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Duke Ellington

When president Richard Nixon presented Duke Ellington with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest honor that can be given to a civilian in our country, Nixon said "in the royalty of American music, no man swings more or stands higher than the Duke." For 50 years, Ellington toured the world with his band of virtuosos in order to play Ellington's ever-increasing body of masterpieces. Miles Davis said that every jazz musician should get down on his knees every day and thank god for Duke Ellington. No jazz player, composer or arranger has a complete education without knowing as much as the Maestro's work as possible.