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DUKE ELLINGTON: REMINISCING IN TEMPO

USA, 1992 (MIFF 1993, Documentaries)

Director: Robert S. Levi

Duke Ellington: Reminiscing in Tempo is a portrait of a man who, for over fifty years, led a dance band around the world and created a lasting body of music. A chronicle of social change, the film examines Ellington's subtle role in fighting segregation in U.S. society and challenging the reign of prejudice.

During the course of an interview with the great American composer he is asked for an answer to that intriguing old conundrum "Where did you get your ideas from?" The Duke answers mischievously "The ideas? Man, I got a million dreams. All I do is dream all the time!"

From his first recording of Black and Tan Fantasy in 1927 to his death in 1974, Duke Ellington's dreams realised over 1,500 compositions and inspired him to lead his celebrated band more or less continously for nearly 50 years. Ellington refused to be hindered or categorised by the relentless racial and musical stereotyping that affected his contemporaries and this moving film tells the story of an exuberant, idiosyncratic and much-loved personality.

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