I think, it *is* the Duke whose characteristic profile can be spotted in this silent film from 1925, posted by jazz blogger colleague Doug Ramsey.

I took two screenshots and enhanced them a little bit:



As the timeline on Ellington Web says, short after he’d moved to New York, Ellington played several revues (among them “Dixie Girl”) with “Elmer Snowden’s Washingtonians Black Dots Orchestra” at the Exclusive Club, then at the Hollywood Club (later Kentucky Club) where the film was shot.

The short night club scene belongs to the feature film Headlines (1925).

Here’s the earliest film with sound, exclusively featuring Duke Ellington: Black And Tan (1929). The main soloist is Duke’s man for the lyrical, sometimes Bix-Beiderbecke-inspired trumpet sounds, Mr. Arthur Whetsol.

The featured compositions are “Black And Tan Fantasy”, “Black Beauty” & “Cotton Club Stomp”:


Here is a longer version with lower fidelity, though:

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