LP0286. MY PEOPLE, Original 1964 Chicago Cast, w.Joya Sherrill, Entire production conceived, written and staged by Duke Ellington. Contact stereo CS-1, in gatefold jacket.
“MY PEOPLE is an album by American pianist, composer and bandleader Duke Ellington written and recorded in 1963 for a stage show. The album features recordings of compositions by Ellington for a stage show presented in Chicago as part of the Century of Negro Progress Exposition in 1963.
The Allmusic review by Scott Yanow awarded the album 3 stars and stated: ‘Ellington created music whose message of racial harmony remains timeless. Due to the high quality of the ‘Black, Brown and Beige’ suite and the shorter originals, this interesting set is more enjoyable than one might expect’.
Joya Sherrill, who sang with Duke Ellington as a teenager, toured the Soviet Union with Benny Goodman and was one of the first African-American performers to host a children’s television show, joined Ellington’s band in July 1942. Although she left the Ellington band and the road, her son said she performed and recorded under her own name and continued to work with Ellington on occasion. ‘I never really left the band’, she said in 1979. ‘Duke would call me for jobs once a year at least’. In 1962, Ms. Sherrill was the singer in a band assembled by Benny Goodman that performed throughout the Soviet Union. The Goodman tour, sponsored by the State Department, was the first by an American jazz ensemble behind the Iron Curtain.”