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Even though Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington left his hometown when he was in his mid-20s, Washington knows full well that the legendary jazz bandleader and composer’s rich legacy began here. Look around the cityyou’ll see the Duke Ellington High School of Performing Arts, the Duke Ellington Bridge, and the huge Ellington mural that hovers over U Street. And nestled in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History’s Archives Center is a sizable Ellington collection that contains memorabilia from nearly every era of the maestro’s career. Now you can add poet Brian Gilmore’s loving meditations on Ellington, Jungle Nights, & Soda Fountain Rags, to the list. Drawing inspiration from Ellington’s life, from titles of Sir Duke-penned compositions, and from several musicians who performed under the late bandleader’s baton, the writer has made poetry that educates as much as it fascinates. Come listen to Gilmore’s “Rhapsody in Ellingtonia” at 7 p.m. at Vertigo Books, 7346 Baltimore Ave., College Park. Free. (301) 779-9300. (John Murph)