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.