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Slavic Soul Party! Duke Ellington’s Far East at Atlas

June 16, 2017 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Slavic Soul Party! Celebrates Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s Masterpiece, Far East Suite

Slavic Soul Party! re-imagines Duke Ellington’s iconic Far East Suite as an Eastern European brass band discovering an exotic American sound, reversing the “exotic tinge” and reveling in this subtle, funky, and brilliant music. Ellington’s suite (created with Billy Strayhorn) was inspired by a 1963 State Department tour that was cut short – they didn’t make it to the “Far East” – and serves as a perfect foil for SSP!’s blend of East European, Romani, and American sounds.

“one helluva a soulful party, bound to make toes tap and bring smiles of approval – maybe even one from Duke himself, looking down from his cloud above.” (Marc Chenard, La Scena [Montreal])

“It’s a manifesto on cultural boundaries, historical lineage and how they play into individual creativity,” said Olivier Conan, co-founder of Barbès and a cross-culturally obsessed bandleader himself. “It’s like a giant game of mirrors with a crazy feedback loop of re-interpretations.” (Wall St Journal)

“The musicianship at all times is superb… The best non-Ellington recordings of Ellington-Strayhorn music are those that transform their source material into something new… I place this recording in that company. One more thing: The exclamation point in the group’s name is warranted. It is impossible to sit still when this record is on.” (Michael Leddy, Orange Crate Art)

“There’s a certain synchronicity in play when Slavic Soul Party!, an oddball brass band that embodies the adventurous spirit of Gypsy jazz, performs a rendition of Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite, an oddball album triggered by Ellington’s long and winding road of overseas tour stops. The nonet of SSP doesn’t restrict itself to its foundation of Balkan music any more than the legendary Ellington restricted his orchestra to, well, anything. And that’s a good thing, because in the same way the harmonic textures and melodic shaping speak to the complexities inherent in this whip-smart music, the thick grooves and catchy melodies that drive it evoke a festive atmosphere.” (Bandcamp.com)

“more than a novelty… The arrangement found on Slavic Soul Party! Plays Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite is a match made in high-concept heaven (or maybe just in Brooklyn): a rambunctious Balkan party band reinterpreting Ellington’s earthy, yet endlessly sophisticated music… What’s most impressive: Slavic Soul Party! did this live, on a single night. The band took a beloved big-band score, reconfigured it for a much smaller group and executed it with precision — and dazzling energy.” (Tom Moon, NPR’s All Things Considered)

“a pretty heavenly match” (TimeOut NY)


June 16, 2017
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H St NE
Washington, District of Columbia, DC 20002 United States
(202) 399-7993