The Emerald City Jazz Kings 1998-99
Oct, 1998-May, 1999 - Eugene, Oregon
Steve Stone, Music Director
For their 1998-99 season, the Emerald City Jazz Kings have taken up the challenge of examining three of the best-known composers of American popular song in the 20th century: George Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael and Duke Ellington. These three composers share a common legacy of being present at the start of the Jazz Age in the 1920s; they were all at the height of their creative powers throughout the 1930s; and each has continued to influence American popular music to this day.
All three shared their creative efforts with partners who provided special inspiration. George and Ira Gershwin were one of America’s premiere song-writing teams, and although each wrote songs with others, their finest works were those they produced together. Hoagy Carmichael’s particular inspiration when working with the words of Johnny Mercer is perhaps not as well-known nor as extensive, but the team wrote several fine songs together and collaborated on a Broadway musical. Duke Ellington’s instrumental legacy is prolific, but it was at manager Irving Mills’ insistence that words (often Mills’ own) were added to his melodies to make them more commercially marketable. But Ellington formed a special latter-day collaboration in the 1940s when he was joined by Billy Strayhorn. The combined contributions of the two men over the next thirty-some years are hard to separate, so closely did they work together.
But the output of each of the three composers is very distinctive, and this will provide the basis for the series’ presentations. Join us!