The Duke Ellington Orchestra, conducted by the late composer's son Mercer Ellington, will make a rare appearance in the Southland on May 15 as part of the annual Queen Mary Jazz Festival in Long Beach.
Spread over three days, the festival will include the Ellington ensemble in the first show, to run from 7:30 to 11 p.m. The concerts will take place in a 10,000-seat arena set up near the bow of the Queen Mary. As usual, they will lean primarily toward contemporary, fusion and Latin music along with some orthodox jazz.
In addition to Ellington, attractions on the first night will include singer Diane Schuur; the Rippingtons, with Russ Freeman, David Benoit and Brandon Fields, and Leslie Drayton & Fun.
Saturday's show, 4 p.m. to midnight, will offer Lee Ritenour, George Howard, Poncho Sanchez, the vocal group Rare Silk and the "Great Guitarist" combo with three plectrum veterans, Charley Byrd, Herb Ellis and Barney Kessel.
The final program on Sunday, also starting at 4 p.m., will present the Louis Bellson Big Band, Wishful Thinking, Spyro Gyra, the Yellowjackets, Alphonse Mouzon and Larry Carlton.
For ticket information, call the Queen Mary at (213) 435-3511, ext. 1254, or Ticketmaster at (213) 480-3232 or (714) 740-2000.