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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 25, 2008

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performs Ellington love songs in Hancher

The Jazz at Lincoln Center (J@LC) Orchestra, under the direction of Wynton Marsalis, will warm up Valentine's Day week with a performance of "The Love Songs of Duke Ellington" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.

Sensual Ellington classics -- "Mood Indigo," "Prelude to a Kiss" and "Satin Doll," to name just a few -- will feature soloists including Wess "Warmdaddy" Anderson, Houston Person and Scott Hamilton, who was described in "All About Jazz" as "one of the most melodic saxophone balladeers in jazz."

The J@LC Orchestra has performed in Hancher on several occasions, including a celebration of the Ellington centennial in 1999. The Feb. 12 concert is the climax of a nationwide tour of the Ellington love songs including performances at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Orchestra Hall in the Twin Cities. The orchestra will reprise the concert in May at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, born on April 29, 1899, in Washington, D.C., was the most prolific and versatile American composer of the 20th century with respect to both numbers of compositions -- nearly 2,000 -- and variety of forms. During more than 50 years of sustained achievement as an artist and an entertainer, Ellington wrote popular songs, innovative scores for big band, music for the stage, film scores, jazz suites and large-scale religious compositions.

Ellington synthesized many of the elements of American music -- including the minstrel song, ragtime, Tin Pan Alley tunes, the blues, jazz and European music -- into a style that combined technical complexity with directness and simplicity of expression. His innovations in form, harmony and melody influenced composers worldwide.

Many of the songs he composed alone or with collaborators including brother Mercer Ellington and Billy Strayhorn -- "Satin Doll," "Sophisticated Lady," "Caravan," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "I'm Beginning to See the Light," "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing," "Mood Indigo," "Prelude to a Kiss," "Take Love Easy" and many more -- have become indispensable parts of the standard repertory of vocalists and jazz instrumentalists.

The J@LC Orchestra has been the "house band" for Jazz at Lincoln Center activities for two decades. Under the leadership of Wynton Marsalis, the orchestra defines jazz in the 21st century through extending the big-band tradition and premiering new works from commissioned artists. One of the highlights of the ensemble's history was Marsalis' Pulitzer Prize-winning "Blood on the Fields," which was performed in Hancher in 1997.

The Chicago Tribune observed, "No institution in America has dared to dream as big as Jazz at Lincoln Center. Jazz at Lincoln Center has given the music a degree of visibility and stature it does not typically receive. The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra is becoming the signature American jazz band to audiences around the world." And the Charlotte Observer observed, "What they've done . . . is nothing short of cultural movement, elevating America's music and enshrining its creators, establishing a baseline of jazz literacy and encouraging young people to take up the torch."

The Feb. 12 concert is supported by Ralph H. and Marcia A. Congdon; Donald W. Heineking; William Matthes and Alicia Brown-Matthes; Rex Montgomery; Phelan, Tucker, Mullen, Walker, Tucker & Gelman, L.L.P.; and West Music Company, through the University of Iowa Foundation. Media support comes from the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

Tickets are $50/45/40; UI student $45/15; senior citizen $45/40.50/36; youth $35/31.50/28.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered through Hancher's Web site:

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

PHOTOS are available at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Briget Wilson, J@LC,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073 (office), 319-430-1013 (cell),