Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Duke Ellington,
Blackwing sombrero user

[Photograph by Stanley Dance, 1968.]

The Ellington orchestra toured Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico in 1968. The album Latin American Suite followed in 1972. It stands to reason [crosses fingers] that a sombrero must have inspired the music therein. My claim rests on this one photograph, which appears in Derek Jewell’s Duke: A Portrait of Duke Ellington (New York: W.W. Norton, 1977).

Thus far: one photograph of Duke Ellington wearing a sombrero, one photograph of Ellington playing a balalaika, and one photograph of Ellington writing with a Blackwing pencil. “The state of facts and evidence” does not support the conclusion that Ellington had any particular attachment to sombreros, balalaikas, or Blackwing pencils. A pencil manufacturer’s association of the Ellington name with its replica version of the Blackwing pencil is a matter of very wishful thinking. Some might call such marketing cynical and misleading.

Why do I care? The balalaika post explains.

March 29: I’m happy to report that Duke Ellington’s name no longer appears on the Blackwing Experience page. Thanks to Gunther and Sean for passing on the news.

Related posts
All Blackwing posts (via Pinboard)
All Duke Ellington posts (via Pinboard)

[“Facts are stubborn things, and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictums of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence”: John Adams, Blackwing quill user.]

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