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Duke Ellington

Edward Kennedy Ellington

Composer, Bandleader, Pianist

(1899 - 1974)

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Big Bands Database


Ellington's Washington at pbs.org
Tribute at museum.media.org


Films at imdb.com
Additional links at wnur.org
Additional links at infoplease.com
Additional links at bbc.co.uk
Ellington Circle at centralparkn...
Audio profile at npr.org
Duke Ellington is one of the premier musicians of the 20th century. Books have been written about him, his image is on a U.S. postal stamp, he has been honored with doctorates and the Presidential Medal of Honor, and the anniversary of his 100th birthday occasioned a nationwide Centennial.

His contributions to the jazz genre are many. His bands in the ’20s and ‘30s introduced “jungle music” which incorporated African influences. Ellington was more conscious of musical form than his predecessors. He thought in orchestral terms, using the band as his instrument. He wrote specifically for his musicians, drawing on their talents as soloists and ensemble players to create the “Ellington effect,” so-called by Billy Strayhorn. He used instruments in unusual roles within the band and rarely soloed on piano, preferring the role of arranger. Because Ellington was forward looking musically he was able to keep his band together until his death when his son Mercer took over. Many of its members were with him for three decades.

Of Ellington, the man, Gene Lees in his book Meet Me at Jim & Andy’s: Jazz Musicians and Their World, has said, “He was, I think, a far more interesting man, with complex dimensions, than the hagiography of jazz has made him out to be.... He took the world as he found it, both in life and in music, tolerating discrepancies and contradictions in men and circumstance. That is how he was able to make a functioning unit of men with such disparate sounds and personalities.”

Ellington’s band gained notoriety at Harlem’s Cotton Club in 1927. The band went to Hollywood in 1930 to make the film Check and Double Check and that same year Duke received recognition as a composer for “Mood Indigo.” His band made several European tours, and in 1943 he premiered the first of his extended compositions, “Black, Brown and Beige.”

In 1959 Ellington scored the film Anatomy of a Murder in which he also played the role of a pianist named Pie Eye. In his later years he devoted himself to composing “sacred concerts” which were complex pieces to perform because of the personnel required: orchestra, choirs, soloists and dancers.

A partial list of his memorable compositions must include: “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” (1932), “Sophisticated Lady” (1933), “In A Sentimental Mood” (1935), “Prelude To A Kiss” (1938), “I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)” (1941), “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” (1942), “I’m Beginning To See The Light” (1944), and “Satin Doll” (1953).

- Sandra Burlingame

Black, Brown and Beige

Duke Ellington

The Very Best of Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington

Never No Lament the Blanton-Webster Band

Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington and John Coltrane

Duke Ellington and John Coltrane

Ellington At Newport 1956

Duke Ellington

The Great Summit: The Master Takes

Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington

The Best of Duke Ellington: 1932-1939

Duke Ellington

Sophisticated Lady

Ella Fitzgerald & Joe Pass

Satin Doll

Stephane Grappelli

Mood Indigo

Little Jimmy Scott

It Don't Mean a Thing

Ivie Anderson

In a Sentimental Mood

Dr. John

Dick Hyman Plays Duke Ellington

Dick Hyman
Reading and Viewing

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Duke Ellington

Music Is My Mistress (Da Capo Paperback)


John Edward Hasse

Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington



DownBeat - The Great Jazz Interviews (A 75th Anniversary Anthology) (Book)

Hal Leonard


Down Beat: Sixty Years of Jazz

Hal Leonard Corporation

Wynton Marsalis, Geoffrey Ward

Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life

Random House Trade Paperbacks

Geoffrey C. Ward, Ken Burns

Jazz: A History of America's Music


James Stewart, Lee Remick

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)



Duke Ellington

The Intimate Duke Ellington (1967)



(Includes Cootie Williams)

Duke Ellington - Live at the Tivoli Gardens (1971)



Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong

The Story of Jazz (Masters of American Music)



Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Nat ‘King' Cole, Dorothy Dandridge, Duke Ellington

Harlem Renaissance / Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Nat King Cole

Kultur Video


Duke Ellington

Love You Madly/A Concert of Sacred Music at Grace Cathedral



Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Gene Krupa, Louis Prima

The Golden Age of Jazz, Part 1 - Jazz Legends



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