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Duke Ellington

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than six decades.

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. Although widely considered 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.

Some of the jazz musicians who were members of Ellington's orchestra, such as saxophonist Johnny Hodges, are considered among the best players in the idiom. Ellington melded them into the best-known orchestral unit in the history of jazz. Some members stayed with the orchestra for several decades. A master at writing miniatures for the three-minute 78 rpm recording format, Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions; his extensive body of work is the largest recorded personal jazz legacy, and many of his pieces have become standards. He also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, for example Juan Tizol's "Caravan", and "Perdido", which brought a Spanish tinge to big band jazz. In the early 1940s, Ellington began a nearly thirty-year collaboration with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his writing and arranging companion. With Strayhorn, he composed many extended compositions, or suites, as well as additional short pieces. Following an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival in July 1956, Ellington and his orchestra enjoyed a major revival and embarked on world tours. Ellington recorded for most American record companies of his era, performed in and scored several films, and composed a handful of stage musicals.

Ellington was noted for his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and for his eloquence and charisma. His reputation continued to rise after he died, and he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize Special Award for music in 1999.

Birth and Death Data: Born April 29th, 1899 (Washington, D.C.), Died New York City

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1924 - 1968

Roles Represented in DAHR: piano, composer, leader, director, arranger, songwriter, lyricist

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 326 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-31113 10-in. 10/22/1924 Choo-choo (I gotta hurry home) Billy Murray ; Ed Smalle Male vocal duet, with orchestra composer  
Victor BVE-34797 10-in. 4/22/1926 Jig walk Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BVE-37527 10-in. 1/10/1927 Make me love you Duke Ellington Orchestra ; Evelyn Preer Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-37528 10-in. 1/10/1927 If you can't hold the man you love (Don't cry when he's gone) Duke Ellington Orchestra ; Evelyn Preer Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-39370 10-in. 10/26/1927 Creole love call Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-39371 10-in. 10/26/1927 Blues I love to sing Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-40155 10-in. 10/6/1927 Black and tan fantasie Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-40156 10-in. 10/6/1927 Washington wabble Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-41244 10-in. 12/19/1927 Harlem River quiver Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-41245 10-in. 12/19/1927 East St. Louis toodle-oo Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-41246 10-in. 12/19/1927 Blue bubbles Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-43502 10-in. 3/26/1928 Black beauty Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-43503 10-in. 3/26/1928 Jubilee stomp Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band composer, instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor BVE-43504 10-in. 3/26/1928 Got everything but you Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-47799 10-in. 10/30/1928 The mooche Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-48100 10-in. 10/30/1928 Santa Claus, bring my man back to me Hot Five [Ellington ensemble] ; Ozie Ware Female vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-48101 10-in. 10/30/1928 I done caught you blues Hot Five [Ellington ensemble] ; Ozie Ware Female vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-48102 10-in. 10/30/1928 I can't give you anything but love Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-48103 10-in. 10/30/1928 No papa no Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band (take 1); with female vocal solo (take 2) director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-48166 10-in. 11/15/1928 Bandanna babies Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-48167 10-in. 11/15/1928 Diga diga do Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-48168 10-in. 11/15/1928 I must have that man Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-48373 10-in. 2/18/1929 Japanese dream Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-48374 10-in. 2/18/1929 Harlemania Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor CVE-49007 12-in. 12/20/1928 St. Louis blues Warren Mills and his Blue Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with mixed vocal chorus instrumentalist, piano  
(Results 1-25 of 326 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Ellington, Duke," accessed October 25, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102155.

Ellington, Duke. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 25, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102155.

"Ellington, Duke." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 25 October 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102155

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