Actor Morgan Freeman will play bandleader Duke Ellington in the upcoming film The Jazz Ambassadors, according to Variety.”
I’m a huge Ellington fan. I’ve been listening to him since I was a little kid. And I had a sax teacher in high school who gave me a mixed tape of some of the heaviest jazz on the planet. One of the tracks was Ellington and Frank Sinatra doing Indian Summer. I would listen to that tape over and over as I was going to sleep at night and during that point right between being awake and being asleep I would hear Johnny Hodges speak to me through his alto sax. There were actual words coming through his horn.
I’ve never forgotten how that felt and I’ve always made it a priority to make my playing speak. Just like Ellington’s band spoke to me in my dreams.