Race in America and the Voice of Duke Ellington
This 2010 New Yorker review of Harvey G. Cohen’s book, “Duke Ellington’s America” bristles with atmosphere from many periods punctuating Ellington’s life and career: the Kentucky Club in 1926, from the plunger mute of Bubber Miley; the brilliant bands of the late 30s and early 40s, seen solo by solo; and the injustices of the 1950s that galvanized Ellington’s civil rights involvement in the 1960s. The review reopens the disquieting issue that periodically confronts great musicians in jazz: how social responsibility dovetails — or should dovetail — with musical identity and celebrity.
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think?