In 1933 Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra toured Britain for the first time. They appeared at the London Palladium and in regional theatres including Liverpool’s Empire Theatre.
When Ellington played the Palladium he was seen by a young Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of Atlantic Records, who was taken to the concert by his older brother. According to Ahmet, “For the first time I saw these beautiful black men wearing shining white tuxedos and these brass instruments gleaming. It was an incredible sight.”