These are unique performances in that they include scenes from Shakespeare interspersed between movements of the Ellington suite. Darragh Kennan and Hana Lass from the Seattle Shakespeare Company are on stage with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in these performances recorded at the Kirkland Performance Center and the Edmonds Center for the Arts.
The production was conceived by George Mount of Seattle Shakespeare Company and Michael Brockman, who conducts this performance of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. Soloists from the orchestra are featured in Ellington's musical portraits of characters from Shakespeare's plays, including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and others. The Duke Ellington Orchestra premiered and recorded "Such Sweet Thunder" in 1957.