The Long-Playing Duke

Ellington is the whole world at play. Wander in those corridors and you never come out. Fervently original, his music echoes its own echoes, world without end, amen, and is especially good at conveying "such emotions as tragedy, romantic nostalgia, wonder, delicate shades of humor" and a whole lot of et cetera. Plus, you can dance to it. And you will, one way or another.

A passage in this article was adapted from Gary Giddins'sVisions of Jazz: The First Century (Oxford), winner of the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism.

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