Duke Ellington was the undisputed father of the American songbook.
A prolific writer and consummate performer, Ellington was the author of such standards as Solitude, Prelude to a Kiss, and It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got that Swing).
With a career that spanned five decades, he is one of the defining composers of the Jazz Age.
With unprecedented access to the Ellington family archives, this long overdue book illuminates the life and work of an icon of twentieth-century music from his humble beginnings to his long-lasting success.
Every stage of Ellington's career is brought to life, from sepia photographs of his early days in Washington, DC, to colorful playbills from the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, his triumphant tours of Europe in the 1930s, and his pioneering explosion of form and genre in the 1940s and beyond.
Alongside more than two hundred stunning images, contributions from peers such as Dave Brubeck, Cornel West, Quincy Jones, and Tony Bennett shed light on Ellington's musical legacy, while the voice of his granddaughter Mercedes reveals the character behind the charisma, and the man behind the piano.