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December 17, 2012

TT: All dressed up

3485_10151390096837193_215378815_n.jpgI recently spent a few days in Los Angeles with Steven Lasker, the world's foremost collector of Ellingtonia, who probably knows more than anyone about Duke Ellington. (He definitely knows more than I do.) Not only did Steven allow me to browse freely in his amazing collection, but he made two priceless suggestions. He told me that Duke would be a better title for my biography than Mood Indigo, and he presented me with a little-known Ellington photograph that he thought would make an ideal cover image for the book.

It took me about fifteen seconds--maybe thirty--to decide that Steven was right on both counts. I then shot off an e-mail to Bill Shinker, my editor at Gotham Books, who replied instantly and in the affirmative, after which he turned his art director loose. Here are the results, straight off the platen (from whence cometh the strips at the top and bottom of the image--they're not part of the design). We still have a certain amount of tinkering to do, but you'll get the drift.

Few things in life are more exciting, not to mention inspiring, than getting your first look at a preliminary mockup of the front cover of your next book. Now all I have to do is finish writing the thing!

Posted December 17, 2012 12:00 AM

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