Jeremy Price is Head of Jazz at The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and leader of the Conservatoire's Ellington Orchestra which will performing the live music for the forthcoming Duke Ellington Study Group Conference. The Orchestra performs every two weeks in the Conservatoire's dedicated jazz space, the Eastside Jazz Club.
Ellington's music is an integral part of the studies in jazz the Conservatoire offers. I an interview with Sebastian Scotney of London Jazz News in 2017, Jeremy said:
" The more I explore Ellington, the more fascinating I find it. From the Ellington/Strayhorn conundrum to the individual soloists to all the Ellington music in the context of jazz history.
But I'm not just indulging my intellectual and musical interest! The important thing for the ethos of the Jazz Department and the development of the students is that Ellington inhabits that crucial space between art and entertainment that is so important to jazz. Whenever you play Ellington, it's an object lesson in communication and reaching out to an audience.
It's especially good that Ellington speaks to the man/woman in the street as much as the educated jazz aficionado. It's always groovy, soulful, danceable even, with constantly beguiling orchestration. It's dramatic and showy but when quiet is often very moving and deliberately sensual and beautiful. We could do with a lot of these qualities permeating through contemporary jazz, which is why I want it installed as a regular fixture, so that students are permanently around these qualities, and somehow it will influence their own music and how they communicate with an audience. The important thing for me to emphasise here is that the Ellington orchestra isn't a retro step, it's to bolster the contemporary scene which is still our main aim."
You can read the full text of the interview on the London Jazz News website here...
The Ellington Orchestra led by Jeremy Price will be performing four concerts across the three days of the conference. Past successes have included performances of The Far East Suite, Such Sweet Thunder, The Nutcracker and selections from the Roulette album Live At The Blue Note. The depth of the Orchestra's repertoire, the leadership of Jeremy Price and the facility of some of the finest young musicians studying in the UK at the moment all make for a scintillating aspect to the programme on offer at the conference.
Here are videos of Jeremy Price in conversation and footage of the original iteration of the Conservatoire's Ellington Orchestra in rehearsal last year for their full house concert at Birmingham's Town Hall.