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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 126-150 of 329 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-028940 10-in. 11/10/1938 Prelude to a kiss Stuart Allen ; Richard Himber Rhythmic Pyramids Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Victor BS-033901 10-in. 2/24/1939 The gal from Joe's Charlie Barnet Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-035394 10-in. 4/3/1939 It don't mean a thing (If it ain't got that swing) Lionel Hampton Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Victor BS-035563 10-in. 4/5/1939 Echoes of Harlem Charlie Barnet Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-037692 10-in. 6/26/1939 Lament for a lost love (Solace) Charlie Barnet Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-044887 10-in. 3/6/1940 You, you darlin' Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra ; Herb Jeffries Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director, instrumentalist, piano, arranger  
Victor BS-044888 10-in. 3/6/1940 Jack the Bear Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band director, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BS-044889 10-in. 3/6/1940 Ko-ko Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-044890 10-in. 3/7/1940 Morning glory Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-044891 10-in. 3/7/1940 So far, so good Ivie Anderson ; Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor BS-049015 10-in. 3/15/1940 Conga brava Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-049016 10-in. 3/15/1940 Concerto for Cootie Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-049017 10-in. 3/15/1940 Me and you Ivie Anderson ; Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor PBS-049655 10-in. 5/4/1940 Cotton tail Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, director, arranger, composer  
Victor PBS-049656 10-in. 5/4/1940 Don't get around much anymore Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-051223 10-in. 6/4/1940 Old man blues Sidney Bechet ; New Orleans Feetwarmers Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-053020 10-in. 5/28/1940 Dusk Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-053021 10-in. 5/28/1940 Bojangles Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-053022 10-in. 5/28/1940 A portrait of Bert Williams Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-053023 10-in. 5/28/1940 Blue goose Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-053427 10-in. 9/5/1940 There shall be no night Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra ; Herb Jeffries Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor BS-053428 10-in. 9/5/1940 In a mellotone Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-053429 10-in. 9/5/1940 Five o'clock whistle Ivie Anderson ; Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-053430 10-in. 9/5/1940 Warm valley Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-053435 10-in. 9/6/1940 Stompy Jones Sidney Bechet ; New Orleans Feetwarmers Jazz/dance quintet composer  
(Results 126-150 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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