Jazz and humor party to get closer to the figure of Duke Ellington

The show features two actors and nine musicians on stage. | JORDI GRASSIOT

“I wouldn’t know if it’s a theatrical concert or musical theater, but it’s a party from start to finish with humor, music and dance,” says actor Marcel Tomàs, who has once again allied himself with the musicians of Girona Jazz Project for his new show, The Colors of Duke Ellington. It opens on November 1 in the Canal de Salt, in a double function (at 12 and 6), within the programming of Temporada Alta.

Two actors and nine musicians offer a journey, seasoned with the humor of Cascai Teatre, through the history of jazz from the figure of the pioneer of the genre, Duke Ellington.

The origin of the show, explains Tomàs, is Noucents, the pianist of the ocean, a project in which he also collaborated with the musicians of Girona Jazz Project. “They talked to me a lot about Ellington, they insisted I was a really fascinating character,” he says. Through them I discovered a more festive and friendly jazz and, above all, a character who deserved a show “, explains the Empordà actor about one of the jazz stars, whom he defines as” a fantastic guy, very elegant and cultured , but also transgressive. In addition, he had synesthesia, a neurological disorder that mixes the senses and when he listened to music he saw colors in it, and that also gives us play, ”he says.

Thus, based on his biography and a musical genre that was born in clandestine places and grew and became sophisticated over the years, actors and musicians review “with a pedagogical point but very pleasant”, the history of jazz until today.

“It’s very authentic music, it talks a lot about the human condition and it’s pure feeling,” he says. Some of the musical themes that are part of the show’s repertoire are Take the “A” Train, In a sentimental mood, It don’t mean a thing or Sophisticated Lady with arrangements by Adrià Bauzó and Xavi Molina.

Duke Ellington’s music is the absolute protagonist of the show, it accompanies all the scenes. “It allows us to portray New Orleans, New York, the atmosphere of the Cotton Club,” explains Marcel Tomàs.

The show also touches on topics such as the value of music for society or inspiration. “Duke Ellington always struggled to find the perfect tune, he suffered a certain anguish when it came to creating,” he says.

This “friendly story for all audiences” combines music with mime, clown, object and mask theater, visual and gesture theater and text theater, so the musicians, in addition to putting the soundtrack, are an active part of the sketches and conversely, the two performers also sing and dance.

“From the first rehearsal I told the musicians that I didn’t want to see instrumentalists, I wanted to see performers. I already warned them that humor is a very serious thing, that it requires many hours of rehearsal, and in that sense, they have been very involved. They, in return, also asked me to sing and do what I can, ”he jokes.

As for the choreography, it has been provided by the actress, singer and dancer Marta Ribera. The Girona native has a long career, especially in musical theater, and is currently working with Antonio Banderas in Company.


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