Over last weekend, both the Guardian and the Independent published reviews of the newly released paperback edition of Duke Ellington’s America (University of Chicago Press) by CMCI’s own Dr. Harvey G. Cohen. For a look at the front and back cover of the book, click on the graphic attached to this post.
Guardian reviewer John Dugdale probably defined the book’s genre better than any previous critic so far: “Neither musical analysis nor full-blown biography, this impressive book is perhaps best described as cultural history with a biographical focus.”
The Independent termed Duke Ellington’s America an “exemplary study”. But just to set the record straight, the interview that begins the book took place in 1964, not in 1974, as the review stated, which was the year that Ellington died. And, contrary to what the Indie reviewer reported, the landmark album Money Jungle was indeed mentioned in the book on pages 344 and 346, with some description that demonstrated how it represented a prime example of Ellington’s tendency to “fight nostalgia” during the 1960s and 1970s.
Cohen is currently on sabbatical writing his next book, an examination of the historic and artistic importance of the Warner Bros. Great Depression musicals of the 1930s, particularly the delightful and significant Footlight Parade (1933), the first musical role for Jimmy Cagney.