Welcome To Duke's World
Michael J. Connor | Waltham, MA USA | 07/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""One the Road With Duke Ellington" was first broadcast on October 13, 1967 on NBC. Filming began in earlier that year. Here's an idea of what is included in the film.
In April 1967 Ellington prepared his "Salute to Morgan State." He performed it on May 1, 1967. (Ellington received an Honorary Doctorate from the College.) He also performed "Take the A Train" and "Jones" which are included in the film.
On May 31, 1967 Billy Strayhorn died. Included in this documentary is footage of Ellington at Strayhorn's funeral.
On July 11, 1967 he and his band were in the RCA studios recording "Rondolet." This is included on the "Private Collection Volume 8"cd.
On July 26, 1967 he performed at the Gillmore Brothers Auto Park in Kalamazoo Michigan where (probably) "Traffic Jam" (aka "The Biggest and Busiest Intersection") and "In the Beginning God" were recorded.
Other interviews were filmed during the summer and early fall of 1967.
I don't know when Louis Armstrong showed up back stage to talk to Ellington, but it's very interesting. You see Ellington pull his cheek kissing bit (four kisses--one for each cheek) on Armstrong about two years before he pulled the same bit on Richard Nixon.
It should be said that the musical numbers are often abridged. No doubt that will anger some viewers, but it is fine by me. You can listen to Ellington's music any time. And this film really isn't about Ellington performing his music, it's about Ellington getting up in the morning, having his potato and steak breakfast, making calls, answering his mail, noodling at the piano, going on stage and performing, flirting with women (both young and old). For a 68 year old man, he's living just the way he wants to. He gets to write his music, record it, and perform it. Like I said--Welcome To Duke's World."