Life lessons with Duke Ellington


This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the London Lindy Exchange. Standing in a ballroom of 400+ dancers I often think “I can’t believe this is how we spend our free time. How lucky are we?” Those moments where everyone hears the break coming and you watch the dance floor communally hit a particular beat or jump at the same time. It’s like for that split second we were all hearing the music in the same way. That feeling is magic. It is energy that is created by the band, enhanced by the dancers and lifts the spirits. Those are the moments where I feel the most connected and tapped in to the community. It also helps when the band is Gordon Webster and Friends. Gord’s joy playing for dancers is only matched by his ability to rally great musicians and produce music that inspires. What a gift!

My friend Sam posted this video of Duke Ellington explaining how to snap your fingers and it seemed like the right tone and pace for today, “You don’t push it, you just let it fall.” Words we could apply for many aspects of our lives and even in our dorky but beloved subculture, “one can become as cool as one wishes to be.” Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Life lessons with Duke Ellington

  1. This is cosmic. Five years ago, my friend and I staged a: “Jazzoetry Revival” for my 35th birthday. I asked the band to begin with this exact same tune: “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be”, and before reading the poem “JAZZOETRY”, I engaged the audience with this exact same bit from The Duke.

    Now, five years on and at a serious crossroads in my life with more than one choice of direction to take, it’s important for me to be reminded of a simple thought from a great composer; one that’s all about taking it easy. Cheers!

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