Today and tomorrow, we will watch and listen to “On the Road with
Duke Ellington,” released in 2002. It’s a rare behind-the-scenes
portrait of the Duke, taken in 1967. As the title implies, he is shown
traveling and touring, alone and with his orchestra. In addition,
he is seen composing new works, performing, discussing music
and life in general. There is also film of a backstage conversation
between the Duke and Louis Armstrong! Rightfully, a portion of
the film is devoted to Billy Strayhorn, who died later that year.
When discussing Strayhorn’s death, Ellington is depicted in a
suitably mournful mood.
This is an invaluable peek into the life and mind of Duke Ellington.