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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 201-225 of 329 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia W141374 10-in. 12/10/1925 Jig walk Ipana Troubadours Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W143705 10-in. 3/22/1927 East St. Louis toodle-o Duke Ellington ; Washingtonians Jazz/dance band composer, leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W143706 10-in. 3/22/1927 Hop head Duke Ellington ; Washingtonians Jazz/dance band composer, leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W143707 10-in. 3/22/1927 Down in our alley blues Duke Ellington ; Washingtonians Jazz/dance band leader, composer, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W144667 10-in. 9/14/1927 Birmingham breakdown Arkansaw Travellers [Red Nichols Orchestra] Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia 145488 10-in. 1/9/1928 Sweet Mamma (Papa's getting mad) Washingtonians Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia 145489 10-in. 1/9/1928 Stack o' Lee blues Washingtonians Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia 145490 10-in. 1/9/1928 Bugle call rag Washingtonians Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W148170 10-in. 4/4/1929 I must have that man Joe Turner and his Memphis Men Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W148171 10-in. 4/4/1929 Freeze and melt Joe Turner and his Memphis Men Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W148172 10-in. 4/4/1929 Mississippi moan Joe Turner and his Memphis Men Jazz/dance band leader, composer, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W148640 10-in. 5/28/1929 That rhythm man Sonny Greer and his Memphis Men Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W148641 10-in. 5/28/1929 Beggars blues Sonny Greer and his Memphis Men Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W148642 10-in. 5/28/1929 Saturday night function Sonny Greer and his Memphis Men Jazz/dance band composer, leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W150165 10-in. 4/3/1930 The mooch Ten Black Berries Jazz/dance band composer, leader  
Columbia W150166 10-in. 4/3/1930 Ragamuffin Romeo Ten Black Berries Jazz/dance band leader  
Columbia W150167 10-in. 4/3/1930 East St. Louis toodle-o Ten Black Berries Jazz/dance band leader, composer  
Columbia W150584 10-in. 6/12/1930 Sweet mama Ten Black Berries Jazz/dance band leader, composer, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W150585 10-in. 6/12/1930 Hot and bothered Ten Black Berries Jazz/dance band leader, composer, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W150586 10-in. 6/12/1930 Double check stomp Ten Black Berries Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W150590 10-in. 6/12/1930 Black and tan fantasy Ten Black Berries Jazz/dance band composer, leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W151503 10-in. 4/10/1931 Black and tan fantasy Clyde McCoy Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W151615 10-in. 6/18/1931 Greasy plate stomp Blue Six ; Trombone Red Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W151616 10-in. 6/18/1931 B flat blues Blue Six ; Trombone Red Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Columbia W151764 10-in. 9/2/1931 Mood indigo Clyde McCoy Orchestra Jazz/dance band songwriter  
(Results 201-225 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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