A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 19, 2016
“A problem is a chance for you to do your best”

"A problem is a chance for you to do your best” is a saying that has been credited (since at least 1984) to American composer and bandleader Duke Ellington (1899-1974). The attribution --- ten years after Ellington’s death—remains uncertain.


Wikipedia: Duke Ellington
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and bandleader of a jazz orchestra. He led his orchestra from 1923 until his death, his career spanning over 50 years.

Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward, and gained a national profile through his orchestra’s appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem. In the 1930s, his orchestra toured in Europe. Though widely considered to have been a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington embraced the phrase “beyond category” as a liberating principle, and referred to his music as part of the more general category of American Music, rather than to a musical genre such as jazz.

Google Books
The Reader’s Digest
Volume 125, Issues 747-752
1984
Pg. 35:
A PROBLEM is a chance for you to do your best. —Duke Ellington

6 January 1990, Aberdeen (SD) American News, pg. 2A, col. 6 ad:
Thoughts for the week:
A problem is a chance for you to do your best.
(Hayes Printing.—ed.)

Google Books
Speaking in Public:
The Process Approach

By David G. Burns
Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt
1991
Pg. 243:
As the great musician, Duke Ellington noted, “A problem is a chance for you to do your best.”

Google Books
And I Quote:
The Definitive Collection of Quotes, Sayings, and Jokes for the Contemporary Speechmaker

By Ashton Applewhite, William R. Evans III and Andrew Frothingham
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
1992
Pg. 59:
A problem is a chance for you to do your best. — Duke Ellington

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“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” - Duke Ellington
7:45 AM - 19 Mar 2016

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Saturday, March 19, 2016 • Permalink