An evening with The Duke and his unforgettable music from the Cotton Club Era.

The Music of Duke Ellington


The Duke Ellington Orchestra opened as house band at The Cotton Club in 1927. The handsome young bandleader perfectly turned out in top hat and tails was about to make a name for himself at the hottest, classiest club in Harlem. Live radio broadcasts from the club fanned the flames of Ellington’s star power. Constantly faced with tight production deadlines, Duke Ellington wrote music fast and under great pressure. Even so, he developed a trademark style pleasing to his mobster bosses and dazzling the club’s upscale patrons. Ellington compositions written in the late 1920’s & early 1930’s and performed here by Russ Wilson And His Famous Orchestra, such as “Black and Tan Fantasy,” and “Creole Love Call,” remain exciting and compelling music today.

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