Ella’f a night…


In 1959 Thelonious Monk organized a 10-piece ensemble to interpret his compositions in a concert at New York’s Town Hall.  In June 2009 the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra* (the orchestra-in-residence at the National Museum of American History) recreated that concert.

We went to that recreated concert and as strange coincidences sometimes happen the manservant was seated next to another Physicist. The manservant and the elderly retired Atmospheric Physicist exchanged contact details at the end of the evening with a "we must get together sometime" farewell.

Well, when we arrived home from Australia our stack of mail included an envelope from this gentleman – inside there was a Christmas card and two tickets to attend Ella! at the Kennedy Center. 


He was going to be on a cruise and thought that we would enjoy the show.  Did we ever!!  It was a most enjoyable evening.     It was a very generous gesture from a near stranger and we await his return so that we can do something in kind.   (you can click on these to see the song list more clearly).   

I've always thought that The Kennedy Center looks a bit like an ablutions block -  but it does shine at night:

* The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra was founded in 1990 with an appropriation from Congress in recognition of the importance of jazz in American culture.   The orchestra also offers master classes, workshops, and other educational programs to support up-and-coming musicians, singers, composers, and band leaders.

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22 responses

  1. Sounds like a fun event. I would've liked to hear "Too Darn Hot". I absolutely love Ella Fitzgerald interpreting Cole Porter's songs. Did the singers try to sound like Ella or was it just a situation of them performing songs she used to perform?

  2. It's massive isn't it. At the very far end there is a stage – when we arrived there were musicians performing on it with people sitting in rows of seats in front.

  3. We recently got Ella's Twelve Nights in Hollywood(box set) Live Original Recording – it is just wonderful. There is only one Ella – so no I don't think they really tried to sound like her. Dee Dee Bridgewater came closest – she has an impressive range and she did a great job with the scat singing. Janis Siegel might be better known for belonging to The Manhattan Transfer. Al Jarreau was great fun.

  4. I get chills just from imagining all the great music. The tickets are an exceptionally wonderful gesture!! The manservant must be one impressive guy…..but of course he is….he attracted you!!

  5. I was lucky enough to attend a play at the Kennedy Center…with a gourp of disadvantaged students who had never been anywhere like it. All dressed up and I wish you could have seen the looks on their faces as we entered and then took our seats. It was a night they will never forget. Nor will I.

  6. It must have seemed magical to your students RM. A few years ago we went to a play there and I was a bit disappointed to find that people were quite casually dressed as though it was not that big a deal – but on Sunday night all the ladies were really dolled up which lent even more specialness to the evening.

  7. Ablutions is one of those words that I love – mainly because you are right and people often don't know what it is. 🙂 I think I must have spent too much of my youth in caravan parks! LOL.

  8. How often does one find two Physicists in such close proximity …. LOL – true. It's even weirder because the manservant does not normally strike up conversations with strangers. I'm so glad he did.

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