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May 27, 2013 / robinswood

Ellington in his Twilight

A great post called Duke Ellington: Highlights Of His Twilight came out on the NPR “A Blog Supreme” last week, and after listening to the five Ellington songs it seemed I just had to share it all a little more widely.


The text for the post begins with a bit of an inside look into the great musician’s heart and mind:  “When Duke Ellington received the news that Billy Strayhorn, his songwriting and arranging partner of 28 years, had died, Ellington reportedly cried and told a friend, ‘No, I’m not all right! Nothing is going to be all right now.'” The blog then goes on to demonstrate how Ellington did find his feet, and in a rather striking kind of way. Between Strayhorn’s death in 1967 and Ellington’s in 1974, he produced some truly exhilarating music. And given that this was the period in which many people were convinced that the future of jazz was in fusion and that big bands were unsustainable (which, for the most part they were…), what Ellington managed to do was truly remarkable.

Hard to pick a clear favourite from the five, but I’ve got a real soft spot for “Blues for New Orleans,” from the New Orleans Suite record.



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