Tracker Pixel for Entry

​New Duke Ellington Mural Painted Near Site of Historic Recording

Arts | September 15th, 2021

By Alicia Underlee Nelson

alicia@hpr1.com

Downtown Fargo has a new mural that commemorates a music legend and a Grammy-winning concert. Artist Jeff Knight completed a painting of Duke Ellington on the alley side of the Rhombus Guys building at 606 Main Ave. this summer. The mural features the composer, pianist and band leader at his piano against an aqua background dotted with other musical instruments.

The painting is just steps from the site of the Crystal Ballroom, which stood at the corner of 6th St. and 1st Ave. S. The municipal auditorium’s second-floor dance hall hosted prominent jazz and big band musicians and well-attended dances until 1957. The show Ellington and his Famous Orchestra played in the Crystal Ballroom on November 7, 1940 might just be a memory if two former college DJs, Richard Burris and Jack Towers, hadn’t gotten permission to record it.

Towers later made a tape of the show for a friend. The bootleg circled Europe in the 1960s and 1970s before it was officially released in 1978. It won a Grammy Award in 1980.

“I was shocked that I had lived my whole life here and had not heard of that story,” said Knight. He wanted to create a mural to commemorate that particular moment in Fargo music history.

The mural is the first in the Fargo Music Icons Mural series. It’s funded in part by a grant from The Arts Partnership in Fargo.

“That's when I looped in friends Cody Schuler and Gia Rassier to help with establishing a springboard with which we could make these public murals accessible so more people could learn about their historical value,” he explained. “Cody developed a website (fargomurals.com) and Gia is helping with the mural's inclusion on a variety of experiential walking tours.”

Additional murals are planned in the coming months. Updates will be posted on the website as details are finalized.

“We're hoping to do some more murals in the future with a Fargo-Moorhead connection, including Bob Dylan, Peggy Lee, and Bobby Vee,” Knight explained. “We're just looking for the right spaces and a bit of funding to cover those future murals.”

Recently in:

By John Showalter  john.d.showalter@gmail.comEveryone knows that dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend.” It’s no mystery why. During…

By Olivia Slyteroslyter@cord.eduFalcon Gott, Sapotaweyak Cree Nation member and filmmaker/photographer, was recently named North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival Native American Programs Director, and has many projects in store…

Sons of Norway, Kringen Lodge #4-25, is a fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Norwegian culture.Sentrum på 722 2nd Ave N, FargoKringen Kafe er åpen for Kaffe og Bakverk mandag-fredag 9.00 til…

By John Strandjas@hpr1.comOur Opinion: The Little Newspaper That Could, still can.Like most everyone else we know, HPR is different these days. The pandemic changed our world in ways we never imagined. Yet here we are. And as you…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.comThe Spread of Luxury and Poverty in the Middle of a PandemicThe wealth gap between the top ten percent and bottom ninety percent has reached staggering proportions. In 1970 the wealthiest families…

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.com“If you had talked to me five years ago or even a year ago and told me I was gonna be a chef in Fargo I probably would have looked at you pretty funny. It's wild where food is taking me in…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comYou may recognize Owen Hanson, from seeing him play with any number of folk punk projects throughout the past few years, such as his solo project Owen Broke, Bottle Wound, or Mr. Meaner. His folk…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.comWith almost surgical precision, filmmakers Peter Middleton and James Spinney dissect the life and work of “The Real Charlie Chaplin,” a worthwhile addition to the many studies of one of the…

By Alicia Underlee Nelsonalicia@hpr1.comCreative Moorhead is injecting new life into Moorhead’s art scene and revitalizing its downtown spaces. Artistic or handy people with a connection to the city are encouraged to connect with…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comDrag shows, for me, feel like a celebration of artistry, esthetic, music, and camaraderie. With a dash of confetti thrown in.The local drag community is a close-knit family. Giving back to affiliated…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

By Theresa L. Goodrichsubmit@hpr1.comIt was day ten of our epic southwest road trip and we’d made it to Arizona. After camping in Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and New Mexico, we were exhausted, but fortunately our night in…

by Annie Prafckesubmit@hpr1.com17 June 2021On June 19th, from 12pm to 7pm, nonprofit Faith4Hope Scholarship Fund is hosting their first ever Juneteenth Freedom Celebration at Lindenwood Park in Fargo. It is free and open to the…