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The Old Circus Train Turn-Around Blues

Duke Ellington

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South of France, France, 1966


In the '60s, U.S. presidents were enamored with Duke Ellington – Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon awarding him the President's Gold Medal and the Medal of Freedom, respectively. The Medal of Freedom remains the highest award a civilian may receive. This recording was in the midst of that kind of domestic acclaim.

Add that to his 13 Grammys, his Pulitzer, and getting his face on a postal stamp in the '80s, and you'll understand why his description of his jazz music as simply “American music” was so apropos.

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