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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a Black King of the Bible in Duke Ellington’s Symphonic Triptych “Three Black Kings.”

Luca Bragalini, Professor of Jazz History at the Music Conservatory of Brescia, Italy, offers a webinar entitled Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a Black King of the Bible in Duke Ellington’s Symphonic Triptych “Three Black Kings.” An ICAMus-The International Center for American Music event, sponsored by MCECS-Michigan Center for Early Christian Studies, in collaboration with the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and MES-Department of Middle East Studies, The University of Michigan. In honor of Martin Luther King Day 2022. A panel of specialists in the diverse fields explored by Prof. Bragalini's documentary discusses the video.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 27, 2022, AT 3:00-5:00 PM EST.

FREE REGISTRATION:  https://tinyurl.com/2zvsappv


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In the image above: event's poster. Acknowledging the Jean & Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan; special thanks to Jillian Luciow, Public Engagement and Events Specialist.


On January 27, 2022, the new documentary video by Luca Bragalini on Duke Ellington's symphonic jazz ballet score Three Black Kings is discussed by scholars of the diverse fields explored in the presentation. 

The video is entirely subtitled (in English). 




Joshua Scott, Technical coordinator - Welcome

Jim Lepkowski, President of MCECS-Michigan Center for Early Christian Studies - Intro from MCECS

Karla Mallette, Director of MES-Middle East Studies Dept., University of Michigan - Intro from MES

Aloma Bardi, Director of ICAMus-The International Center for American Music - Intro from ICAMus; introduces Luca Bragalini


3:15 – Video - duration: 51:12


4:10-4:30 – The Panel of Specialists discussing the video includes:

Aloma Bardi - American-Music scholar, Founding Director of ICAMus

Rodney Caruthers II - New Testament scholar, Reseach Fellow at Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies

Stefano Zenni - Musicologist and jazz expert, Music Conservatory Bologna, Italy

Gabriele Boccaccini - Middle East Studies Dept. & Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Michigan

Bill Doggett - Historian, archivist, and African-American music expert, Director of Bill Doggett Productions

Marcello Piras - Musicologist and author, expert of jazz and Musics of the Americas, Puebla, Mexico


4:30-5:00 – Luca Bragalini replies to comments, Q&A, general discussion

5:00 – End of event & announcement of upcoming webinar on Feb 1


In the website 4enoch.org edited by Professor Gabriele Boccaccini, a page provides further information and bibliography on the Black King in the history of Christian thought and in the arts:



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Jazz composer, pianist, jazz orchestra leader, and symphonic orchestra conductor, Duke Ellington also composed some symphonic works of great complexity. Three Black Kings, a score for ballet, was his last major work. The first movement represents Balthazar, the Black king of the Nativity; the second portrays Solomon, King of Israel; and the third celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ellington's personal friend.  Luca Bragalini will discuss Martin Luther King’s musical depiction in Three Black Kings, with an analysis of the implications of the Black King’s imagery in art history, political thought, and the importance that religion has had for the African American community. 
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In the photo above: Luca Bragalini, jazz scholar and Duke Ellington specialist. Photo courtesy Luca Bragalini, 2021.


Luca Bragalini is Professor of Jazz History at the Music Conservatory of Brescia, Italy. He has discovered unpublished works by Duke Ellington, Chet Baker and Luciano Chailly; some of them he has had premièred and recorded. A published author and lecturer, Professor Bragalini was Distinguished Scholar at Reed College (Portland, OR) where he offered a series of lectures on Ellington. His book Duke Ellington’s Symphonic Visions—published by EDT in Italy in 2018, with an accompanying CD of première recordings and previously unpublished archival photos, all contents discovered by Bragalini—is the first volume entirely dedicated to Ellington’s symphonic music. 

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