Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington

Teachout’s Duke is an engaging biography of an accomplished composer, renowned bandleader and skillful pianist who loved music, food and women. (Duke referred to himself as a “pussy freak.”) As an admirer of his work, particularly the Ellington effects, I find his composing process, which based on what he heard from his musicians, to be inspiring, but his way of treating women and his collaborators, especially how he took credits from the talented Billy Strayhorn, to be appalling. Then again, it is reassuring to know that even a great genius is deeply flawed just like the rest of us.

On an unrelated note on book design. Setting italic on long block quotes is quite distracting and hard to read.

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