Duke’s visit to Château de Goutelas in February 1966 must have been one of the most important events in his life. He experienced things that did not talk so much to his brain as to his heart and he talks warmly and at length about his visit in Music Is My Mistress.
The visit was the result of a chance meeting between two extraordinary personalities with strong commitments to contribute to a better world – Duke Ellington and the French lawyer and political activist Paul Bouchet, who had a strong philosophy of life and work.
In his book Mes sept utopies, Bouchet summarises it in this way: “I think that the ideas incarnate only when they are born out of people working together. This never happens quickly, one night, during a conference, then nothing. People must act together.” And he got Ellington to act together with farmers, macons, university teachers and students, artists etc to contribute to the restoration of the castle.
In 1966, I wrote an article for the DESS website about and it is available at https://ellingtongalaxy.org/2021/02/25/ellington-at-chateau-goutelas-1966/ for those who are interested to learn more about the visit.
In my article I mention that in 2012 the French filmmaker Laurent Lukic started to make a film about the restoration and Ellington’s visit to Goutelas. He researched film archives and made many interviews for it. Many of the people he interviewed had met Ellington in Goutelas and they had very vivid memories of the visit and its impact.
In 2016, Lukic organised a private showing in Paris of an one hour and 13 minute version of the film. Unfortunately, for copyright reasons, the film could not be available for public viewing at that time.
So it was a nice surprise when I discovered that a showing of the film and presentation by Lukic was included in the program of the Ellington 2023 conference in Paris.
It is a long film and the focus is really the restoration of the castle but Ellington’s visit get good coverage as well.
Even better is that La Maison du Duke has put the film on its website and also on Youtube. Thank you to Laurent and his team for doing this.
Here is the film. Sit back, enjoy and reflect!