Jazz at Lincoln Center’s in-house recording label, Blue Engine records’ Black Brown and Beige is a recording of a live Rose Theater performance in 2018 by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Wynton Marsalis, the center’s managing and artistic director, says: “Black, Brown and Beige sits alone in the history of jazz. It covers a mosaic of not just Afro-American but of American styles of music.”
Born in 1899, Duke Ellington was a master jazz composer and musician for several decades and was an important figure during the Harlem Renaissance. He thought of his music not only as jazz but also “beyond category,” and he wrote pieces that influenced American music for the greater part of a century. He led the best-known orchestral jazz group of all time. Composer Percy Grainger even wrote that “The three greatest composers who ever lived are Bach, Delius and Duke Ellington.”
Black, Brown, and Beige, which includes nine tracks in total, originally debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1943 while Ellington was still alive. Elliot called it “a parallel to the history of the Negro in America.” It is a notable work in both African-American history as well as that of all American orchestral compositions.
Jazz at Lincoln Center is happy to release a present-day recording of the piece that does Elliot’s greatest work justice and makes it digitally available to countless people today. Blue Engine Records’ mission is to feature both past and present works that make up an entire canon of music to bring old and new fans of jazz together.