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Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington was the most important composer in the history of jazz as well as being a bandleader who held his large group together continuously for almost 50 years. The two aspects of his career were related; Ellington used his band as a musical laboratory for his new compositions and shaped his writing specifically to showcase the talents of his bandmembers, many of whom remained with him for long periods. Ellington also wrote film scores and stage musicals, and several of his instrumental works were adapted into songs that became standards. In addition to touring year in and year out, he recorded extensively, resulting in a gigantic body of work that was still being assessed a quarter century after his death.

Ellington was the son of a White House butler, James Edward Ellington, and thus grew up in comfortable surroundings. He began piano lessons at age seven and was writing music by his teens. He dropped out of high school in his junior year in 1917 to pursue a career in music. At first, he booked and performed in bands in the Washington, D.C., area, but in September 1923 the Washingtonians, a five-piece group of which he was a member, moved permanently to New York, where they gained a residency in the Times Square venue The Hollywood Club (later The Kentucky Club). They made their first recordings in November 1924, and cut tunes for different record companies under a variety of pseudonyms, so that several current major labels, notably Sony, Universal, and BMG, now have extensive holdings of their work from the period in their archives, which are reissued periodically.

The group gradually increased in size and came under Ellington's leadership. They played in what was called "jungle" style, their sly arrangements often highlighted by the muted growling sound of trumpeter James "Bubber" Miley. A good example of this is Ellington's first signature song, "East St. Louis Toodle-oo," which the band first recorded for Vocalion Records in November 1926, and which became their first chart single in a re-recorded version for Columbia in July 1927.

The Ellington band moved uptown to The Cotton Club in Harlem on December 4, 1927. Their residency at the famed club, which lasted more than three years, made Ellington a nationally known musician due to radio broadcasts that emanated from the bandstand. In 1928, he had two two-sided hits: "Black and Tan Fantasy"/"Creole Love Call" on Victor (now BMG) and "Doin' the New Low Down"/"Diga Diga Doo" on OKeh (now Sony), released as by the Harlem Footwarmers. "The Mooche" on OKeh peaked in the charts at the start of 1929.

While maintaining his job at The Cotton Club, Ellington took his band downtown to play in the Broadway musical Show Girl, featuring the music of George Gershwin, in the summer of 1929. The following summer, the band took a leave of absence to head out to California and appear in the film Check and Double Check. From the score, "Three Little Words," with vocals by the Rhythm Boys featuring Bing Crosby, became a number one hit on Victor in November 1930; its flip side, "Ring Dem Bells," also reached the charts.

The Ellington band left The Cotton Club in February 1931 to begin a tour that, in a sense, would not end until the leader's death 43 years later. At the same time, Ellington scored a Top Five hit with an instrumental version of one of his standards, "Mood Indigo" released on Victor. The recording was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. As "the Jungle Band," the Ellington Orchestra charted on Brunswick later in 1931 with "Rockin' in Rhythm" and with the lengthy composition "Creole Rhapsody," pressed on both sides of a 78 single, an indication that Ellington's goals as a writer were beginning to extend beyond brief works. (A second version of the piece was a chart entry on Victor in March 1932.) "Limehouse Blues" was a chart entry on Victor in August 1931, then in the winter of 1932, Ellington scored a Top Ten hit on Brunswick with one of his best-remembered songs, "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," featuring the vocals of Ivie Anderson. This was still more than three years before the official birth of the swing era, and Ellington helped give the period its name. Ellington's next major hit was another signature song for him, "Sophisticated Lady." His instrumental version became a Top Five hit in the spring of 1933, with its flip side, a treatment of "Stormy Weather," also making the Top Five.

The Ellington Orchestra made another feature film, Murder at the Vanities, in the spring of 1934. Their instrumental rendition of "Cocktails for Two" from the score hit number one on Victor in May, and they hit the Top Five with both sides of the Brunswick release "Moon Glow"/"Solitude" that fall. The band also appeared in the Mae West film Belle of the Nineties and played on the soundtrack of Many Happy Returns. Later in the fall, the band was back in the Top Ten with "Saddest Tale," and they had two Top Ten hits in 1935, "Merry-Go-Round" and "Accent on Youth." While the latter was scoring in the hit parade in September, Ellington recorded another of his extended compositions, "Reminiscing in Tempo," which took up both sides of two 78s. Even as he became more ambitious, however, he was rarely out of the hit parade, scoring another Top Ten hit, "Cotton," in the fall of 1935, and two more, "Love Is Like a Cigarette" and "Oh Babe! Maybe Someday," in 1936. The band returned to Hollywood in 1936 and recorded music for the Marx Brothers' film A Day at the Races and for Hit Parade of 1937. Meanwhile, they were scoring Top Ten hits with "Scattin' at the Kit-Kat" and the swing standard "Caravan," co-written by valve trombonist Juan Tizol, and Ellington was continuing to pen extended instrumental works such as "Diminuendo in Blue" and "Crescendo in Blue." "If You Were in My Place (What Would You Do?)," a vocal number featuring Ivie Anderson, was a Top Ten hit in the spring of 1938, and Ellington scored his third number one hit in April with an instrumental version of another standard, "I Let a Song Go out of My Heart." In the fall, he was back in the Top Ten with a version of the British show tune "Lambeth Walk."

The Ellington band underwent several notable changes at the end of the 1930s. After several years recording more or less regularly for Brunswick, Ellington moved to Victor. In early 1939 Billy Strayhorn, a young composer, arranger, and pianist, joined the organization. He did not usually perform with the orchestra, but he became Ellington's composition partner to the extent that soon it was impossible to tell where Ellington's writing left off and Strayhorn's began. Two key personnel changes strengthened the outfit with the acquisition of bassist Jimmy Blanton in September and tenor saxophonist Ben Webster in December. Their impact on Ellington's sound was so profound that their relatively brief tenure has been dubbed "the Blanton-Webster Band" by jazz fans. These various changes were encapsulated by the Victor release of Strayhorn's "Take the 'A' Train," a swing era standard, in the summer of 1941. The recording was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

That same summer, Ellington was in Los Angeles, where his stage musical, Jump for Joy, opened on July 10 and ran for 101 performances. Unfortunately, the show never went to Broadway, but among its songs was "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)," another standard. The U.S. entry into World War II in December 1941 and the onset of the recording ban called by the American Federation of Musicians in August 1942 slowed the Ellington band's momentum. Unable to record and with touring curtailed, Ellington found an opportunity to return to extended composition with the first of a series of annual recitals at Carnegie Hall on January 23, 1943, at which he premiered "Black, Brown and Beige." And he returned to the movies, appearing in Cabin in the Sky and Reveille with Beverly. Meanwhile, the record labels, stymied for hits, began looking into their artists' back catalogs. Lyricist Bob Russell took Ellington's 1940 composition "Never No Lament" and set a lyric to it, creating "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." The Ink Spots scored with a vocal version (recorded a cappella), and Ellington's three-year-old instrumental recording was also a hit, reaching the pop Top Ten and number one on the recently instituted R&B charts. Russell repeated his magic with another 1940 Ellington instrumental, "Concerto for Cootie" (a showcase for trumpeter Cootie Williams), creating "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me." Nearly four years after it was recorded, the retitled recording hit the pop Top Ten and number one on the R&B charts for Ellington in early 1944, while newly recorded vocal cover versions also scored. Ellington's vintage recordings became ubiquitous on the top of the R&B charts during 1943-1944; he also hit number one with "A Slip of the Lip (Can Sink a Ship)," "Sentimental Lady," and "Main Stem." With the end of the recording ban in November 1944, Ellington was able to record a song he had composed with his saxophonist, Johnny Hodges, set to a lyric by Don George and Harry James, "I'm Beginning to See the Light." The James recording went to number one in April 1945, but Ellington's recording was also a Top Ten hit.

With the end of the war, Ellington's period as a major commercial force on records largely came to an end, but unlike other big bandleaders, who disbanded as the swing era passed, Ellington, who predated the era, simply went on touring, augmenting his diminished road revenues with his songwriting royalties to keep his band afloat. In a musical climate in which jazz was veering away from popular music and toward bebop, and popular music was being dominated by singers, the Ellington band no longer had a place at the top of the business; but it kept working. And Ellington kept trying more extended pieces. In 1946, he teamed with lyricist John Latouche to write the music for the Broadway musical Beggar's Holiday, which opened on December 26 and ran 108 performances. And he wrote his first full-length background score for a feature film with 1950's The Asphalt Jungle.

The first half of the 1950s was a difficult period for Ellington, who suffered many personnel defections. (Some of those musicians returned later.) But the band made a major comeback at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 7, 1956, when they kicked into a version of "Dimuendo and Crescendo in Blue" that found saxophonist Paul Gonsalves taking a long, memorable solo. Ellington appeared on the cover of Time magazine, and he signed a new contract with Columbia Records, which released Ellington at Newport, the best-selling album of his career. Freed of the necessity of writing hits and spurred by the increased time available on the LP record, Ellington concentrated more on extended compositions for the rest of his career. His comeback as a live performer led to increased opportunities to tour, and in the fall of 1958 he undertook his first full-scale tour of Europe. For the rest of his life, he would be a busy world traveler.

Ellington appeared in and scored the 1959 film Anatomy of a Murder, and its soundtrack won him three of the newly instituted Grammy Awards, for best performance by a dance band, best musical composition of the year, and best soundtrack. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his next score, Paris Blues (1961). In August 1963, his stage work My People, a cavalcade of African-American history, was mounted in Chicago as part of the Century of Negro Progress Exposition.

Meanwhile, of course, he continued to lead his band in recordings and live performances. He switched from Columbia to Frank Sinatra's Reprise label (purchased by Warner Bros. Records) and made some pop-oriented records that dismayed his fans but indicated he had not given up on broad commercial aspirations. Nor had he abandoned his artistic aspirations, as the first of his series of sacred concerts, performed at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco on September 16, 1965, indicated. And he still longed for a stage success, turning once again to Broadway with the musical Pousse-Café, which opened on March 18, 1966, but closed within days. Three months later, the Sinatra film Assault on a Queen, with an Ellington score, opened in movie houses around the country. (His final film score, for Change of Mind, appeared in 1969.)

Ellington became a Grammy favorite in his later years. He won a 1966 Grammy for best original jazz composition for "In the Beginning, God," part of his sacred concerts. His 1967 album Far East Suite, inspired by a tour of the Middle and Far East, won the best instrumental jazz performance Grammy that year, and he took home his sixth Grammy in the same category in 1969 for And His Mother Called Him Bill, a tribute to Strayhorn, who had died in 1967. "New Orleans Suite" earned another Grammy in the category in 1971, as did "Togo Brava Suite" in 1972, and the posthumous The Ellington Suites in 1976.

Ellington continued to perform regularly until he was overcome by illness in the spring of 1974, succumbing to lung cancer and pneumonia. His death did not end the band, which was taken over by his son Mercer, who led it until his own death in 1996, and then by a grandson. Meanwhile, Ellington finally enjoyed the stage hit he had always wanted when the revue Sophisticated Ladies, featuring his music, opened on Broadway on March 1, 1981, and ran 767 performances.

The many celebrations of the Ellington centenary in 1999 demonstrated that he continued to be regarded as the major composer of jazz. If that seemed something of an anomaly in a musical style that emphasizes spontaneous improvisation over written composition, Ellington was talented enough to overcome the oddity. He wrote primarily for his band, allowing his veteran players room to solo within his compositions, and as a result created a body of work that seemed likely to help jazz enter the academic and institutional realms, which was very much its direction at the end of the 20th century. In that sense, he foreshadowed the future of jazz and could lay claim to being one of its most influential practitioners. ~ William Ruhlmann
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Jazz Profile: Duke Ellington

1. Satin Doll

2. Star Dust

3. One O'Clock Jump

4. Stormy Weather

5. Take The "A" Train (1969) (Live)

6. 4:30 Blues

7. In Triplicate

8. Chile Bowl

9. Janet

10. Happy Reunion

11. Caravan

12. Wig Wise


Track List: Chronological Classics: Duke Ellington & His Orchestra 1953

1. Flamingo

4. Who Knows

5. Retrospection

6. B Sharp Blues

7. Passion Flower

8. Dancers In Love

9. Reflections In D

10. Melancholia

11. Prelude To A Kiss

12. In A Sentimental Mood

13. Things Ain't What They Used To Be

14. All Too Soon

15. Janet

19. Basin Street Blues

22. Don't Ever Say Goodbye


Track List: Sophisticated Lady

1. Concerto For Cootie

2. Don't Get Around Much Anymore

3. Take The 'A' Train

4. Just A-Settin' And A-Rockin'

5. I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good

6. Chelsea Bridge

7. Perdido

8. The C Jam Blues

9. Prelude To A Kiss

10. Caravan

11. Mood Indigo

12. In A Sentimental Mood

13. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

14. Sophisticated Lady

15. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart

16. Solitude

17. Things Ain't What They Used To Be

18. Just Squeeze Me (But Don't Tease Me)

19. St. Louis Blues


Track List: The Bubber Miley Era: 1924-1929

1. Choo Choo

2. Birmingham Breakdown

3. Hop Head

4. Creole Love Call

5. Black And Tan Fantasy

6. Washington Wobble

7. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

8. Sweet Mama

9. Black Beauty

10. Jubilee Stomp

12. Swampy River

13. The Mooche

14. Hot And Bothered

15. Louisiana

16. I Can't Give You Anything But Love

17. Bandanna Babies

19. Tiger Rag - Parts 1 & 2

20. Flaming Youth

21. Saturday Night Function


Track List: Never No Lament - The Blanton-Webster Band

Disc 1

1. You, You Darlin'

2. Jack The Bear

3. Ko-Ko

4. Morning Glory

5. So Far, So Good

6. Conga Brava

7. Concerto For Cootie

8. Me And You

9. Cotton Tail

10. Never No Lament

11. Dusk

12. Bojangles

13. A Portrait Of Bert Williams

14. Blue Goose

15. Harlem Air-Shaft

17. All Too Soon

18. Rumpus In Richmond

19. My Greatest Mistake

20. Sepia Panorama

21. There Shall Be No Night

22. In A Mellotone

23. Five O'Clock Whistle

24. The Flaming Sword

25. Warm Valley

Disc 2

1. Across The Track Blues

2. Chloe (Song Of The Swamp)

3. I Never Felt This Way Before

4. The Sidewalks Of New York

5. Flamingo

6. The Girl In My Dreams Tries To Look Like You

7. Take The "A" Train

8. Jumpin' Punkins

9. John Hardy's Wife

10. Blue Serge

11. After All

12. Bakiff

13. Are You Sticking?

14. Just A-Sittin' And A-Rockin'

15. The Giddybug Gallop

16. Pitter Panther Patter

17. Body And Soul

18. Sophisticated Lady

19. Mr. J.B. Blues

Disc 3

1. Chocolate Shake

2. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)

3. Clementine

4. The Brown-Skin Gal (In The Calico Gown)

5. Jump For Joy

6. Moon Over Cuba

7. Five O'Clock Drag

8. Rocks In My Bed

9. Bli-Blip

10. Raincheck

12. I Don't Know What Kind Of Blues I Got

13. Chelsea Bridge

14. Perdido

15. The "C" Jam Blues

16. Moon Mist

17. What Am I Here For?

18. I Don't Mind

19. Someone

20. My Little Brown Book

21. Main Stem

22. Johnny Come Lately

23. Hayfoot, Strawfoot

24. Sentimental Lady

25. A Slip Of The Lip (Can Sink A Ship)

26. Sherman Shuffle


Track List: Duke Ellington At The Alhambra

1. Take The "A" Train

2. Medley: Black And Tan Fantasy / Creole Love Call / The Mooche

3. Newport Up (live)

4. Tenderly

5. Juniflip (live)

6. Frustration

7. Rockin' In Rhythm

8. Jeep's Blues (live)

9. All Of Me (live)

10. Things Ain't What They Used To Be

11. Jam With Sam

12. Hi Fi Fo Fum

13. Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue


Track List: Blues And Ballads

1. In A Sentimental Mood

2. Minor

4. Slow Blues Ensemble

5. To Know You Is To Love You

6. Meditation

7. Long Time Blues

8. I Cover The Waterfront

10. Elysee

11. Rhythm Section Blues

12. Blue Rose

13. Major

14. Mood Indigo

15. Rod La Rocque

16. Jeep's Blues

18. Do Not Disturb

19. Blues A La Willie Cook

20. Paris Blues


Track List: The Complete RCA Victor Mid-Forties Recordings (1944-1946)

1. I'm Beginning To See The Light

2. Don't You Know I Care

3. Come Sunday

4. The Blues

5. Prelude To A Kiss

6. Caravan

7. In A Sentimental Mood

8. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

9. Sophisticated Lady

10. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart

11. Solitude

12. Things Ain't What They Used To Be

13. I'm Just A Lucky So-And-So

14. Tonk

16. Just Squeeze Me

17. St. Louis Blues

18. Esquire Swank


Track List: Ellington At Newport 1956

Disc 1

1. Star Spangled Banner

2. Father Norman O'Connor Introduces Duke & The Orchestra / Duke Introduces Tune & Anderson, Jackson & Procope

3. Black And Tan Fantasy (live)

4. Duke Introduces Cook & Tune

5. Tea For Two

6. Duke & Band Leave Stage / Father Norman O'Connor Talks About The Festival

7. Take The A Train (live)

14. Duke Announces Hamilton, Gonsalves, & Terry / Duke Introduces Carney & Tune

15. Sophisticated Lady (Live)

Disc 2

1. Duke Introduces Johnny Hodges

2. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)

3. Jeep's Blues

5. Tulip Or Turnip

6. Riot Prevention

8. Mood Indigo

9. Studio Concert

16. Duke Announces Hamilton, Gonsalves, & Terry ; Duke Introduces Johnny Hodges

17. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)

18. Jeep's Blues


Track List: The Best Of The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition: The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (1927-1973)

1. Black And Tan Fantasy

2. East St. Louis Toodle-o

3. Rockin' In Rhythm

5. My Old Flame

6. Jack The Bear

7. Day Dream

8. Take The 'A' Train

9. I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good

10. Perdido

12. The Minor Goes Muggin'

13. Just Squeeze Me (But Don't Tease Me)

15. Come Sunday

16. Isfahan

17. Sophisticated Lady

18. Raincheck


Track List: Duke Ellington Greatest Hits

1. Take The 'A' Train

2. Mood Indigo

3. I'm Beginning To See The Light

4. Sophisticated Lady

5. I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good

6. Perdido

7. Solitude

8. I Can't Give You Anything But Love

9. Prelude To A Kiss

10. Drawing Room Blues

11. Caravan

12. Ina Sentimental Mood

13. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

14. Lover Man

15. Lotus Blossom (live)


Track List: The Best Of Early Ellington

1. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

2. Birmingham Breakdown

3. Black And Tan Fantasy

4. Take It Easy

5. Jubilee Stomp

6. Black Beauty

7. Yellow Dog Blues

8. Tishomingo Blues

9. Awful Sad

10. The Mooche

11. Doin' The Voom Voom

12. Rent Party Blues

13. Harlem Flat Blues

14. Jolly Wog

15. Jazz Convulsions

16. Sweet Mama

17. Cotton Club Stomp (Take B)

18. Mood Indigo (1930)

19. Rockin' In Rhythm

20. Creole Rhapsody - Parts 1 And 2


Track List: Early Ellington

Disc 1

3. Immigration Blues

6. New Orleans Low-Down

7. Song Of The Cotton Field

10. Black And Tan Fantasy

12. Red Hot Band

14. Take It Easy

15. Jubilee Stomp

18. Yellow Dog Blues

19. Tishomingo Blues

20. Awful Sad

21. The Mooche

22. Louisiana

Disc 2

1. Doin' The Voom Voom

4. Tiger Rag - Part II

5. Rent Party Blues

7. Harlem Flat Blues

9. Jungle Jamboree

10. Ain't Misbehavin'

11. Doin' The New Low Down

16. Goin' Nuts

19. Sweet Mama

Disc 3

7. Double Check Stomp

12. Runnin' Wild!

13. Mood Indigo

14. Home Again Blues

15. Wang-Wang Blues

17. Rockin' In Rhythm

18. Twelfth Street Rag

19. The Peanut Vendor


Track List: 16 Most Requested Songs

1. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

2. In A Sentimental Mood

3. Solitude

4. Caravan

5. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart

6. Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me

7. Don't Get Around Much Anymore

8. Sophisticated Lady

9. I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good

10. Perdido

11. In A Mellow Tone

12. Mood Indigo

13. Prelude To A Kiss

14. Satin Doll

15. I'm Beginning To See The Light

16. Take The "A" Train


Track List: Duke Ellington: The Blanton-Webster Band

Disc 1

2. Jack the Bear

3. Ko-Ko

4. Morning Glory

5. So Far, So Good

6. Conga Brava

7. Concerto for Cootie

8. Me And You

9. Cottontail

10. Never No Lament

11. Dusk

13. A Portrait Of Bert Williams

14. Blue Goose

15. Harlem Air Shaft

17. All Too Soon

18. Rumpus In Richmond

19. My Greatest Mistake

20. Sepia Panorama

21. There Shall Be No Night

22. In A Mellotone

Disc 2

1. Five O'Clock Whistle

2. Warm Valley

3. The Flaming Sword

4. Across The Track Blues

5. Chloe (Song Of The Swamp)

6. I Never Felt This Way Before

7. The Sidewalks Of New York

8. Flamingo

9. The Girl In My Dreams Tries To Look Like You

10. Take The "A" Train

11. Jumpin' Punkins

12. John Hardy's Wife

13. Blue Serge

14. After All

15. Bakiff

16. Are You Sticking?

17. Just A-Settin' And A-Rockin'

18. The Giddybug Gallop

19. Chocolate Shake

20. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)

21. Clementine

22. The Brown-Skin Gal (In the Calico Gown)

Disc 3

1. Jump For Joy

2. Moon Over Cuba

3. Five O'Clock Drag

4. Rocks In My Bed

5. Bli-Blip

6. Chelsea Bridge

7. Raincheck

9. I Don't Know What Kind Of Blues I Got

10. Perdido

11. The "C" Jam Blues

12. Moon Mist

13. What Am I Here For?

14. I Don't Mind

15. Someone

16. My Little Brown Book

17. Main Stem

18. Johnny Come Lately

19. Hayfoot Strawfoot

20. Sentimental Lady

21. A Slip Of The Lip (Can Sink A Ship)

22. Sherman Shuffle


Track List: Solos, Duets And Trios

1. Tonk

2. Drawing Room Blues

3. Frankie And Johnny

4. Jumpin Room Only

5. Lots o' Fingers

6. Dear Old Southland

7. Solitude (Take 1)

8. Solitude (Take 2)

9. Lotus Blossom

10. Pitter Panther Patter (Take 1)

11. Pitter Panther Patter (Take 2)

12. Body And Soul (Take 1)

13. Body And Soul (Take 2)

14. Body And Soul (Take 3)

15. Sophisticated Lady (Take 1)

16. Sophisticated Lady (Take 2)

17. Mr. J.B. Blues (Take 1)

18. Mr. J.B. Blues (Take 2)

19. House Of Lords

20. The Second Portrait Of The Lion

21. Take The


Track List: The Ellington Suites

1. Sunset And The Mocking Bird

2. Lightning Bugs And Frogs

3. Le Sucrier Velours

4. Northern Lights

5. The Single Petal Of A Rose

6. Apes And Peacocks

7. Fanfare

8. Goutelas

9. Get-With-Itness

10. Something

11. Having At It

12. Fanfare

13. Uwis

14. Klop

15. Loco Madi


Track List: Recollections Of The Big Band Era

1. Minnie The Moocher

2. For Dancers Only

3. It's A Lonesome Old Town When You're Not Around

4. Cherokee

5. The Midnight Sun Will Never Set

6. Let's Get Together

7. I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You

8. Chant Of The Weed

9. Ciribiribin

10. Contrasts

11. Chrisopher Columbus

12. Auld Lang Syne

13. Tuxedo Junction

14. Smoke Rings

15. Artistry In Rhythm

16. The Waltz You Saved For Me

17. Woodchopper's Ball

18. Sentimental Journey

19. When It's Sleepy Time Down South

20. One O'Clock Jump

21. Goodbye

22. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

23. Rhapsody In Blue


Track List: Latin American Suite

1. Oclupaca

2. Chico Cuadradino

3. Eque

4. Tina

5. The Sleeping Lady And The Giant Who Watches Over Her

6. Latin American Sunshine

7. Brasiliance


Track List: New Orleans Suite

1. Blues For New Orleans

2. Bourbon Street Jingling Jollies

3. Portrait Of Louis Armstrong

4. Thanks For The Beautiful Land On The Delta

5. Portrait Of Wellman Braud

6. Second Line

7. Portrait Of Sydney Bechet

8. Aristocracy A La Jean Lafitte

9. Portrait Of Mahalia Jackson


Track List: The Far East Suite - Special Mix


Track List: Money Jungle

1. Very Special

2. A Little Max (Parfait)

4. Fleurette Africaine (African Flower)

5. Rem Blues

6. Wig Wise

7. Switch Blade

8. Caravan

9. Money Jungle

11. Solitude

12. Warm Valley

13. Backward Country Boy Blues


Track List: Anatomy Of A Murder

1. Main Title And Anatomy Of A Murder

3. Way Early Subtone

4. Hero To Zero

5. Low Key Lightly

6. Happy Anatomy

7. Midnight Indigo

8. Almost Cried

9. Sunswept Sunday

10. Grace Valse

11. Happy Anatomy

12. Haupe

13. Upper And Outest

14. Anatomy Of A Murder (Stereo Single)

16. Beer Garden

17. Happy Anatomy

19. Polly

20. Happy Anatomy

21. More Blues

23. Sound Track Music: Anatomy Of A Murder

25. The Grand Finale


Track List: Ellington Indigos

1. Solitude

2. Where Or When

5. Prelude To A Kiss

6. All The Things You Are

7. WIllow Weep For Me

8. Tenderly

9. Dancing In The Dark

10. Autumn Leaves


Track List: Such Sweet Thunder

1. Such Sweet Thunder

2. Sonnet For Caesar

3. Sonnet To Hank Cinq

4. Lady Mac

5. Sonnet In Search Of A Moor

6. The Telecasters

7. Up And Down, Up And Down (I Will Lead Them Up And Down)

8. Sonnet For Sister Kate

10. Madness In Great Ones

12. Circle Of Fourths

14. Circle Of Fourths

18. Half The Fun (Lately) - Alternate Take

20. A Flat Minor - Outtakes


Track List: At Fargo 1940 Special 60th Anniversary Edition

Disc 1

4. Sepia Panorama

6. There Shall Be No Night

13. Stompy Jones

15. Bojangles

17. Rumpus In Richmond

19. The Sidewalks Of New York

21. Never No Lament

Disc 2

6. Five O'Clock Whistle

7. Fanfare

13. Conga Brava

14. I Never Felt This Way Before

19. Rose Of The Rio Grande

21. Warm Valley


Track List: Blue Harlem

17. In A Mellotone

19. Just Squeeze Me


Track List: Blues In Orbit

1. Three J's Blues

2. Smada

3. Pie Eye's Blues

4. Sweet & Pungent

5. C Jam Blues

6. In A Mellow Tone

7. Blues In Blueprint

8. The Swingers Get The Blues, Too

9. The Swinger's Jump

10. Blues In Orbit

11. Villes Ville Is The Place, Man

12. Track 360

13. Sentimental Lady

14. Brown Penny

15. Pie Eye's Blues (Alternate Take)

16. Sweet & Pungent (Alternate Take)

17. The Swinger's Jump (Alternate Take)

18. Blues In Orbit (Alternate Take)

19. Track 360 (Alternate Take)


Track List: Carnegie Hall Concert Dec. 19, 1944 (Live)

Disc 1

1. Blutopia (Live)

2. Midriff (Live)

3. Creole Love Call (Live)

4. Suddenly It Jumped (Live)

5. Pitter Panther Patter (Live)

6. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (Live)

7. Things Ain't What They Used To Be (Live)

8. Introduction (Live)

9. Sonata (Live)

10. Strange Feeling (Live)

11. Dancers In Love (Live)

12. Coloratura (Live)

Disc 2

1. Work Song (Live)

2. The Blue (Live)

3. Three Dances - West Indian, Creamy Brown, Emancipation Celebration (Live)

4. Come Sunday (Live)

5. The Mood To Be Wooed (Live)

6. Blue Cellophane (Live)

7. Blue Skies (Trumpets No End) (Live)

8. Frankie And Johnny (Live)


Track List: Duke Ellington Vol. 5

3. Frustration

11. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me

15. Passion Flower


Track List: Duke Ellington's Finest Hour

7. Double Check Stomp


Track List: Duke Ellington. The Cotton Club Years

1. Washington Wobble

7. Tiger Rag (Parts 1 & 2)


Track List: Essential Masters 1924-1928

2. Stack O' Lee Blues

6. Red Hot Band

9. Song Of The Cotton Field

10. New Orleans Low-Down

13. Immigration Blues

15. East St. Louis Toodle-O


Track List: Historia Del Jazz Americano. Grandes Orquestas Duke Ellington

1. In A Sentimental Mood

2. Concerto For Cootie

3. Caravan

4. In A Mellow Tone

5. Harlem Air Shaft

6. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart

7. Cotton Tail

8. Take The "A" Train

9. Merry-Go-Round

10. Don't Get Around Much Anymore

11. Sophisticated Lady

13. Ko-Ko


Track List: Notations

6. Across The Track Blues

21. Dusk

24. Blue Serge


Track List: Piano Reflections

1. Who Knows?

3. B Sharp Blues

4. Passion Flower

5. Dancers In Love

6. Reflections In D

7. Melancholia

11. All Too Soon


Track List: Soul Call

2. West Indian Pancake

10. Kinda Dukish & Rockin' In Rhythm

13. Main Stem


Track List: Take The A Train

5. Frankie & Johnny

9. Tea For Two

12. East St. Louis Toodle Oo


Track List: The Bethlehen Years Volume 1

4. The Jeep Is Jumpin'

8. Midriff


Track List: The Great Duke

5. Tenderly

7. Where Or When

16. Willow Weep For Me

17. Jeep's Blues

19. Melancholia

20. Reflections In D


Track List: The Jazz Biography: Duke Ellington

1. Rockin' In Rhythm

2. Take The "A" Train

3. Flamingo

4. Bakiff

6. Agra

8. Depk

10. Happy Reunion

12. Isfahan

13. Jam With Sam

14. Sophisticated Lady

16. The Opener

17. Satin Doll


Track List: The Jazz Collection Volume One

1. Such Sweet Thunder

2. Sonnet For Caesar

3. Sonnet To Hank Cinq

4. Lady Mac

5. Sonnet In Search Of A Moor

6. The Telecasters

8. Sonnet For Sister Kate

9. The Star Crossed Lovers

10. Madness In Great Ones

11. Half The Fun

12. Circle Of Fourths

24. The Peanut Vendor

32. Body And Soul

76. I'm Just A Lucky So And So

77. Cottontail


Track List: The Mooche

1. Diga Diga Do

2. Rockin' In Rhythm

4. Saddest Tale

5. Solitude

7. Echoes Of Harlem

8. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

9. Sing You Sinners

12. Sing You Sinners

14. Sophisticated Lady

15. Tiger Rag

16. Frankie And Johnny

17. Stack O Lee Blues

18. I Can't Give You Anything But Love

19. I Must Have That Man

20. The Mooche

23. Saint Louis Blues


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Oops I accidentally fast forwarded the Duke song I was listening to. Pandora makes it too easy to do that...Damn it!
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Love It!
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Ellington was a true musical genius and probably the most intelligent of all the big band leaders. I had the pleasure of meeting him after a concert in Virginia Beach. He was extremely cordial to me and was just as classy off the bandstand as he was on it. A true gentleman. I've been a big fan of his ever since.
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Genius like this come's once in a life time
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@ PurpleHaze.. , , , . h a h a h a . . . r i g h t ?
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very smooth indeed. Butt tbh this reminds me of tom and jerry lol like i feel I've heard this song in a episode no doubt. I mean awesome none the less tho.!
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so smooth
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Smooth, smooth, doesn't hear music played like this any more. What a pity!
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Perdido;;;ha v e n ' t heard this in ages, oh yeah this is good!
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Great music by a great band, led by a great leader!
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Way before my time but I really enjoy this music , just like my parents did ...����
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Duke & his band's scoring ofr the fine classic movie Anatomy of a Murder (starring Jimmy Stewart) is probably THE greatest use of jazz music for a movie score ever!!
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--as did the great soloists that came out of their bands like Lester 'Prez' Young & Coleman & Ben Webster etc etc--
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The Duke & the Count had Swing Music all sown up! The Cream!
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Mellow like a cello! Mmmmmmm.
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I like Cole 0or5er songs
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There can be only one-"Duke".
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If You wan't a real rush this Holiday Season procure a copy of Ellington's take of the Nutcracker Suite. I have been listening to this for almost 50 years. What a hoot !!!
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I grew up listening to the Big Bands.
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Blanton-Webs t e r period Ellington. A high point in the history of American music.
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lots of big bands out there......T h i s is one of the best, If not the best.
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I've been a fan of The Duke since age 16, and big band music seems to strike a chord that no other style can. Duke was the master. I even bought an album called "Battle Royale" - his band "versus" Count Basie's,,,, ; two Seniors providing musical nourishment for thirsty receptive ears. Duke's band was heard in the right speaker, Count's in the left - awesome, simply!
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I do really love this older music compared to toads horrible artists I really do wish I could go back to these much better times
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Wouldn't our musical life be great if we left it all up to the Duke!
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The best musician ever.
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He is amazing
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I saw the Duke in 1955 in an amusement park dance hall in Ohio. The lights went out for about 30 minutes, but the band continued to play in the dark without missing a note!
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Please every one read Panama's Story: My History as a Jazz Drummer. Pay attention to chapter 8 What Happened To swing
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Duke Ellington doesn't rate a bio?
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I love "The Duke" I want to go back in time! I know I would have been Duke Ellington's wife lol. Boy oh boy he was fine and such a great musician❤️��
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No bio?
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I seen the Duke in person in Passaic n.j. just got back from Korea.1956
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Happy BD Sir Duke!
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Oh my new love. Heard him on American Hustle.
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spencersmith 3 9 0 1
Duke could play it sweet or hot and his arrangements and musicians formed the best of the American big bands. Miller, Goodman, Shaw and James combined didn't have the hits the Duke did...he was a triple talent...pla y i n g , composing and u s a cool style that made it all look easy and passionate at the same time.
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Just got introduced to the Duke via "American Hustle"... Awesome tribute to him which inspired me to find him on Pandora!! ...captivati n g ! !
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When my granddaughte r remarked that sadly there is no royalty in the USA, I told her, hey, Duke Ellington! What about Count Basie? Nat King Cole? She lived with me for the past two years and I exposed her to the greatest jazz and big band music that exists! I sure hope it sticks!! Queen Latifa? Prince?
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Not to mention he's the king of all...
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Duke was the man
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When i give thanks for Ellington, i give thanks for Billy Strayhorn...
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"Once a year all musicians should lay down there instruments and give thanks to Duke Ellington."
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Duke's music is the embodiment of all that is great about jazz. His body of work is so vast and diverse it never gets old. Truly one of the top American artists ever.
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I'm new to the Duke but when I listen to him I feel like I'm back at my grandparents watching 50's B&W movies on their 13" TV screen. It feels that comforting. I'm now a fan of his and I'm also researching other music from that era. It is all the best.
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How about Nancy wilson
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shawnnavuz71 1
I've been making over $350 a week from home using this site called BLUDOS.COM basically you take surveys for cash. You can do this for free as well.
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Was implies that he's no longer living, not that someone else passed him up,
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