I appreciated Ellington's long career being put in a historical context. The watershed compositions were critically discussed. His relationships with his managers, sidemen, and various recording companies were of interest. His dealing with women and family gave a revealing look into the man, not just the composer/performer.
If you liked the author's autobiography of Louis Armstrong, "Pops", you'll enjoy this latest effort.
Wonderful reading. While not exactly imitating Ellington's voice, the reader does a marvelous job of conveying the Duke's self-promoting erudite air of slickness and urbanity. You get the feeling that you're actually hearing Ellington speak.
The length precluded listening to it one sitting, but I've already listened to it twice.
I confess to being a huge Terry Teachout fan. When I receive my monthly issue of "Commentary" magazine, his column is always the first thing I read.
Somewhere in the middle.
Henson himself. It was instructive to read how someone with an almost childlike optimism could not only function, but thrive amidst the corporate sharks.
Kirby Heyborne's narration is flawless. With a few exceptions he avoids any attempts at outright impersonations of the story's principle characters. His changes in inflection and accents are just enough to convey a particular personality.
1 or 2 hours a day was sufficient.
Making use of YouTube while listening to this book added greatly to its enjoyment. The early efforts, e.g., the Wilkin's Coffee comercials are there, as well as representative samples of all the television and film work over Henson's career. At the end of the book I was please to find that much of the moving NYC Memorial Service was also available for viewing on YouTube. That brought the entire listening experience to a satisfying, and emotional, conclusion.
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