26th Oct, 2021

MUSIC MATTERS: Duke Ellington's Coventry Cathedral gig made available on CD

Editorial Correspondent 22nd Jul, 2018 Updated: 19th Nov, 2018

Duke Ellington

Fifty-two years ago Jazz legend Duke Ellington embarked on a tour of what was labelled ‘The Sacred Concerts’.

These concerts included at cathedrals in London, Liverpool, Manchester – and Coventry.

The concerts were designed to show that the jazz genre could be used to spiritual effect.

An inspiring recording was made at the magnificent Coventry cathedral venue that to this day welcomes live music – and it is now being made available on CD.

‘Come Sunday’ is an out-and-out spiritual, done jazz style, while ‘Come Easter’ was a new number specially written for the performance and played only once on the day of the Coventry concert.

He never played it again.

‘Light (Montage)’ swings along at a pace, all held together by Legendary jazz drumme Sam Woodyard.

Two numbers, ‘Come Sunday’ and ‘Tell Me It’s The Truth’ had vocal lines at previous outings, but at this concert they were uniquely stripped down to instrumental only.

Then it’s time for the four part ‘In the beginning God’ (the first four words in bible), a musical tour de force that lasts an epic 20 minutes.

It goes from pop jazz to a straight spiritual, followed by jazz-chant with the singers chanting the various books in the bible.

The stunning vocals are supplied by Baritone George Webb and The Cliff Adams singers.

1966 was of course the year pop music became more experimental (‘Good Vibrations’ by The Beach Boys, ‘Eleanor Rigby’ by The Beatles, ‘Have You seen Your Mother Baby Standing

In The Shadows’ by The Rolling Stones and ‘Happening Ten Years Time Ago’ by The Yardbirds). But The Duke was well ahead by this stage.

Use the phrase ‘concept album’ at your peril, but there is no escaping the obvious comparisons.

Storyville are behind the CD release of this landmark Coventry concert, called Duke Ellington in Coventry, 1966.

Coventry Cathedral is a unique building in a unique city.

So it seems

only right that this unique recording happened there.

John Dawkins

Big up John Dawkins, a Cov lad, who as their straight-talking, finger-on-the pulse manager famously masterminded The Enemy’s success in 2006.

He already manages a roster of top acts of course, but it’s finding that special one, and bringing out the obvious talent that’s the real buzz.

Well John has done it again, and it’s been a joy seeing ‘Dawks’ nurturing outstanding singer-songwriter Tom Grennan.

Tom’s debut album ‘Lighting Matches’ has just gone into the national album charts at number 5, and Tom is one of only four British acts this year to chart their debut album in the

top 5.

Tom has also recently achieved a Guinness World Record by playing 10 gigs in 12 hours.

His face is everywhere right now, on posters and flyers, the album has even advertised on TV.

All power to top bloke John Dawkins, well done mate and well done Tom of course. Let’s not mention the private jet though!

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