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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 May 24th, 1974 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1924 - 1968

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

Recordings (Results 226-250 of 329 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia W151766 10-in. 9/2/1931 Creole love call Clyde McCoy Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W151774 10-in. 9/4/1931 Mood indigo Blue Grass Boys ; Lee Morse Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W152270 10-in. 8/18/1932 Mood indigo Three Keys Male vocal trio, with guitar and piano songwriter  
Columbia W152320 10-in. 11/9/1932 It don't mean a thing (If it ain't got that swing) Roger Wolfe Kahn Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal ensemble composer  
OKeh S-72932 10-in. Oct. 1924 Choo-choo (I gotta hurry home) The Goofus Five Jazz/dance ensemble composer  
OKeh 74019 10-in. Feb. 1926 Jig walk Okeh Syncopators Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh W81775 10-in. 11/3/1927 What can a poor fellow do? Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
OKeh W81776 10-in. 11/3/1927 Black and tan fantasy Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer, instrumentalist, piano, leader  
OKeh W81777 10-in. 11/3/1927 Chicago stomp down The Chicago Footwarmers Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, piano, leader  
OKeh W400030 10-in. 1/19/1928 Take it easy Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer, leader, instrumentalist, piano  
OKeh W400031 10-in. 1/19/1928 Jubilee stomp Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer, leader, instrumentalist, piano  
OKeh W400032 10-in. 1/19/1928 Harlem twist Lonnie Johnson's Harlem Footwarmers Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, leader, composer  
OKeh W400859 10-in. 7/10/1928 Diga diga doo Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano, leader  
OKeh W400860 10-in. 7/10/1928 Doin' the new low down Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano, leader  
OKeh W401172 10-in. 10/1/1928 Black beauty Duke Ellington Piano solo instrumentalist, piano, composer  
OKeh W401173 10-in. 10/1/1928 Swampy river Duke Ellington Piano solo instrumentalist, piano, composer  
OKeh W401174 10-in. 10/1/1928 Since you went away Baby Cox ; Palmer Brothers Trio Female vocal solo and male vocal trio, with jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
OKeh W401175 10-in. 10/1/1928 The mooche Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo composer, leader, instrumentalist, piano  
OKeh W401176 10-in. 10/1/1928 Move over Lonnie Johnson's Harlem Footwarmers Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
OKeh W401177 10-in. 10/1/1928 Hot and bothered Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo composer, instrumentalist, piano  
OKeh W401220 10-in. 10/13/1928 Birmingham breakdown Chocolate Dandies Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh W401350 10-in. 11/20/1928 The blues with a feelin' Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer, leader, instrumentalist, piano  
OKeh W401351 10-in. 11/20/1928 Goin' to town Chicago Footwarmers Jazz/dance band composer, leader, instrumentalist, piano  
OKeh W401352 10-in. 11/20/1928 Misty mornin' Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer, leader, instrumentalist, piano  
OKeh W402551 10-in. 8/2/1929 Jungle jamboree Harlem Footwarmers Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
(Results 226-250 of 329 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Ellington, Duke," accessed December 1, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102155.

Ellington, Duke. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved December 1, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102155.

"Ellington, Duke." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 1 December 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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