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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 76-100 of 329 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BRC-68239 10-in. 6/17/1931 It's glory Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BRC-68240 10-in. 6/17/1931 The mystery song Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BRC-70175 10-in. 8/19/1931 Mood indigo Gene Austin Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor LBRC-71811 10-in. (33-1/3 rpm) 2/3/1932 Mood indigo Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor LBSHQ-71812 10-in. (33-1/3 rpm) 2/3/1932 Mood indigo Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor LBRC-71836 10-in. (33-1/3 rpm) 2/9/1932 East St. Louis toddle Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor LBSHQ-71837 10-in. (33-1/3 rpm) 2/9/1932 East St. Louis toddle Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BRC-71838 10-in. 2/9/1932 Dinah Duke Ellington Orchestra ; Sonny Greer ; Cootie Williams Jazz/dance band, with male vocal duet leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BRC-71839 10-in. 2/9/1932 Bugle call rag Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-73307 10-in. 8/18/1932 It don't mean a thing Billy Banks Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Victor BS-73557 10-in. 9/21/1932 Maori Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-73558 10-in. 9/21/1932 Jive Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BS-73559 10-in. 9/21/1932 My sophisticated daddy Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BS-73560 10-in. 9/21/1932 Margie Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-74729 10-in. 12/27/1932 It don't mean a thing The Sizzlers Male vocal trio, with piano composer  
Victor BS-76241 10-in. 6/1/1933 Sophisticated lady Georgia Washboard Stompers Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-76249 10-in. 6/1/1933 Sophisticated lady Washboard Rhythm Kings Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-76382 10-in. 6/5/1933 Sophisticated lady Casa Loma Orchestra ; Glen Gray Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-77025 10-in. 9/26/1933 Rude interlude Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BS-77026 10-in. 9/26/1933 Dallas doings Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BS-77035 10-in. 9/28/1933 Sophisticated lady Norman Gast ; David Rose Instrumental duet composer  
Victor BS-77199 10-in. 12/4/1933 Dear old Southland Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor BS-77200 10-in. 12/4/1933 Awful sad Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-77201 10-in. 12/4/1933 Daybreak Express Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band leader, composer  
Victor BS-78827 10-in. 12/4/1933 Drop me off in Harlem Adelaide Hall ; Lucky Millinder ; Mills Blue Rhythm Band Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo composer  
(Results 76-100 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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