Duke Ellington’s America

book cover

Duke Ellington guests on the “What’s my Line?” TV show (mid 1950s)

(Quotes are from Duke Ellington’s America)

A clip which allows us to see Ellington’s sense of humor. It also features a much different vision of Ellington than was usually the case on television: “Ellington’s hundreds of American TV appearances were usually limited to one old hit song, or a medley of them, with no opportunity for playing or even talking about new material or projects…Television built a safe, static image for the bandleaders of the Swing Era, encasing them in nostalgic hits and preventing them from moving with the times. For most of these artists, that represented an accurate picture, but Ellington’s commitment to composing and evolving made television a liability in some respects, a venue that only presented an out-of-date one-dimensional image, with the edges shorn off. Yet, such appearances were necessary to keep his name before the public.”