Michele Corcella

Michele Corcela is one of the most sought-after italian jazz composers and arrangers. Besides winning many prizes in international composition competitions, he has worked as arranger/ conductor with David Liebman, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Norma Winstone, WDR Big Band, Glauco Venier, Enrico Pieranunzi and Mario Brunello.

He teaches jazz composition at Conservatory of Bologna (IT) and has given lectures at the last Duke Ellington International Conferences in Amsterdam, New York, and Birmingham.

At Ellington 2022, he will talk about Duke Ellington’s Experimentation Techniques In The New Orleans Suite. Here is the abstract of his presentation.

“Ellington’s compositional style developed continuously until his death in 1974. The talk, based on Duke Ellington’s manuscripts, is aimed to stress how the New Orleans Suite was a revolutionary work and a milestone in orchestral jazz. The opening track (Blues for New Orleans) is based on the simplest blues chord progression but it’s probably one of the the most experimental tunes of the 20th century for what concerns chromaticism and jazz orchestration. Due to his complex harmonies, Ellington has always been compared to European composers such as Debussy and Stravinsky. However, the presentation will show how Duke stretched tonality to its limits in a completely different way: the blues as a source of not-conventional harmonies. In Portrait of Mahalia Jackson. Ellington paid homage to the queen of gospel music transforming the orchestra into a big pipe organ.I will show how Duke reached this goal. Finally, I will talk about the fundamental role of the copyist, the relationship between the manuscripts and the recording, and the problems of interpretation of this repertoire for both college and professional big bands.”