Remembering Duke Ellington's Sacred Music

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Duke Ellington at a concert in Boston on August 20, 1971. (AP Photo)
Duke Ellington at a concert in Boston on August 20, 1971. (AP Photo)

The Boston-born musician Randall Keith Horton says Duke Ellington changed the course of his life.

Perhaps one of the most defining titles Horton ever had was as Ellington's conductor and composing assistant in the final year of Ellington's life.

The conductor, composer and music scholar is back in town to conduct a special concert at Boston University, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The concert features music from the lesser-known "Sacred Concerts" of Duke Ellington.

Horton grew up in Roxbury and was raised, as he puts it, on a "steady diet of faith and music." And like many Boston musicians of that time, he sang doo-wop in high school and eventually found work as an orderly in a Boston Hospital.


Randall Keith Horton, conductor, composer and music scholar. Horton served as Duke Ellington's composing assistant.

This segment aired on January 16, 2017.


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