Twenty-five years ago in his hit song, "Sir Duke," Stevie Wonder sings: "Music knows it is and always will be one of the things that life just won't quit. / Here are some of music's basic pioneers that time will not allow us to forget: / There's Basie, Miller, Satchmo, and the King of All, Sir Duke! / And with a voice like Ella's ringing out, there's no way the band can lose! / You can feel it all over!" To say that Ellington was a prominent jazz-band leader of the twentieth century would be like saying William Shakespeare was simply a prominent English playwright of the time. This book begins with personal reflections as well as the life before going on to consider--through anecdote, musical scholarship, and personal interviews--Ellington's profound and direct influence on an amazing range of pop artists: Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Miles Davis (who, in the ultimate tribute, had himself interred next to The Duke in New York's Woodlawn Cemetery), Sun Ra, James Brown, Sly Stone, George Clinton, Prince, Frank Zappa, Charles Mingus, and Ravi Shankar.
"Inspired by the lyrics of Stevie Wonder's 1976 hit "Sir Duke," this work contains an interesting and controversial mix of material .presenting Ellington through the work of stylistically dissimilar musicians forces the reader to listen to Ellington with new ears." Library Journal "[A] total and contagious awe for one of jazz's greatest composers. Lavezzoli's interviews afford vivid behind-the-scenes details." Publishers Weekly "A labor of love."
JazzTimes "A labor of love."
--JazzTimes "Peter Lavezzoli has written a fine book about Duke Ellington, one that will find a home in many libraries and homes. The King of All, Sir Duke: Ellington and the Artistic Revolution reveals the wonder that was Duke Ellington. In addition to an excellent foreword, there is a section detailing Ellington, followed by selections concerning individuals touched in some way by Ellington. If you read only one jazz book this year, please make this the one you decide to read! A truly remarkable book. You can feel the man behind the legend, and you can fully comprehend what a great American talent and genius Duke Ellington was, and remains."