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Duke Ellington: A Genius And An Enigma

Friday, January 10, 2014

(Courtesy of Terry Teachout)

Duke Ellington was a towering figure in American music, but even those closest to him said he was a hard man to know. In his new critically-acclaimed biography Duke: A Life Of Duke Ellington, cultural critic and writer Terry Teachout says that Ellington was brilliant but undisciplined, prolific but prone to taking credit for the work of his sidemen.

"Duke Ellington's a genius, the key composer in the history of jazz," explains Teachout. "And the greatest tribute you can pay to a great man is to tell the truth about him -- the wonderful things, the terrible things  -- is to be completely honest."

This segment originally aired on Oct. 18, 2013.

Guests:

Terry Teachout

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