PLEDGE NOW
The Genius Of Duke Ellington

The genius of Duke Ellington. Terry Teachout joins us on the great “Aristocrat of Jazz.”

Composer and bandleader Duke Ellington is photographed playing the piano in this undated photo. (AP)

Composer and bandleader Duke Ellington is photographed playing the piano in this undated photo. (AP)

Duke Ellington had a touch so elegant and a band so great, he raised the roof on American jazz and invited in multitudes.  From the Cotton Club to Carnegie Hall, he could set a mood indigo or set the hall hopping.  Miles Davis said all musicians should get down on their knees and thank Duke Ellington.  A new biography gets inside the music and behind the suave demeanor to the great showman and enigmatic man.  Up next On Point:  exploring Duke Ellington.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Terry Teachout, critic, playwright, blogger and biographer, drama critic for The Wall Street Journal and critic-at-large of Commentary. Author of, “Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington,” “Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong” and “All in the Dances: A Brief Life of George Balanchine.” (@TerryTeachout)

From Tom’s Reading List

USA Today: ‘Duke’ reveals the music behind Ellington — “Ellington wasn’t formally trained or even well-versed in classical music, so he found it difficult to write hummable tunes or structurally develop themes with any complexity. But he could meld together disparate musical fragments from his band members’ solo performances, mastering a ‘mosaic method of composition.’ While not a flagrant plagiarist, Ellington still took most of the credit.”

Dallas Morning News: Book review: ‘Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington,’ by Terry Teachout — “Teachout probes deeply into Ellington’s offstage associations. Affairs and flings long hidden from view are laid out for our inspection, as well as Ellington’s quarrels and feuds. His complex, often unconventional relationship with his family is also presented in all its quirkiness. Where other biographers have held back, often due to personal loyalty to Ellington, Teachout digs in all the deeper.”

Read An Excerpt of “Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington” By Terry Teachout

Playlist

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 5, 2016
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas mingles at a campaign event at Robie's Country Store, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Hooksett, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Ted Cruz, Clinton and Sanders out of Iowa. Zika panic. Syrian peace talks fall apart. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Feb 5, 2016
A portion of the cover of Ben Ratliff's new book, "Every Song Ever." (Courtesy Farar, Straus and Giroux / The Publisher)

How to choose music in an age when everything is online and always there. New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff shows the way.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 5, 2016
A portion of the cover of Ben Ratliff's new book, "Every Song Ever." (Courtesy Farar, Straus and Giroux / The Publisher)

How to choose music in an age when everything is online and always there. New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff shows the way.

 
Feb 5, 2016
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas mingles at a campaign event at Robie's Country Store, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Hooksett, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Ted Cruz, Clinton and Sanders out of Iowa. Zika panic. Syrian peace talks fall apart. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #4: Donald Trump — You Heard It First!
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Jack Beatty recounts an evening rally with Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, and wonders if the billionaire businessman is really looking for an exit.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 5, 2016
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Spread the word — we FINALLY have both a new website (in beta) and a new newsletter. Sign up, visit and see what’s happening in the On Point digital universe.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #3: Jeb Bush — Cry for Me, America!
Thursday, Feb 4, 2016

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) asked a New Hampshire audience to clap for him — and our own Jack Beatty was there to hear it.

More »
Comment