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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 26-50 of 329 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-49652 10-in. 1/16/1929 Flaming youth Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-49653 10-in. 1/16/1929 Saturday night function Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-49654 10-in. 1/16/1929 High life Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-49655 10-in. 1/16/1929 Doin' the voom voom Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-49767 10-in. 3/7/1929 The dicty glide Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-49768 10-in. 3/7/1929 Hot feet Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-49769 10-in. 3/7/1929 Sloppy Joe Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-49770 10-in. 3/7/1929 Stevedore stomp Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor CVE-51158 12-in. 4/12/1929 A night at the Cotton Club, part 1 Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington ; Irving Mills Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor CVE-51159 12-in. 4/12/1929 A night at the Cotton Club, part 2 Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington ; Irving Mills Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-51971 10-in. 5/3/1929 Cotton Club stomp Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-51972 10-in. 5/3/1929 Misty mornin' Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-51973 10-in. 5/3/1929 Arabian lover Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-51974 10-in. 5/3/1929 Saratoga swing Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-55845 10-in. 9/16/1929 Mississippi Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-55846 10-in. 9/16/1929 The Duke steps out Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-55847 10-in. 9/16/1929 Haunted nights Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-55848 10-in. 9/16/1929 Swanee shuffles Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-57542 10-in. 11/14/1929 Breakfast dance Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-57543 10-in. 11/14/1929 Jazz lips Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-57544 10-in. 11/14/1929 March of the hoodlums Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-59692 10-in. 4/11/1930 Double check stomp Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-59693 10-in. 4/11/1930 My gal is good for nothing but love Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-59694 10-in. 4/11/1930 I was made to love you Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor PBVE-61011 10-in. 8/20/1930 Ring dem bells Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader, instrumentalist, piano, songwriter  
(Results 26-50 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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