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Duke Ellington: A Genius And An Enigma

Tuesday, June 17, 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.


Terry Teachout

Comments [2]


@ Samuel: perhaps, Terry is taking the godlike "icon cellophane" off of Duke. does that occur to you ? how does talking about the human foibles of a flesh and blood person ,take away from their artistic genius ? you sound really silly.

Jun. 18 2014 02:00 AM
Samuel A. Blake from planet earth

Please, avoid Teachout's book! This guy tries to lower Ellington's reputation just to create a buzz in order to make money on his name. Every serious Ellington scholar feels very angry. If ever you happen to read this... whatever you may call it, please, also read Walter van de Leur, Mark Tucker, Ken Rattenbury, John Edward Hasse, Stanley Dance, Peter Gammond, André Hodeir, Ralph J. Gleason, Harvey G. Cohen, Stuart Nicholson, Gunther Schuller, Alain Pailler, A.H. Lawrence, just to name a few who actually know what they talk about when they discuss Ellington's music. Not to mention the many devoted Ellington specialists whose signatures have graced and enriched the D.E.M.S. Bulletin (European based Duke Ellington Music Society) for decades.

May. 22 2014 10:38 AM

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