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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 151-175 of 329 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-053504 10-in. 10/1/1940 Pitter panther patter Jimmy Blanton ; Duke Ellington Bass and piano duet composer, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-053505 10-in. 10/1/1940 Body and soul Jimmy Blanton ; Duke Ellington Bass and piano duet instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-053506 10-in. 10/1/1940 Sophisticated lady Jimmy Blanton ; Duke Ellington Bass and piano duet composer, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-053507 10-in. 10/1/1940 Mr. J. B. blues Jimmy Blanton ; Duke Ellington Bass and piano duet composer, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-053552 10-in. 10/17/1940 The flaming sword Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-053579 10-in. 10/28/1940 Across the track blues Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-053580 10-in. 10/28/1940 Chlo-e Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor BS-053581 10-in. 10/28/1940 I never felt this way before Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra ; Herb Jeffries Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-053780 10-in. 12/28/1940 The sidewalks of New York Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor BS-053781 10-in. 12/28/1940 Flamingo Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra ; Herb Jeffries Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo director  
Victor BS-053782 10-in. 12/28/1940 The girl in my dreams tries to look like you Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra ; Herb Jeffries Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor BS-054606 10-in. 7/22/1940 Harlem air-shaft Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-054607 10-in. 7/22/1940 At a Dixie roadside diner Ivie Anderson ; Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, piano, director, arranger  
Victor BS-054608 10-in. 7/22/1940 All too soon Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-054609 10-in. 7/22/1940 Rumpus in Richmond Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director  
Victor BS-054624 10-in. 7/24/1940 My greatest mistake Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor BS-054625 10-in. 7/24/1940 Sepia panorama Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, composer, director, arranger  
Victor PBS-055186 10-in. 12/3/1940 Pyramid Artie Shaw Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor PBS-055283 10-in. 2/15/1941 Take the "A" train Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor PBS-055284 10-in. 2/15/1941 Jumpin' punkins Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor PBS-055285 10-in. 2/15/1941 John Hardy's wife Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor PBS-055286 10-in. 2/15/1941 Blue serge Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor PBS-055287 10-in. 2/15/1941 After all Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor BS-057616 10-in. 11/11/1940 Mood indigo Paul Lavalle ; Dinah Shore ; Woodwindy Ten Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo composer  
Victor PBS-061283 10-in. 6/5/1941 Bakiff Duke Ellington Famous Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, director  
(Results 151-175 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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