The ELLINGTON STRAYHORN Songbook: the Rodric White Quintet + Rebekka Neville – Friday, 8th of December 2023:
The Rodric White Quintet and singer Rebekka Neville present a new show celebrating the brilliant music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.
Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington (1899 – 1974) was an American jazz pianist/composer and jazz orchestra leader from 1923 through the rest of his life. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s and gained a national profile through his orchestra’s appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem. Ellington wrote or collaborated on more than one thousand compositions: the largest recorded personal jazz legacy, and many of his pieces have become standards.
At the end of the 1930s, Ellington began a nearly thirty-year collaboration with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn (1915 –1967), whom he called his writing and arranging companion. With Strayhorn, Duke composed multiple extended compositions/suites. who collaborated with bandleader and composer Duke Ellington for nearly three decades. Billy Strayhorn’s compositions include “Take The ‘A’ Train”, “Chelsea Bridge”, “A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing” and “Lush Life”.
A pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington is described as “the most significant composer of the genre”, renowned for his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, as well as for his eloquence and charisma.
Pianist and Music Director Rodric White was a finalist in the 1999 National Jazz Piano Competition and is a regular band leader at FOUNDRY616 writing shows for singers Patricia Ségui (France), Magdalena Mira (Chile), Simone Waddell, Lana Nesnas, Dorian Mode and Liam Burrows, and featuring guest singers such as Virna Sanzone.
Rebekka Neville is a Sydney-based singer/songwriter who performs internationally and locally with her trios/quartets entertaining crowds at Jazz in the Park Balmain, Toowoomba Festival of Flowers, 180 Degree Marquee Bennelong Point, Manly Jazz Festival, and Brunei for the Brunei Musical Society. Rebekka performs regularly for local and overseas guests onboard the Vagabond Jazz Lunch Cruises of the beautiful Sydney Harbour.
- Rodric White – piano/MD
- Andrew Robertson – saxophones/flute
- Dave Smith – guitar
- Michael Galeazzi – acoustic bass
- Steve Ley – drums
- Rebekka Neville – special guest singer
‘Passionate performances of songs associated with the marvelous Billie Holiday made for a great night’s entertainment at Foundry 616. Rodric White’s arrangements allowed the talented six-piece band to display their considerable skills allowing the musicians to entertain and display their skills as soloists and as an ensemble … The show and venue are both recommended.’ – Mark Pigott (Sydney Arts Guide)