Duke Ellington: His Life in Jazz
Duke Ellington is one of the greatest names in the history
of the jazz era. It's hard to give any comprehensive report about jazz without
a tip of the hat to the duke. The man was just as classy as his nickname
indicates, offering a suave style and smooth sound to a new genre of music. His
impressive career spanned decades. That, combined with his personal and
professional ambitions, made him one of the most famous and sought after
bandleaders of the 20th century.
I was excited to see this book's release. Prior to picking it up, I knew Duke's
name and reputation, but little about the man himself. By the time I finished
reading, I felt as though I had learned a library's worth of information on a
fascinating man. That is, I believe, the goal of a biographyto find out all
you ever wanted or needed to know about the subject in an entertaining way. But
this particular biography has the added bonus of kid appeal that comes with 21
related activities, ranging from Make a Washtub Bass to Design an Album
Duke Ellingtons life had no shortage of material for a
potential biographer, and author Stephanie Stein Crease found and organized a
gold mine of it. Some chapters seemed a bit drier than others, making this book tough for me to read straight
through. However, Im still greatly impressed with the content, arrangement,
and overall construction of the book.
Id highly recommend it for any school or classroom library,
as well as for any individuals interested in the jazz era.