Past Event

Duke’s Keys: The James P. Continuum

As the story goes, a young Edward Kennedy Ellington fell in love with jazz while listening to a family player piano perform James P. Johnson’s “Carolina Shout.”  He went on to teach himself the Harlem Stride tour-de-force by memorizing the motion of the keys as the roll passed through the complex machinery.  This experience was instrumental in inspiring “Duke” Ellington to form his first band and leave Washington DC for New York City.

For this special edition of our Duke’s Keys series, we invite three dynamic pianists to reflect on the relationship between James P. Johnson, Duke Ellington, and early 1900s music technology and share a salon performance on our Ellington Piano. Performances by Julius Rodriguez, Micah Thomas, and Sean Mason.

Curated by Julius Rodriguez