A feature length performance-documentary celebrating Duke Ellington’s centennial. The film presents a close-up look at some of Ellington’s greatest works, in performances by Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz as they have never been seen or heard before. Interwoven documentary scenes take viewers on a journey to the heart of Ellington’s passions as a songwriter, pianist and bandleader. Duke Ellington was one of the 20th century’s greatest composers and a major figure in American culture, pivotal in giving artistic expression to the African-American experience. Marsalis provides a commentary that helps put Duke in context as he performs the Ellington repertoire for a new generation of listeners. The film also features jazz legend Illinois Jacquet on tenor sax, and Lindy-hop king, Frankie Manning, helping to celebrate the excitement, humor, and swinging spirit of Duke Ellington.
– Premiered on PBS’ Great Performances