Washington DC

Native Roots | The Duke's Washington

1 H. 10 MIN.2.90 KMEN
🎧 Audio tour


Duke is to Washington what Louis Armstrong is to New Orleans or what Charlie Parker is to Kansas City. The elegance and sophistication of Duke’s persona and musical genius was shaped and molded in Washington, DC, where the musician grew up influenced by the music of the early 20th century — ragtime, gospel and classical — before he began penning his own music compositions and forming his first dance bands while still in high school. In his early professional career years, he solidified his reputation as a solid composer and band leader along Washington, D.C.’s “lively” and “colorful” historic U Street entertainment district. It was a hot-bed for African American musical talent later known as “Black Broadway.” He performed in U Street’s stately theaters, after-hours nightclubs and its plentiful social halls on Saturday nights before moving to the Big Apple with his jazz orchestra in 1923.

In his fifty-year career, he gave American music its own sound for the first time through his famed recordings that influenced millions of people both at home and abroad, where he played over 20,000 performances in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East as well as Asia. Enjoy this mobile storytelling tour and self-directed journey, “Native Roots: The Duke’s Washington”, a rewarding African American experience and historical time capsule of early D.C. Ellingtonia for avid fans of American music and those that continue to celebrate his unparalleled talent, contributions and cultural legacy.

Audio tour developed by "Black Broadway on U: A Transmedia Project" and powered by IZI.travel

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Murray Casino
Murray Casino

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  • 1. Duke Residence: 420 Elm Street
  • 2. Duke & Edna Residence: 1355 3rd Street
  • 3. The Howard: Theater of the People
  • 4. Duke's Incubator: Frank Holliday's Poolroom
  • 5. Little Harlem: D.C.'s Modernistic Lounge
  • 6. The Poodle Dog Cafe
  • 7. Griffith Stadium
  • 8. Duke Ellington's Nightclub
  • 9. Murray Casino
  • 10. Bohemian Caverns
  • 11. True Reformer Hall
  • 12. Ben's Chili Bowl
  • 13. The Lincoln Theatre
  • 14. Ellington Residences: 1206 & 1212 T Street
  • 15. The Whitelaw Hotel (The Embassy)
  • 16. Ellington Residences: 1805 & 1816 13th Streets