Edited by Edward Green
“I am among a large and ever-increasing number of people who see Duke Ellington as America’s greatest composer….”
I learned from Aesthetic Realism, the philosophy founded in the early 1940s by the great American poet and scholar Eli Siegel: art shows reality as it truly is—the oneness of opposites. The greater the work of art, the more that is so….In Ellington’s masterpieces—compositions such as The Mooche, Harlem Air Shaft, East St. Louis Toodle-O, Jack the Bear and Concerto for Cootie—we meet vibrant energy and deep thoughtfulness, passion, and control. Again and again, his music swings with intensity, yet also with natural ease. Just think, for example, of Cotton Tail. Opposites are convincingly, beautifully together—joined in a way we hope they can be in our own lives.” —Edward Green, from his introduction: “Ellington and Aesthetic Realism”
Selected Contents: “The 1940s: the Blanton-Webster Band, Carnegie Hall, and the challenge of the postwar era” by Anna Harwell Celenza; “Duke in the 1950s: renaissance man” by Anthony Brown; “Ellington in the 1960s and 1970s: triumph and tragedy” by Dan Morgenstern; “Sing a song of Ellington; or, the accidental songwriter” by Will Friedwald; “The land of suites: Ellington and extended form” by David Berger.