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JULY 20

There are a meager 137 listings under “Ellington, Duke” in the All Music Guide to Jazz—the first of which mentions without fanfare his Washingtonian roots. Call me dim, but after eight years of walking over the Duke Ellington Bridge and occasionally passing the high school bearing the same name it still hadn’t dawned on me that the nation’s capital was also the birthplace of arguably the nation’s most significant jazz composer. (Hey, lots of people who aren’t from here have stuff named after them in this most symbol-obsessed of cities.) Ellington penned an estimated 2,000 songs over the course of his 75 years and became an international cultural ambassador (which was my theory on how he got a bridge and a school named after him). Edward Kennedy Ellington dwelled here for the first two-and-a-half decades of his life—long enough to live/play/sleep/dine/etc. in quite a few still-existing structures (the family home at 1222 T St. NW is pictured). Travel writer Bill Hasson will present a citywide tour of Ellington’s homes and haunts. The tour is capped off with a reception featuring Ellington’s music and refreshments at the Heurich House Museum. At 10 a.m. at the Washington Historical Society, 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW. $45. For reservations call (202) 785-2068. (William Jelani Cobb)

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