Fulton Avenue Fish Market

Fulton Street Fish Market - acrylic on canvas - 30" x 24"
Though the Fulton Fish Market today resides at Hunts Point in the Bronx, through most of its history it was housed in downtown Manhattan on the East River, near the Brooklyn Bridge and just steps from Wall Street.

Established in 1822, it has experienced four major fires, flooding and the September 11th terrorist attacks, and through it all the fish were always sold.

Sometime in the 1930s, the market succumbed to corruption, and for more than 50 years was subject to mafia meddling, racketeering and extortion. The mob carefully entered every stage of the process to extract and extort money.

Here’s how it worked: corrupt loading companies commandeered city-owned parking spaces would charge high rents to the trucks delivering fish (although the Market is on the East River, boats were never used for deliveries). Other “separate” unloading companies had to be paid to transfer the products out of the trucks nd into the market. No one was allowed to carry their own product from their own trucks. If a seafood delivery company did not properly pay or bribe the unloading companies, the workers at the unloading company would slow down purposely, causing fish to warm and deteriorate. The mob also sub-leased spaces at exorbitant rates, often to multiple vendors at one time.

In his role as a Manhattan Federal Prosecutor, Rudy Giuliani took the first step against the mob, declaring a racketeering suit against the center. Later, as mayor, he proposed a city takeover and shortly after, in 1995, the Market mysteriously burned nearly to the ground along with many of the records.

The Fulton Fish Market officially moved to Hunts Point in 2005 under stricter city oversight and complete refrigeration.

"Jammed!"

"Traffic Jam" (acrylic on canvas) - 24" x 36"
The increased use of private automobiles greatly affected all transportation projects built more or less after 1930. In 1927, the Holland Tunnel, built under the Hudson River, was the first mechanically ventilated vehicular tunnel in the world. The Lincoln and Holland tunnels were built instead of bridges to allow free passage of large passenger and cargo ships in the port, which were still critical for New York City's industry through the early- to mid-20th century. Other 20th-century bridges and tunnels crossed the East River, and the George Washington Bridge was higher up the Hudson.

A catalyst for expressways and suburbs, but a nemesis for environmentalists and politicians alike, Robert Moses was a critical figure in reshaping the very surface of New York, adapting it to the changed methods of transportation after 1930. Beyond designing a series of limited-access parkways in four boroughs, which were originally designed to connect New York City to its more rural suburbs, Moses also conceived and established numerous public institutions, large-scale parks, and more. With one exception, Moses had conceptualized and planned every single highway, parkway, expressway, tunnel or other major road in and around New York City; that exception being the East River Drive. All 416 miles of parkway were also designed by Moses. Between 1931 and 1968, seven bridges were built between Manhattan and the surrounding land, including the Triborough Bridge, and the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connecting Brooklyn and Staten Island, was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1964.

In addition, Moses was critical in designing several tunnels around the city; these included the Queens Midtown Tunnel, which was the largest non-Federal project in 1940, and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel in 1950.

The Sheep Meadow

"The Sheep Meadow" - acrylic on canvas - 16" x 20"
The Sheep Meadow was created in an area of Central Park originally intended for Military Displays. After the area was created , Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, the designers of Central Park, decided that a flock of sheep would enhance the "romantic English quality" of the park. 200 sheep were introduced in 1864 and were housed in a a fanciful Victorian building or "Sheepfold" created by Jacob Wrey Mould. The animals served a practical purpose as well: they trimmed the grass and fertilized the lawn. A sheep crossing was built across Central Drive in 1870, and twice a day a shepherd drove the animals from their home (later becoming "The Tavern on the Green") to the meadow and back again.

Sheep grazed the meadows until 1934, when the city's park commission moved them to the Catskills. There was fear for the safety of the sheep, in that there were concerns that many out-of-work men and women who had moved into a "Hoovertown" in Central Park would turn the sheep into lunch or dinner.

In recent times, the Sheep Meadow has held many upscale events of unprecedented scale. In the '60s, Vietnam Protests were held there along with hippie "love ins". Barbra Streisand performed in front of 136,000 people in 1967. Disney premiered the animated film Pocahontas there in 2008. And annually, New Yorkers gather in the "Meadow" for the July 4th Fireworks.

Cab Calloway - The Hi De Ho Man


"Cab Calloway" (acrylic on canvas) 20" x 16"
Cab Calloway was only 24 years old when he recorded his most famous song, Minnie the Moocher, for which he received nickname, “The Hi De Ho Man," from the words in the chorus of the song. In the 1930s he lent his voice and his dance steps to Betty Boop animated shorts as well as to The Old Man and the Mountain and Snow White. He also performed in many films of the era including a series of “shorts”, for Paramount. In one such film, Calloway can be seen performing a gliding back step, called "the Buzz," which was the precursor to Michael Jackson’s “moonwalk.”
Calloway had a long and illustrious career beginning with his tenure as a band leader at the Cotton Club alongside the “Duke Ellington and his Band.”  He made his film debut with All Jolson in the first “talkie,” The Jazz Singer, and appeared with Lena Horne in Stormy Weather, a breakout film featuring an all black cast. Calloway even wrote a humorous gossip column in the 1940s called “Coastin’ with Cab” for Song Hits Magazine, performed on-stage in Gershwin’s classic, Porgy and Bess in 1952; and had the notable role of “Yeller” in the 1962 Steve McQueen hit, The Cincinatti Kid.
In the 1960s he played opposite Pearl Bailey in”Hello Dolly,” performed “Minnie the Moocher” in the first “Blue Brother’s” movie in the '70s and was the focus for a Janet Jackson music video “Alright” in 1990.
In 1994, the Cab Calloway School of the Arts was dedicated in Wilmington, Delaware just prior to his death.

The Manhattan Harbor of the 1930s

“New York Harbor in the 1930s” by George H. Rothacker, 2014
acrylic on canvas - 30" x 40"
New York Harbor, located at the mouth of the Hudson River where it empties into New York Bay, is one of the largest natural harbors in the world.

As early as the 16th century, the aboriginal Lenape used the waterways for fishing and travel. In 1648 construction of the first wharf was completed on the Manhattan bank of the lower East River, helping to establish New York City as the leading port for the British colonies.

“Watuppa” by George H. Rothacker, 2013
acrylic on canvas - 16" x 20"
(Click image for larger view)
Along with the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge, the tugboat is one of the symbols of New York. Once all steam powered, the little tugs work quietly in the harbor sheperding ships into port. Between 1900 to 1950 vessels moved millions of tons of freight, immigrants, millionaires, and GIs  serving in wars, guided by the tugs that worked beside them assisting with their berthing.

At the entrance  to the harbor stands Lady Liberty, a gift to the United States from the people of France. Designed by Frederic August Bartholdi, the statue represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom.

“Flags of Freedom” by George H. Rothacker, 2013
acrylic on canvas - 20" x 16"
(Click image for larger view)
The statue and the land where it stood was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901 and then by the Department of War until the early 1930s. Prior to that time, Bedloe Island, as the island was then known, along with Ellis Island and Governor’s Island were chosen as defense fortifications protecting New York.

In the 1930s, buildings comprising the military fortification, Fort Hood, still provided sanctuary for military families, who lived in the shadow of the glorious Lady Liberty, until the National Park Service took over completely in 1937 , and converted the park for tourism.
Today, the harbor remains a vital part of the New York panorama and is  serviced by several cruise lines, commuter ferries and tourist excursion boats. The Port of New York and New Jersey remains the largest oil importing port and third largest container port in the nation.

Kiki Roberts


“Kiki” by George H. Rothacker, 2013
acrylic on canvas - 24" x 16"
(Click image for larger view)
Though women have played secondary roles in crime throughout history, their reputation within the mob world grew to legendary proportions in the 1920s and 30s as their fates intertwined with those of gangsters and mafia men.

Margaret Kelly “stood by her man” when arrested for a dance hall holdup and murder in New York in 1932, and 17 year-old Nancy Serville was charged in 1936 for being the lookout for a gang in Queens.  Marie Baker… Margaret Kane….Lottie Coll…. and Jean Hanover were all taken in by the charms of mob men, but no mob affair was more notorious than that of Jack “Legs” Diamond and Marion “Kiki” Roberts.

Legs Diamond began a life of crime in the 1920s, bootlegging, trafficking drugs and raqueteering. By 1931, he was the most notorious gangster in New York City.

Roberts was a beautiful showgirl who had performed for several years with the Ziegfeld Follies. Legs, a married man,  was captivated with Kiki’s looks, figure and attitude. Kiki found Legs charming and dangerous. So dangerous , in fact, that she was with him during an attempt on his life in 1930, and the night of his murder in an Albany Hotel in December of 1931.

After Legs Diamond’s death, Kiki went to Hollywood with aspirations to become a film star. But her past caught up with her, and she was found too “shady,” by the film censorship czar Will Hayes, to appear in movies. She moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania, for a short returning to the stage by trading on her fame as the “sweetheart of a notorious gunman.”  She eventually faded into obscurity.

Blood Over Manhattan - in tribute to Beatrice Abbott

"Blood Over Manhattan" by George H. Rothacker
acrylic on canvas - 24" x 30"

Of all the magazines published in New York in the 1930s, Vanity Fair was perhaps the most elite. Acquired in 1930 by publishing magnate Conde Naste, Vanity Fair catered to an “upper crust, avant-garde readership” and contained essays and commentaries by top writers of the day including P.G. Wodehouse and T.S. Elliott, theatre criticisms by Dorothy Parker and photographs by Edward Steichen.

Though articles on sports, politics and people were featured, the magazine focused primarily on the arts mixed in with a dose of satire and wit. As the effects from the depression spread across the populace, politics seemed to gain more visibility in the magazine, particularly on the magazine’s covers.

In the October 1931 edition, president Herbert Hoover became the first political figure “covered” on Vanity Fair. He was followed by Mahatma Ghandi in November, Britain’s prime minister Ramsey MacDonald in January 1932, New York Mayor Jimmy Walker in April of ’32 and Treasury Secretary Andrew Melon in May. Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler graced 1932’s October and November covers.

Caricature of NY Governor
Franklin D. Roosevelt
on the September
1932 cover of
‘Vanity Fair’, by Mexican
artist Miguel Covarrubias
Three years into the depression and America was looking for a hero, and so was Vanity Fair. The hero was found in New York Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt who was nominated as its presidential candidate at the 1932 Democratic Convention. By September, a caricature of a smiling Roosevelt by Mexican American artist Miguel Covarrubias would be the first of a dozen covers featuring FDR, his programs or the situation in Washington and the Nation.

Roosevelt won the 1932 election by a landslide, but the depression would continue throughout the decade with little economic relief . Lack of advertising revenue and changing times forced Conde Naste to fold the magazine into its sister publication, Vogue in 1936.

In 1983 Vanity Fair was reborn, once again blending art, politics, humor and satire to good effect. The covers however would never again be marked by the creativity, power and distinctiveness of those of the 1930s.

“Blood Over Manhattan,” George Rothacker’s painting of the newsstand built and operated by James Stratakos at the southwest corner of 32nd and Third Avenue, is in tribute to photographer Beatrice Abbott who recorded the scene in 1935. More than 200 magazines were sold at this location including Colliers, Photoplay, Modern Screen, Spectacular Detective, Redbook, Horse & Jockey and BallyHoo, as well as multitude of newspapers and tabloids.

Cynthia the Mannequin

"Cynthia the Mannequin" by George H. Rothacker
  acrylic on canvas - 24" x 40"
There are many versions in the stories told of soap carver Lester Gaba and the mannequin, Cynthia, he created in the in 1930s.

The story closest to the truth seems to be this one:

Lester Gaba was an up-and-coming “soap carver” from Hannibal Missouri who had been creating miniature sculptures for Proctor & Gamble and the du Ponts. At a cocktail party in Chicago, he met a Miss Mary Lewis, who was the Vice President of Best’s Department Stores. She had read an article he had written about the “lack of style” of the window dressing business and was asked if he would design some mannequins for the Best windows.

He was surprised at the request, because all he had done previously were small carvings from soap, but he accepted the assignment. Miss Lewis said, “…if you can get the quality into life-size figures that you do in soap, they would be wonderful. If you design them, I’ll buy them.”

He set off to New York to create “Gaba Girls, life size, realistic  soap carvings modeled after well-know New York  debutantes and socialites. They soon became the talk of the town.

Lester Gaba and Cynthia
Gaba apparently transitioned to creating plaster of paris  mannequins, which greatly reduced the weight of the average figures from 200 lbs to 25 lbs.One such creation was, “Cynthia, ”named for the model, the wife of a famous industrialist,  who was depicted sitting causally, motionless, with an elbow on her knees and a cigarette in her hand. Life Magazine hired Alfred Eisenstaedt to photograph her, and thus set in motion a set of events that made “Cynthia” the “Madonna” of her day.

 “Cynthia” took on many poses and soon became more famous and sought after than her creator; Cartier and Tiffany sent her jewelry to wear, Lily Dache designed hats for her, and couturiers sent her their latest fashions. She was accompanied Gaba to the Stork Club, was invited to all of the top parties and events including the Duke of Windsor’s wedding, and was given her own box seat at the Metropolitan Opera. Cynthia received a credit card from Sax, had her own successful column and radio show, and appeared in the Hollywood film with Jack Benny, “Artists and Models Abroad.”

Though she shattered into a thousand pieces when she slipped from a chair in a beauty salon, she was rebuilt to continue her reign until 1942 when Lester Gaba was inducted into the army. After the war, styles had changed and Cythia became out of fashion, but Gaba continued to expand his fame and his offerings, becoming a columnist for Women’s Wear Daily, a teacher for LIM college and noted academic on Visual Merchandising.

Cynthia has been missing since 1952.

Lucky Luciano

Lucky Luciano - acrylic on canvas  - 24" x 40"
If there ever was a “genius” at crime, it was found in Salvatore Lucania, better known as “Lucky” Luciano.

Born in Sicily, Italy in 1897, Salvatore came to the U.S. with his family in 1906. He struggled in school, finally dropping out. But before he left, Salvatore had already started his own racket: selling protection to classmates with the threat of giving them a beating if they didn’t pay.

He made lifetime friends and partners in crime Meyer Lansky and Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel during his teenage years, and served six months in a reformatory for selling heroin at the age of 19. Throughout the 1920s, Luciano was one of the “Big Six” in New York who made large amounts of money bootlegging throughout the  prohibition era.

In 1929, Salvatore became “Lucky” when he survived a savage beating and stabbing ordered by crime boss Guiseppi Masseria. Not to let bygones be bygones, Lucky got even in 1931 when he helped arrange Masseria’s grisly murder, soon taking over  the “boss’s” spot as one of the top leaders of one of New York City’s five families.

During the early 1930s Luciano demonstrated his talents, focusing on improved ways for criminal gangs to do business. His objective was create a national organized crime network to quell conflicts and manage disputes between different operations.

Lucky enjoyed the high life with lots of cash, living quarters at the Waldorf Astoria Towers, hand made suits and chauffer-driven cars until his “luck” ran out when special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewy was appointed to look into organized crime. In 1936, Luciano and eight members of his vice racket were brought to trial, convicted on extortion and prostitution charges, and sentenced to 30 to 50 years in jail.

With the help of his friends on the outside, Lucky didn’t exactly languish in prison. He ate well, had his clothes professionally cleaned, ran his business, and awaited any chance for release that he could find.

In 1942, the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence was concerned about German and Italian agents entering the United States through the New York waterfront. They also worried about sabotage of ships and warehouses on the docks. Knowing that the Cosa Nostra controlled the waterfront, the Navy contacted Meyer Lansky about a deal with Luciano. To facilitate negotiations, the State of New York transferred Luciano from Clinton prison to Great Meadow Correctional Facility, a minimum security prison, which was also much closer to New York City.

It was claimed that Luciano promised the complete assistance of his organization in providing intelligence to the Navy and helped protect the docks through his relationship with ally Albert Anastasia who controlled the New York waterfront. Though in later years, Lucky denied that he provided help to the Navy, he was released from prison under the condition that he return to Italy and never enter the United States again.

In October, 1946, Luciano secretly moved to Cuba to be closer to the U.S. so he could resume control over the American Cosa Nostra, but was expelled from Havana early in 1947 returning to Naples where he remained for the rest of his life.

Though a murderer and a known heroin smuggler, Luciano was loved by the many and respected for being a gentleman who helped those in need. 300 people attended his funeral in Naples and his body was returned to New York for burial in St. John’s Cemetary in Queens where 2000 Americans mourned his passing.

New York Boogie-Woogie

"New York Boogie-Woogie" (acrylic on canvas) 38" x 32"
Boogie-woogie originated as an African American style of piano-based blues as early as the 1870s. It is characterized by a regular bass figure in the left hand and is transposed according to chord changes.
 




Over time, the style was extended from piano to three pianos at once, guitar, big band, country and even gospel.

In 1938 and 1939, concerts produced by John Hammond in Carnegie Hall brought Boogie-woogie into the limelight. Concerts featured Big Joe Turner and Pete Johnson and included "Roll 'Em Pete," which is now considered an early "rock and roll" song.

After the Carnegie Hall concerts, swing bands began incorporating the boogie-woogie beat into their music. Tommy Dorsey's band even had a hit in 1938 with an updated version of "Pine Top's Boogie Woogie."

Boogie-woogie came to the forefront in the visual arts with Piet Mondrian's  unfinished painting, "Victory Boogie Woogies" which has been in the collection of the Germeentemuseum in The Hague since 1998, having been purchased from a private collector for 35 million euros.

George Rothacker's painting "New York Boogie Woogie" is in tribute to both Mondrian and the musicians who created an art form that got America "swingin'."

Buddy on Broadway


Buddy on Broadway (acrylic on canvas) 32" x 32"
Before he was Jedd Clampett or Barnaby Jones, Buddy Ebsen was a singer and a dancer. He and his sister learned to dance at a studio his father operated in  Orlando Florida.
At the age of twenty, Buddy and his sister Vilma left Florida for New York. He worked a soda fountain and the siblings also performed a dance act in supper clubs and in vaudeville…and became known as the “Baby Astaires.”
During the early 30s, the Ebsens appeared on Broadway as members of the chorus in “Whoopee, “ “Flying Colors” and the “Ziegfield Follies of 1934.” A performance in Atlantic City earned the duo rave reviews from columnist Walter Winchell and a booking at the Palace Theatre in New York City.
Their success earned Ebsen and Vilma a two year contract with MGM and they relocated to Hollywood where they made their film debut in the “Broadway Melody of 1936.” Vilma left Hollywood, but Buddy went on to perform with Shirley Temple in “Captain January” and Judy Garland  in the “Broadway Melody of 1938,” as well as many other films.
Ebsen was originally cast as the scare crow in “The Wizard of Oz,” but swapped roles with Ray Bolger who was cast as the Tin Man. A reaction to the metallic makeup used on his face made him extremely ill and hospitalized, so Buddy was replaced by Jack Haley and never appeared in the movie, though his voice his heard on reprises of the song, “We’re Off It See the Wizard.”
Audiences today best remember Buddy Ebsen as Davy Crockett’s devoted partner at the Alamo, the mountaineer in the Beverly Hillbillies, and the aged detective Barnaby Jones. Few remember him as the jilted husband in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or for his many other TV roles. Ebsen passed away in 2003 at the age of 95, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling

Joe Louis (acrylic on canvas) 48" x 48"

Joe Louis had a reputation rare to most fighters. He was viewed as a modest, hardworking and clean living person, who followed the rules of the game…as well as the rules for a black man in the game at his time in history.
The American “white press” promoted him a positively as possible for the times, nicknaming him: the “Mahogany Mauler,” “Chocolate Chopper,” “Coffee-Colored KO King” and “The Brown Bomber.” Louis was considered a “defender” of the people by much of the international community when he defeated the Italian heavyweight, Prima Carnero, in 1935, an act that symbolized a defeat for the Mussolini regime.

As number one contender for the heavy weight title, Louis was matched within the former heavy weight champion Max Schmeling in 1936, but received his first professional loss when he received a knockout at the hands of the German in round 12.

Schmeling expected  that after his victory against Louis, he would get a title shot against James Braddock, “The Cinderella Man” who had recently won the title away from Max Baer. But Louis’ Manager Mike Jacobs had already struck up a deal with Braddock’s manager for a fight between the Brown Bomber and the heavyweight champion, a deal that left Schmeling without a chance at the title.

On the night of June 22, 1937, after a Round 1 knockdown by Braddock, Louis inflicted constant punishment on the champion that resulted in a knockout by Louis in the eighth round when the referee called the fight.

Despite being awarded the championship, Louis never felt vindicated by the loss against Schmeling in ’36. He held on to the title against three opponents in ’37 and was finally matched with the German in what would become one of the most famous boxing matches of all time.

A few weeks before the battle, President Franklin Roosevelt told Louis that the country needed “muscles like yours to beat Germany.” The Nazis who had toted the victory by Schmeling over Louis in ’36 as proof of Aryan superiority were assured that the “prize money” won by their fighter would be used to build tanks in Germany. Though Schmeling was publicized by the Nazis, the fighter didn’t stand behind them politically and never became a party member.

The two fighters met for their rematch on June 22, 1938 in Yankee Stadium. The fight lasted two minutes and 4 seconds. Schmeling was knocked down three times after which the referee stopped the fight and his trainer threw in the towel.

Louis continued to fight into the 1940s, and after a series of insignificant battles, participated in another of the greatest heavyweights bouts of all time against Billy Conn. But Louis’ fame was to far outlast is career as a fighter.  Louis held great respect and popularity around the world and participated in in many charitable fights. He enlisted as a Private in the Army in 1942, and becoming a spokesman for this country against the Nazis. Never before had white Americans embraced a “black man” as their representative in the world.

Because of his largess and his innocence about money, Louis endured IRS problems till the end of his life. He died virtually penniless in 1981, with his funeral paid for by his long time friend and former competitor Max Schmeling.

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Father Divine in Harlem


Father Divine in Harlem (acrylic on canvas) 30" x 48"
He looked out for himself
That son of freed slaves
That no name particle of life
Who called himself Divine!
From gardener to preacher
With flowing words
Borrowed from Filmore
And made his own.
He conned blacks and whites alike
From Baltimore, to Brooklyn to Sayville New York and into Harlem
He took money for his efforts
And forbade sex among his followers
Even the married ones
When all were penniless, he thrived
Opening hotels and restaurants and clothing shops
And Worldwide branches of a Peace Movement conjured up
A capitalist and a communist,
A charlatan and a priest.
A fraud and a prophet

Arrested and acquitted
Again and again
He fled from New York
All the while
Preying on the poor and gullible.
Committing crimes of man
Under the word of God
Divine!



The Duke Ellington Orchestra


 
The Duke Ellington Orchestra (acrylic on canvas) 24 x 36"

Composer and pianist Percy Grainger said of Duke Ellington, “The three greatest composers who ever lived are Bach, Delius and Duke Ellington. Unfortunately Bachj is dead, Delius very ill, but we are happy to have with us today, The Duke.”

Duke Ellington was much more than a composer; he was a phenomenon. The grandson of a former American slave, Edward Kennedy Ellington was born in 1899 and began taking piano lessons at the age of nine. His mother, Daisy, surrounded her son with dignified women which refined his manners, taught him to live elegantly, and gave him the bearing of a young nobleman.

In his early years, he was more interested in baseball than in the piano, and wrote his first composition, “Soda Fountain Rag,” by ear, since he had not yet learned to read music. By the age of 16 he began playing gigs in caf├ęs and clubs in the Washington DC area while attending Armstrong Manual Training School.

Ellington thought of his music as “American Music” rather than “jazz.” He and his group became the “house band” of the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York in 1928, performing all of the music for the revues, which mixed comedy, dance numbers, vaudeville, burlesque, music, and illegal alcohol.

His popularity continued to grow during the 1930s with many of his greatest hits being written and performed at the Cotton Club before an all “white” audience. Ellington wrote many “standards” including: Sophisticated Lady; In a Sentimental Mood; and Prelude to Kiss. He also composed many songs in collaboration with pianist and arranger Billy Strayhorne, including “Lush Life”; “Satin Doll” and “Take the A Train.”

The music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorne is beyond genre, and lives on in performances of their songs by many of today’s most popular singers, jazz groups and orchestras. Duke remained extremely, active in his later years, and created and performed his “Sacred Concerts” series between 1968 and his death in 1973.

He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1965, but turned it down, saying” Fate is being kind to me. Fate doesn’t want me to be famous too young.” Ellington later received a posthumous Pulitzer for his life-long body of work.

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