Music Monday: Duke Ellington and the Important Things

Why would one of America's most prolific and esteemed composers write sacred music when he had achieved such acclaim with songs like "Prelude to a Kiss," "Mood Indigo." and "Take the 'A' Train?" What took him so long to decide to write sacred music? 

Duke understood there would be questions about why he was "taking the Cotton Club to church," and so prior to one of his sacred concerts he held a press conference. He told the reporters that writing this music was the "most important thing I have ever done." 

He continued: "Now I can say openly what I've been saying on my knees for 60 years."