Today marks the Lunar New Year, the start of Black History Month, and to coincide with both (I’ll explain that in a second), we have a PSA from Harmony Holiday: 2022 is the year of Duke Ellington:
I’ve declared 2022 The Year of Duke Ellington, Duke’s Year for short. On a linguistic level, the title honors its cavalcade of twos— duality, dueting, dueling, Duke Ellington. On an energetic level, the fantasy and romance that allow Ellington to sound chivalrous but not frivolous, and to inflect the grand with just enough of the solemn to shape our black and tan habitat into an autonomous ecosystem in which we can swing gleefully or lean dapper and severe into praise, refusing to get effusive—such are the versailities and romances this year demands.
The Year of Duke Ellington is whimsical and sincere without being trite or corny, amorous without turning limp and doe-eyed in the face of its clear desires, open-hearted but not gullible, and intolerant of dialects that oversimplify our range of motion and emotion and narrow our best ideas into brands.
As for why I’m linking Lunar New Year with Duke Ellington? 2022 is also the year of the Tiger. Stream Duke’s Tiger Rag below and happy celebrations!