Mr Sun Plays Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite – Radio World Debut

Date: 11/30/2023

Time: 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Fiddle legend Darol Anger (David Grisman Quintet, Turtle Island String Quartet) will stop by WTJU this Thursday afternoon, November 30, to go track by track through the new album, Mr Sun Plays Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite, out December 1 on Adhyâropa Records. This is the radio world debut of the full album.

Folk & Beyond airs Thursday afternoon from 4-7 (eastern), and online at

American Roots Music thrives on growing new branches from its grand traditions, and the band Mr Sun, and its individual members, have long been actively re-shaping the acoustic musical landscape. For Mr Sun’s tenth anniversary, this celebrated company of virtuoso string players has reinterpreted the legendary Ellington/Strayhorn Nutcracker Suite, bringing this monumental reimagining of the iconic Tchaikovsky piece into the acoustic string band world.

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite contains some of the most beloved and familiar melodies in the Western world. Mr Sun has seized upon the inspiration of Duke Ellington’s brilliant, sly, and urbane re-interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Suite, recorded in 1960 to universal acclaim. Mr Sun took the opportunity to salute and re-invent this wildly multi-faceted work anew through the lens of the American String Band, a musical format which encompasses myriad styles and is engaged in a marathon upheaval of innovation and expansion. In Mr Sun’s new reading, the pieces of the Suite range from close interpretations of Billy Strayhorn’s original charts to intense extrapolations based on the spirit of the material.

Mr Sun is legendary fiddler Darol Anger (founding member of the hugely influential David Grisman Quintet, Turtle Island String Quartet) mandolin master Joe K. Walsh (Joy Kills Sorrow, the Gibson Brothers, Danny Barnes), guitar hero Grant Gordy (David Grisman Quintet, Karan Casey, Danny Barnes) and the great bassist Aidan O’Donnell (Maeve Gilchrist, Steve Kuhn).

Their studio of choice was a state-of-the art recording facility built by the Mass/MOCA Art Museum. The recording engineer was the legendary David Sinko, who recorded most of the most important, innovative acoustic string bands of the last 40 years. Mr Sun will premiere the work at the Freshgrass Festival at Mass/MOCA in September of 2023, concurrent with the release of their recording on Adhyâropa Records. The Project was generously underwritten by the Freshgrass Foundation.

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