By Terry Teachout
A significant new biography of Duke Ellington from the acclaimed writer of Pops: a lifetime of Louis Armstrong
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington used to be the best jazz composer of the 20th century—and an impenetrably enigmatic character whom nobody, no longer even his closest acquaintances, claimed to appreciate. The grandson of a slave, he dropped out of highschool to develop into one of many world’s most renowned musicians, a showman of incomparable suavity who was once as cozy in Carnegie corridor as within the nightclubs the place he honed his kind. He wrote a few fifteen hundred compositions, a lot of which, like “Mood Indigo” and “Sophisticated Lady,” stay liked criteria, and he sought notion in an unending string of temporary fans, concealing his internal self at the back of a smiling masks of flowery language and ironic charm.
As the biographer of Louis Armstrong, Terry Teachout is uniquely certified to inform the tale of the private and non-private lives of Duke Ellington. Duke peels away numerous layers of Ellington’s evasion and public deception to inform the unvarnished fact concerning the inventive genius who encouraged Miles Davis to assert, “All the musicians may still social gathering one sure day and get down on their knees and thank Duke.”