Last night, I attended the second annual Sounds of Justice and Inclusion Concert at Duke, commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. This was a concert of historic proportions that included a tribute to Duke Ellington. Maestro William Curry gave an eloquent presentation to the audience about the making of the song, "Three Black Kings." He also told of meeting King while a student at Oberlin.
That sparked my own memory of meeting Duke Ellington in 1970 At Disneyland. It was their 25th anniversary and I was there around midnight. We heard music coming from a small pavilion and noticed people dancing. Walking closer, we could see Duke Ellington was directing. I shook his hand. I remember him being very tall and distinguished looking. What a night! Meeting Duke Ellington!
At last night's concert, Ellington's "Three Black Kings" was performed as the last song. William Curry introduced the piece, mentioning that this was Ellington's last piece and he wrote it in the hospital. The Durham Symphony played with John Brown and his "Little Big Band."