A few years ago, I was privileged to sit down for an extended interview with Mercer Ellington and was treated to a very personal perspective on his father, The Duke. We discussed everything from Mercer’s struggle for his own identity to the senior Ellington’s relationship with other musicians and his philosophy on musical composition. This is the second of a three part series that I hope you’ll enjoy hearing as much as I enjoyed creating it for you.
Duke Ellington was one of the most important and prolific composers of the 20th Century, not to mention his prowess as an arranger, musician and bandleader. His legacy was continued and enhanced by his son Mercer. I was privileged to sit down for an extended interview with Mercer Ellington and obtained a very candid view of the father through his son’s eyes. While their relationship was sometimes contentious, Mercer’s love and respect are evident, even as he struggles to emerge from a giant shadow and establish his own identity. This is the first of three parts that I hope you’ll find as fascinating as I have.
Ellington: Music Was Their Mistress Pt. 1
Musician, composer, teacher and all around jazz ambassador, Dr. Billy Taylor’s musical career is legendary. More than just an avid spokesman for “America’s Classical Music”, he fought for the recognition of Black musicians as key contributors to the American music scene … promoting jazz as a commentary against racial prejudice. Despite being one of the most remarkable jazz pianists of all time, the recipient of honors and awards worldwide, Billy always managed to remain a true gentleman of honor and humility.
Time Out With Billy Taylor
The Mark Of Jazz is more than just the name of a website. It’s a name with historic, musical and even social significance, all tied to one dedicated man and the superstar performer who was the focus of his entire career. Hear ‘whydat’ is important to our celebration of the music we call jazz.
Just in case you’d like to know something about the man behind the music, our first podcast (or Jazzcast as it’s known around here) is a handshake over the internet from Fred Masey. After you’ve heard this bit of history, nostalgia and tomfoolery, you’ll have a little better idea of just ‘whodat’ is!