Here we have the great Maestro, Duke Ellington in a very rare performance of his later Sacred Music, which he termed his most serious efforts of the latter part of his career. Of the three Sacred collections, or "concerts" he composed, perhaps the most well-known was his Second Sacred Concert, which he recorded as a studio version for RCA Records, but also performed at religious venues throughout the world. Although Ellington was of the Christian faith, he saw to it that his spiritual music was accessible universally, for all faiths and beliefs, and it was played in Churches, Synagogue, Temples, and Mosques alike.
In this album, we have an example of the Second Sacred Concert being performed in Paris France, at Eglise Saint Sulpice, while on a European tour in 1969. Featured as expected are his usual lineup of jazz superstars; Johnny Hodges, Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson, Paul Gonsalves, and more, and on vocals the amazing contra soprano, Alice Babs of Sweden, as well as Toney Watkins and a choir called the Swingle Singers.
Performers on this Album
Piano: Duke Ellington
vocals: Alice Babs, Toney Watkins, Swingle Singers Choir
Wild Bill Davis, organ
trumpets: Cat Anderson, Cootie Williams, Rolf Ericson, Mercer Ellington
trombones: Lawrence Brown, Chuck Connors, Aake Persson
saxophones: Johnny Hodges, Norris Turney, Russell Procope, Paul Gonsalves, Harold Ashby, Harry Carney
bass: Victor Gaskin
drums: Rufus Jones