This has been a swinging year, and a healthy one for jazz in these parts. The Kimmel Center is upping its commitment to jazz (see details below), non-profits like Jazz Bridge and The Jazz Sanctuary are presenting almost 100 concerts per season, museums have hosted jazz programs, mini-jazz fests are popping up all over, new and old jazz jam sessions are doing above average business, and restaurants and clubs that never used live music of any kind are now booking jazz. Destinations like The Prime Rib and Sullivan’s maintain a policy of booking jazz pianists seven nights a week.
Duke Ellington played piano, but it was his intertwined roles as bandleader and composer that propelled him to greatness. He wrote over 1,700 songs, as well as longer orchestral suites and film scores. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a new book explores the man behind the music.