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Genius Guide to Jazz

The Further Adventures of Duke Danger

By Published: January 8, 2003
If Louis Armstrong is the Father of Jazz, then Duke is the Godfather. In his music, he makes us an offer we can't refuse. We must go the mattresses in order to fully appreciate him, leave the gun and take the cannoli in order to understand his depthless genius, and never ask him about his business (or is that Godfather II ?).

At any rate.

If we have learned nothing else over these past couple of months, it is that Duke Ellington was worthy of the elaborate praise heaped upon him by Ken '20 Hours About Anything' Burns, and that his place in American music transcends mere popularity and exceeds category. Whereas Armstrong defined the soloists place in jazz, Ellington made a place for every musician within the confines of what is considered jazz. His legacy is that of brilliant inclusion, of synthesis and symbiosis, a statement of undeniable cogence to an indefinable art. And I'll fight the man who says different.

So then.

We'll wrap up this first month of the New Year by wishing everyone a happy and prosperous New Year. May you have every gift and blessing these twelve months have to offer, and may you have your best year ever in 2003. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a cold bottle of Pinot Grigio and a warm 'berblonde to attend to. Special greetings to my friends in Saltillo, Mexico; Northampton, England; and Bangalore, India. And Genius fans around the world, please don't hesitate to e-mail me and win valuable prizes.

Till next month, kids, exit to your right and enjoy the rest of AAJ.

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