Kurt Elling at the famous Grace Cathedral

American vocalist Kurt Elling will be singing spiritual music on Thursday at the famous Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, presenting a certain reprise of a repertoire played  at that same place exactly 50 years ago by Duke Ellington.

The Grace Cathedral in Nob Hill became famous in the world of music after Ellington’s concert of spiritual compositions held there on 17 September in 1965, which he later said to be the most important piece he had ever written. The concert was broadcasted on national television and followed by controversy due to public questioning if jazz artist do belong in a church, despite the 2500 spectators who attended the performance.

The concert took place thanks to then bishop originating from New Orleans, who asked Ellington to write an extended liturgical piece. “I recognized this as an exceptional opportunity”, wrote Ellington later in his auto-biography named Music Is My Mistress.

Ellington was joined on stage by, back then young lady, today legendary 74 year old vocalist Queen Esther Marrow who is going to sing again tomorrow, at the “reprise” of the 1965 concert alongside Kurt Elling and numerous local and international jazz artists performing Ellington’s rearranged concert repertoire with the SFJAZZ orchestra led by Miguel Zenon.

Watch a video of the original 1965 concert and in the meantime reserve o buy your tickets for Kurt Elling’s concert in Sarajevo where he will be introducing his current album Passion World.

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