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Final Chorus: Duke Ellington Moves Into Public School Systems

Nat Hentoff on Riding on Duke’s Train

Duke Ellington and the Cotton Club Orchestra, 1927
Duke Ellington and the Cotton Club Orchestra, 1927

A novel for young readers, Riding on Duke’s Train, has been adopted by the Bridgeport, Conn., public school system. And other cities’ school systems—New York, Boston, Los Angeles, et al.—have asked to see the galleys. I’ve had young adult novels published but have never seen such an immediate national response.

I first cited this novel and its author, Mick Carlon, in the June 2010 Final Chorus. I’d gotten to know this longtime teacher of English and journalism for the Barnstable (Mass.) Intermediate School. He often plays jazz recordings in class and introduces students to the lives of the musicians. It is, after all, a vital part of our culture.

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Originally Published
Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

Over more than 60 years, Nat Hentoff (1925-2017) wrote about music, politics, and many other subjects for a variety of publications, including DownBeat (which he edited from 1953 to 1957), the Village Voice (where he was a weekly columnist from 1958 to 2009), the Wall Street Journal, and JazzTimes, to which he regularly contributed the Final Chorus column from 1998 to 2012. Of the 32 books that he wrote, co-wrote, or edited, 10 focus on jazz. In 2004, Hentoff became the first recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Jazz Masters award for jazz advocacy.