Comment on January 2nd, 2014.
Well, that's just gorgeous.
You might be interested the new Terry Teachout biography of Ellington, which Adam Gopnik reviewed recently in the New Yorker
(that's a pointer to help you track it down, because the whole review isn't available online to nonsubscribers).
Apparently Ellington wrote less of his music than was generally realized (i.e., he took unfinished efforts by people in his band and polished them into the works we know today). Gopnik's essay is an interesting consideration of how much that matters (less than one might expect, he contends).
Comment on January 3rd, 2014.
Thank you! I'll look it up.
I know Ellington and his band were sometimes a collaboration; in fact, lots of times they explicitly shared writing ("Caravan" was Duke and Juan Tizol, "Things Ain't What They Used To Be" was Mercer Ellington solo, etc). But maybe the band was even more a collaboration than that. I'll always read a Duke Ellington piece with interest. Anyway, I've never heard of a member of his band, say, accusing him of ripping them off.
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