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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 51-75 of 329 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor PBVE-61012 10-in. 8/20/1930 Old man blues Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor PBVE-61013 10-in. 8/20/1930 Three little words Duke Ellington Orchestra ; Rhythm Boys Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-62192 10-in. 6/4/1930 Sweet dreams of mine Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-62193 10-in. 6/4/1930 Jungle nights in Harlem Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-62194 10-in. 6/4/1930 Sweet jazz o' mine Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-62195 10-in. 6/4/1930 Shout 'em, Aunt Tillie Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-63360 10-in. 10/2/1930 Hittin' the bottle Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington ; Dick Robertson Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-63361 10-in. 10/2/1930 That Lindy hop Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington ; Dick Robertson Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-63362 10-in. 10/2/1930 You're lucky to me Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington ; Dick Robertson Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-63363 10-in. 10/2/1930 Memories of you Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington ; Dick Robertson Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-64378 10-in. 11/26/1930 What good am I without you? Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington ; Dick Robertson Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano, leader  
Victor BVE-64379 10-in. 11/26/1930 Blue again Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington ; Sid Garry Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-64380 10-in. 11/26/1930 When a black man's blue Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington ; Bennie Payne Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo (takes 3 and 4); with male vocal trio (takes 1 and 2) leader, instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor BVE-64811 10-in. 11/21/1930 Mood indigo Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band director, composer, leader  
Victor BVE-64812 10-in. 11/21/1930 Nine little miles from Ten-Ten-Tennessee Smith Ballew ; Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-64813 10-in. 11/21/1930 I'm so in love with you Smith Ballew ; Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano, songwriter  
Victor BVE-67401 10-in. 1/16/1931 Rockin' in rhythm Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-67798 10-in. 1/16/1931 The river and me Chick Bullock ; Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-67799 10-in. 1/16/1931 Keep a song in your soul Chick Bullock ; Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-67800 10-in. 1/16/1931 Sam and Delilah Chick Bullock ; Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor CRC-68231 12-in. 6/11/1931 Creole rhapsody Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BRC-68232 10-in. 6/11/1931 Creole rhapsody Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor CRC-68233 12-in. 6/11/1931 Creole rhapsody Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BRC-68237 10-in. 6/16/1931 Limehouse blues Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, arranger  
Victor BRC-68238 10-in. 6/16/1931 Echoes of the jungle Cotton Club Orchestra ; Duke Ellington Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, arranger  
(Results 51-75 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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