December 16, 2001
By dissing Duke Ellington, film music composer Michael Nyman revealed that he is profoundly ignorant of popular music history ("Composer of Contradictions," by Josef Woodard, Dec. 9). Nyman was quoted as saying he still likes the term "band," adding that "Duke Ellington called his band an orchestra. My title is sort of dumbing down a bit and his description was dumbing up, so to speak. He was trying to get a little more status, I'm going the other way." For Nyman's information, instrumental music organizations before, during and after the swing era, led by such names as Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Paul Whiteman and Woody Herman, were routinely listed on record labels and at venues as orchestras.
January 29, 1995
The California Afro-American Museum has opened a free multimedia exhibit chronicling the 55-year musical career of Duke Ellington. "Beyond Category: The Musical Genius of Duke Ellington" features a 5,000-square-foot exhibit of recorded music, photos, films, videos, interactive displays and manuscripts from the man many consider one of the country's greatest composers.
March 2, 1986
How could your copy desk overlook such claptrap as this assessment of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers by A. James Liska (I never did trust a man whose first name was A.) in his Feb. 22 review? ". . . a sextet whose cast of players has included more jazz greats than any other single unit in the history of time." Has A. never heard of Count Basie? Lionel Hampton? Woody Herman? Duke Ellington? Benny Goodman? That's just five. JACK TRACY Sherman Oaks