In honor of the 119th birthday of the greatest American composer of the 20th Century Duke Ellington (yes you heard me right--who the hell would you nominate anyway?) I'll be posting various Duke clips all week. The above is from the 1930 Amos and Andy movie 'Check And Double Check' and features a young Duke with a superbly tight orchestra that had already climbed its way into jazz greatness. You'll note that the trumpet section at the end uses Derby hats as a device to make that sound which...oh, Christ, what do you call it when they put hats in front of the horn and move them back and forth? Anyway, the Derby's appear to be painted gold. According to film and jazz historian Ford Sester-Neff, this is because it was feared that the black Derby's would obscure the black faces of the musicians and make everything simply look...black. So, in an uncomfortably racist act, the hats were painted gold which led Bill Cosby to eventually insist that the scene be excised from all television prints of the film.

Do you believe what I just said?

You shouldn't. Every word of the last two sentences is a lie, including 'and', 'in' and 'the'.

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