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Duke Ellington: His Life In Jazz    by Stephanie Stein Crease order for
Duke Ellington
by Stephanie Stein Crease
Order:  USA  Can
Chicago Review Press, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Michelle York

Jazz music is a bit wild and that's the inextricable beauty of it. Duke Ellington's life was a bit like that too.

In a new book, Duke Ellington: His Life In Jazz, readers learn about the unpredictable and fascinating history of one of America's best musicians. The book, written by Stephanie Stein Crease, also contains twenty-one activities, so young readers can do everything from design an album cover to build an autoharp.

Ellington grew up with one thing on his mind baseball. But when his mother decided the sport was too dangerous, he started learning how to play the piano instead.

By the time he was a teenager, he had so many late-night gigs that he kept missing his high-school classes. He left school three months before graduation so he could pursue his musical career a high-stakes gamble that paid off. On Dec. 4, 1927, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra debuted at the Cotton Club, the venue that would lead him to super stardom and cement his place in American history.

Stein Crease is not so much a storyteller as she is a historian. The book is well researched; however it may not draw in readers who are not already interested in the topic matter. But the activities, historical photographs and sheer drama behind Ellington's life will not leave those readers disappointed.

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