Duke Ellington And His Orchestra – Duke Ellington’s Third Sacred Concert

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Ellington called these concerts (Sacred Concert) “the most important thing I have ever done”. He said many times that he was not trying to compose a “Mass” (liturgy). The critic Gary Giddins has characterized these concerts as Ellington bringing the Cotton Club revue to the church.

Track listing:

0:00 Introduction by Sir Colin Crowe
1:34 Introduction by Duke Ellington
2:33 The Lord’s Prayer/My Love (D. Ellington, p; A. Babs, v; H. Carney, bs)
10:23 Is God A Three-Letter Word For Love? [Part I] (Babs, v; R. Procope, as)
14:50 Is God A Three-Letter Word For Love? [Part II] (Narration by Watkins; Babs, choir, vocals)
18:35 The Brotherhood (Harold Ashby, ts; choir)
24:10 Hallelujah (Choir)
27:40 Every Man Prays in His Own Language (Babs and choir, vocals; Art Baron, recorder; Ashby, ts; D. Ellington, p)
38:48 Ain’t Nobody Nowhere Nothin’ Without God (Watkins, v)
43:05 The Majesty of God (Babs, v; Carney, bs)


Mercer Ellington, Harold Johnson, Johnny Coles, Barrie Lee Hall, tp; Vince Prudente, Art Baron, Chuck Connors, tb; Harold Minerve, as, fl; Russell Procope, as; Harold Ashby, ts, cl; Percy Marion, ts; Harry Carney, bs, cl, bcl; Duke Ellington, p; Joe Benjamin, b; Quentin White, d; Tony Watkins, Alice Babs, v; John Alldis Choir conducted by Roscoe Gill, Jr.


Recorded in performance at Westminster Abbey, London (UK), October 24, 1973.