1963, freeing all slaves who were living in the ten states rebelling in the Civil War. Ellington wrote an extended piece which combined newly composed music with well-chosen works from earlier in his career and captured a wide panorama of the black American experience: from gospel to the blues. Singer Joy Sherrill was often the focal point, ably assisted by the Ellington Orchestra.
Stridently titled "My People" and featuring an early musical tribute to Martin Luther King, it was released on Bob Thiele's mid-60s Contact label but failed to sell in large numbers. Thiele reissued it on Flying Dutchman in the early 70s, but this is the first time that it has been reunited with its original artwork. It is another fine addition to our Boplicity range of jazz classics.