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David Roussève: Halfway to Dawn, REDCAT, October 4, 2018 — Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington deserved his royal nickname. Throughout his fifty-year reign as America's premier composer/pianist/band leader and goodwill ambassador to the world, Ellington spoke and carried himself in a courtly, regal manner. He routinely used the "royal we" when acknowledging applause from his audiences--as in, "we love you madly"--and referred to himself, with amused and characteristic noblesse oblige, simply as "our pianist." He was charming and grandiose, elegant and hip. In truth, the princely Ellington's empire was actually quite small; it consisted of about fifteen loyal musicians, all with virtually lifetime jobs, and a retinue that … [Read more...]