Beyond the Blue Tango

Jelani Eddington
Organist Jelani Eddington.
Photo courtesy of Jelani Eddington

American organist Jelani Eddington is not your usual sort of musical entertainer. First, he's also an attorney, a graduate of Yale Law School.

But lately he has focused his attention on his real love, music. A few years ago, at age 27, Eddington was proclaimed Organist of the Year by the American Theater Organ Society.

Among Jelani's many recording projects is a recent 2-CD set devoted to his transcriptions of orchestral scores by the popular American composer of 'light concert favorites,' Leroy Anderson, who was born 100 years ago on June 29, 1908.

Anderson, a Harvard grad, came to the attention of Arthur Fiedler, who commissioned two pieces for a 1938 Boston Pops concert. The rest is history.

Among Leroy Anderson's numerous all-time favorites are "Blue Tango," the first instrumental recording to sell a million copies, "Fiddle-Faddle," "Bugler's Holiday" and "Sleigh Ride."

Eddington performs works by Leroy Anderson at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis on June 23, at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., and also in a free concert at the Fitzgerald Theater on June 29, the actual Anderson centenary.

Pipedreams host Michael Barone talked with Eddington about his involvement with Leroy Anderson's music, and the surprises found therein.

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