The Duke


Live music. On a Sunday afternoon. It was Black history month and the Saint Paul Public Library put on a tribute to Duke Ellington, by The Dean Brewington quartet.

Sunday in the park with Duke. The program included a presentation by Tony Garret, discussing the historical perspective of what Duke was trying to accomplish. With his life. In the times that he was born into. As America was building a nation. In the days of Jim Crow, the Duke was doing his part building a powerful nation.

It was hard to keep together the big bands in the 1950s. After the Depression was over. After the war was over. It was because of the cost. And television came around. The presentation showed Duke Ellington with his musicians in the Amos and Andy films. Making a statement.

The Love of the music. When Duke met the prejudice of his time, his response was to go home and write. Music brought people together. Dean Brewington with his saxophone and his quartet performed the music, with a singer giving voice to her interpretation of the music sixty-some years later. It was all about the writing. And these 4 musicians working together to give a modern day meaning to the music.

There was on this Sunday a humility about it all. The program. The history. Of the performers to Duke. Of what he endured. Of the life he wrote into the music. And the music coming alive in this performance in 2010.

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