Duke Ellington

His life story in words and music

The narrated life story of one of the most enduring and influential jazz musicians of all time set against the racial, social, political and artistic struggles of America in the 20th century.

The story is punctuated by original and exciting re-interpretations of a selection of Ellington's music performed by a live 7-piece band.

All of the venues are offering champagne, wine, beer and soft drinks for sale by the glass or by the bottle.

The Norfolk Arms Hotel are offering a specially created 2-course menu on the evening. Contact the venue directly on 01903 882101 if you would like to book this option.

You've got to find some way of saying it without saying it” - Duke Ellington

View the trailer...

Performances and Tickets

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Note for purchasing tickets

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Big House

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All the tracks from the show, "Duke Ellington - his life in words and music". Recorded live at the Norfolk Arms Hotel, Arundel on 27th August 2021. Recorded, mixed and mastered by James Shears, Mistletoe Studios.

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Ellington - back by popular demand 

The Duke was back in town on November 6th for another show at The Norfolk Arms Hotel














The entire cast simultaneously search for a missing contact lens...


Well that was a LOT of fun, was it not! Many thanks to everyone who came along over the 4 nights, a brilliant reaction every time. Many thanks to the band, the narrators and the support team. Everyone played their part with inspiration and professionalism, the sum of the parts even greater than the whole! We recorded all the shows and we're hoping to produce a download or CD of the music selected from those recordings - you can pre-order above. We're looking at touring the show next, so watch out for Ellington!

Here's a clip of the encore from Tuesday at South Stoke Barn...


The final rehearsal... 

It's been 3 months in the making, a lot of work and a lot of fun. Last night was the final rehearsal, all running super smooth. We're ready for show time. Bring it on!

Great work everyone, can't thank you enough :-)

Mike Carey - Piano / MD
Stephen Cass - Drums / Vocals
Mike Comber - Double bass / Guitar
David Hepworth - Trumpet / Flugel
Paul Hodgson - Tenor Sax / Flute
Don Manson - Trombone
Clare Carey - Accordion
David Chalk - Irving Mills
Tracy Murphie - Ruth Ellington / Vocals
Rosie Hewitt - Creative / PR
Ciara Marshall - Film / Photography
James Shears - Sound


E Day is approaching 

We're very excited, fully rehearsed and can't wait for the first performance this Tuesday at South Stoke Barn.



Irving Mills checks in... 

Duke Ellington's manager between 1926 and 1939, a pivotal figure in bringing the music of Ellington to the world and establishing him as America's foremost composer of the twentieth century. One of the two narrators in the Ellington production, Mills is played by David Chalk who over the course of rehearsals has become so convincing we're no longer sure whether he is Mills or Chalk!


Satin Doll 

The show features re-interpretations of some of Ellington's best known compositions. Here's a clip from rehearsals of Satin Doll re-interpreted as a ballad.

Ruth Ellington 

One of the narrators, Ruth Ellington (in character), enjoying a cup of tea during rehearsals. Ruth was Duke's sister and she'll be giving a reflective narrative, giving us some insight into how Duke saw things as they unfolded.

Ticket sales bubbling at the Farmers Market 

Sales and marketing manager, Clare, busy promoting Ellington at Arundel Farmers Market. Note she has a ready supply of Smock Alley English Sparkling Wine to hand in order to help her through the day :-)

Things Ain't What They Used To Be 

Here's a tantalising clip from a rehearsal session. This is the end of "Things Ain't What They Used To Be", dropping in on the end of the bass solo and leading out with the final head. Trombonist missing in action and it was before we had the tea and pastry break, so not bad under the circumstances!

Research material 

Some of the books I'm using to research the narrative for the show. Spot the rogue title :-)

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