Capitol Hill Restoration Society

Overbeck Lecture: Duke Ellington’s Washington

Posted on September 9th, 2015

On Monday, September 21, at 7:30 p.m., the Overbeck History Project kicks off its new lecture season in a new venue – Hill Center’s Lincoln room – with an exploration of Duke Ellington’s Washington.Washington proudly hails Duke Ellington as a native son, but what was it about this city and its U Street neighborhood in the early twentieth century that produced and inspired the world’s greatest jazz composer?

John Edward Hasse, curator of American music at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, will present an illustrated tour of the saloons, soda fountains and other performance venues where the young Duke Ellington’s ears were tuned to a new kind of music.

Widely regarded as the nation’s leading Ellington authority, Hasse is the award-winning author of Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington and editor of the illustrated history Jazz: The First Century. He led the Smithsonian’s acquisition of the 200,000-page Duke Ellington archive, including virtually all of the composer’s unpublished music, along with countless other papers, recordings and artifacts from the early days of jazz.

This lecture will be the first event for the Overbeck series at Hill Center after thirteen years at the Naval Lodge a few blocks up Pennsylvania Avenue. The new relationship will streamline reservations and other event logistics and also provide lecture goers easier access from the Eastern Market Metro station.

Admission is free but a reservation is required. TO RESERVE SEATS, go to, or call 202-549-4172. DO NOT HIT “REPLY” TO THIS EMAIL if you’re simply reserving seats.

Copies of Hasse’s Beyond Category will be available for sale and signing at the end of the event. Hill Center is at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E.

The Overbeck Lectures are an initiative of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.