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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

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Track List: The Duke at Tanglewood

1. Caravan

2. Mood Indigo

3. The Mooch

4. Love Scene

5. I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart

6. I'm Beginning to See the Light

7. Do Nothin' 'Til You Hear from Me

8. Sophisticated Lady

9. Timon of Athens March

10. Solitude

11. I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good

12. Satin Doll

x

Track List: Jazz Party In Stereo

x

Track List: The Original Recordings That Inspired The Broadway Hit "AFTER MIDNIGHT"

1. Daybreak Express (Remastered [Take 2 / Alternate Take])

2. Happy As The Day Is Long

3. I've Got The World On A String

4. Braggin' In Brass (From The Broadway Revue, "Cotton Club Parade Of 1938")

5. I Can't Give You Anything But Love (From The Broadway Revue, "Blackbirds Of 1928")

6. Diga Diga Doo (From The Broadway Revue, "Blackbirds Of 1928")

7. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

8. Stormy Weather (From The Broadway Revue, "22nd Edition Of Cotton Club Parade")

9. Raisin' The Rent (From The Broadway Revue, "Cotton Club Parade Of 1933")

10. Creole Love Call

11. The Mooche

12. Black And Tan Fantasy

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

14. Cotton Club Stomp

15. Rockin' In Rhythm

x

Track List: Dance Date

1. Stardust

2. Paris Blues

4. Overture (Nutcracker Suite)

5. Tenderly

7. Jeep's Blues

8. Moonglow

x

Track List: The Artist

13. Jubilee Stomp

x

Track List: The Bethlehen Years Volume 1

1. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

2. Creole Love Call

3. Stompy Jones

4. The Jeep Is Jumpin'

5. Jack The Bear

6. In A Mellow Tone

7. Ko-Ko

8. Midriff

9. Stomp, Look And Listen

10. Unbooted Character

11. Lonesome Lullaby

x

Track List: Duke Ellington. The Cotton Club Years

1. Washington Wobble

2. Creole Love Call

3. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

5. Jubilee Stomp

6. The Mooche

7. Tiger Rag (Parts 1 & 2)

9. Cotton Club Stomp

10. Wall Street Wail

11. Ring Dem Bells

12. Mood Indigo (Dreamy Blues)

13. Rockin’ In Rhythm

14. Echoes Of The Jungle

x

Track List: The Duke Swings Vol 2

1. There Shall Be No Night

2. Tonight I Shall Sleep With A Smile

3. Translucency

4. Black And Tan Fantasy

5. Depk

6. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me

7. Good Queen Bess

8. The Black And Tan Fantasy

9. Just Squeeze Me

10. Mood Indigo

11. Something 'Bout Believing

12. The Brown-Skin Girl (In The Calico Gown)

13. The Lord's Prayer

14. The Minor Goes Muggin'

15. The Mystery Song

16. The Sidewalks Of New York

17. Bandanna Babies

x

Track List: 1941-1945

Disc 1

1. Bli Blip

5. C Blues

6. June

7. Raincheck

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

11. Perdido

12. The "C" Jam Blues

13. Moon Mist

14. What Am I Here For?

15. I Don't Mind

16. Someone

17. My Little Brown Book

18. Main Stem

19. Johnny Come Lately

20. Hayfoot Strawfoot

Disc 2

1. Sentimental Lady

2. A Slip Of The Lip

3. Sherman Shuffle

4. Boy Meets Horn

5. Hop Skip Jump

7. Main Stem

8. Creole Love Call

10. My Little Brown Book

13. I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues

14. I'm Beginning To See The Light

15. Don't You Know I Care

16. I Didn't Know About You

17. Work Song

18. Come Sunday

19. The Blues

Disc 3

1. Carnegie Blues

2. Blue Cellophane

4. My Heart Sings

7. The Mooche

11. Frantic Fantasy

12. It Don't Mean A Thing

15. The Kissing Bug

16. Everything But You

18. Prelude To A Kiss

19. Caravan

20. Black And Tan Fantasy

Disc 4

2. Harlem Air Shaft

3. The Minor Goes A Muggin'

4. In A Sentimental Mood

5. It Don't Mean A Thing

6. Sophisticated Lady

7. Tonight I Shall Sleep

8. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart

9. Solitude

10. Frankie And Johnny

11. Jumpin Room Only

12. Black Beauty

13. Every Hour On The Hour

14. Hollywood Hangover

15. Kissing Bug

16. In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree

19. Sugar Hill Penthouse

20. Diminuendo In Blue/Crescendo In Blue

x

Track List: Moon Mist

1. Moon Mist

2. What Am I Here For?

3. I Don't Mind

4. Someone

5. My Little Brown Book

6. Main Stem

7. Johnny Come Lately

8. Hayfoot Strawfoot

11. A Slip Of The Lip

12. Sherman Shuffle

x

Track List: Primping For The Prom

2. B Sharp Boston

3. Cop Out

4. Walkin' And Singin' The Blues

5. Suburban Beauty

6. Jingle Bells

8. Snibor

9. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me

10. Progressive Gavotte

x

Track List: Magenta Haze

1. Magenta Haze

2. The Eighth Veil

3. Transblucency

4. Embraceable You

5. Hey, Baby!

6. Come Rain Or Come Shine

7. Overture To A Jam Session

8. Jam-A-Ditty

x

Track List: The Mooche

1. The Mooche

2. Hot And Bothered

3. Take It Easy

4. Jubilee Stomp

5. Blues With A Feeling

6. Misty Mornin'

7. Black And Tan Fantasy

8. Jungle Jamboree

13. Ring Dem Bells

14. Blues Of The Vagabond

x

Track List: Notations

1. Black And Tan Fantasy

2. Mood Indigo

3. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

4. Chelsea Bridge

5. The Mystery Song

6. Across The Track Blues

7. Hiawatha

8. Battle Of Swing

9. Sepia Panorama

10. Old King Dooji

11. Portrait Of The Lion

12. Creole Love Call

13. Hot And Bothered

14. Harlem Air Shaft

15. Jack The Bear

16. Ko-Ko

17. The Mooche

18. Echoes Of The Jungle

19. New East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

20. Concerto For Cootie

21. Dusk

23. Clarinet Lament

24. Blue Serge

x

Track List: Pure Ellington

1. Skin Deep

3. Primpin' For The Prom

6. Satin Doll

7. Cocktails For Two

10. Stormy Weather

11. Three Little Words

12. Orson

13. Boo-Dah

14. Blossom

18. Subtle Slough

20. Echoes Of Harlem

x

Track List: Classics 2

1. March 19th Blues

2. Feet Bone

3. In A Sentimental Mood

5. Jump For Joy

6. Just Scratchin The Surface

7. Prelude To A Kiss

8. Miss Lucy

9. Uncontrived

10. Satin Doll

11. Do Not Disturb

12. Love You Madly

14. Moon Mist

15. Long Time Blues

x

Track List: The Private Collection: Volume Five, The Suites, New York, 1968 & 1970

1. The Degas Suite (Original Movie Score)

2. The River (Original Ballet Score)

x

Track List: The Private Collection: Volume Four, Studio Sessions, New York, 1963

1. Bad Woman

3. Stoona

4. Serenade To Sweden

5. Harmony In Harlem

6. Action In Alexandria

7. Tajm

9. Killian's Lick

10. Blousons Noir

12. Butter And Oleo

13. Got Nobody Now

14. M.G.

16. July 18th Blues

x

Track List: The Private Collection: Volume Ten, Studio Sessions, New York And Chicago, 1965, 1966, 1971

2. Comes Sunday

3. Light

4. West Indian Dance

5. Emancipation Celebration

6. The Blues

7. Cy Runs Rock Waltz

8. Beige

9. Sugar Hill Penthouse

10. Harlem

11. Ad Lib On Nippon

x

Track List: Jazz Profile: Duke Ellington

1. Satin Doll

2. Star Dust

3. One O'Clock Jump

4. Stormy Weather

6. 4:30 Blues

7. In Triplicate

8. Chile Bowl

9. Janet

10. Happy Reunion

11. Caravan

12. Wig Wise

x

Track List: The Great Duke

2. Perdido

3. Solitude

4. Mood Indigo

5. Tenderly

6. Things Ain't What They Used To Be

7. Where Or When

9. Prelude To A Kiss

10. Take The "A" Train

11. The Star-Crossed Lovers

12. In A Sentimental Mood

13. Royal Garden Blues

15. Jack The Bear

16. Willow Weep For Me

17. Jeep's Blues

18. Half The Fun

19. Melancholia

20. Reflections In D

x

Track List: The Ultimate Jazz Archive Set 2: Duke Ellington

2. Rainy Nights

5. Georgia Grind

8. If You Can't Hold The Man You Love

9. Animal Crackers

10. Li'l Farina

11. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

12. Birmingham Breakdown

13. Immigration Blues

14. The Creeper

15. New Orleans Low-Down

16. Song Of The Cotton Field

17. Hop Head

x

Track List: Caravan

1. The Clothed Woman

2. Tip Toe Topic

3. Tonk

4. Frankie And Johnny

5. Things Ain't What They Used To Be

9. Rent Party Blues

11. Charlie The Chulo

12. Caravan

13. Good Queen Bess

15. Menelik (The Lion Of Judah)

16. A Lull At Dawn

18. Jeep's Blues

19. Blues

21. Mood Indigo * / Solitude **

22. Sophisticated Lady * / In A Sentimental Mood **

x

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

x

Track List: Blue Harlem

2. Sophisticated Lady

3. East St Louis Toodle-Oo

4. Black And Tan Fantasy

5. Drop Me Off In Harlem

7. Daybreak Express

8. Ko-Ko

9. Blue Harlem

11. Harlem Air Shaft

13. How High The Moon

14. Hyde Park

16. Pretty Woman

17. In A Mellotone

18. Perdido

19. Just Squeeze Me

20. Hot And Bothered

x

Track List: The Essential Duke Ellington

Disc 1

1. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

2. Black And Tan Fantasy

3. Take It Easy

4. Hot And Bothered

5. The Mooche

6. Rockin' In Rhythm

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

9. Creole Love Call

10. Sophisticated Lady

11. Drop Me Off In Harlem

12. Solitude

13. In A Sentimental Mood

16. Echoes Of Harlem

17. Caravan

19. Diminuendo In Blue

20. Crescendo In Blue

Disc 2

1. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart

2. Pyramid

3. Prelude To A Kiss

5. Mood Indigo

6. Ko-Ko

7. Don't Get Around Much Anymore

8. Cotton Tail

9. Take The "A" Train

10. Harlem Air-Shaft

13. Perdido

14. Come Sunday

15. Jeep's Blues

16. Black Beauty

17. Arabesque Cookie

x

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)

x

Track List: The Jazz Biography: Duke Ellington

1. Rockin' In Rhythm

2. Take The "A" Train

3. Flamingo

4. Bakiff

5. Banquet

6. Agra

8. Depk

9. Flying Home

10. Happy Reunion

11. Tulip Or Turnip (Tell Me, Tell Me Dream Face)

12. Isfahan

13. Jam With Sam

14. Sophisticated Lady

15. The Hawk Talks

16. The Opener

17. Satin Doll

x

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

x

Track List: The Memorial Album

1. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart

2. Stompy Jones

3. Caravan

4. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

5. Play The Blues And Go

6. Hollywood Hangover

7. Main Stem

8. Hop, Skip, Jump

9. Midriff

10. Lullaby Of Birdland

11. Perdido

12. Take The "A" Train

13. Mood Indigo

14. Creole Love Call

x

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

x

Track List: Duke Ellington Swings Part 1

1. Limehouse Blues

2. Echoes Of The Jungle

3. Hot Feet

4. It's Glory

5. The Mystery Song

7. Stevedore Stomp

8. Cotton Club Stomp

9. Dinah

10. Bugle Call Rag

11. Misty Mornin'

12. Arabian Lover

14. Saratoga Swing

16. The Duke Steps Out

17. Haunted Nights

x

Track List: At The Hurricane

1. Take The "A" Train

2. Hayfoot Strawfoot

3. It Can't Be Wrong

4. What Am I Here For?

5. Mainstem

6. Could It Be You?

7. Goin' Up

8. Don't Get Around Much Anymore

9. Nevada

10. Things Ain't What They Used To Be

11. Take The "A" Train

12. Don't Get Around Much Any More

13. Mainstem

14. I Don't Want Anybody At All

15. Johnny Come Lately

16. Things Ain't What They Used To Be

17. Moon Mist

18. You'll Never Know

19. Tonight I Shall Sleep

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

21. Don't Get Around Much Anymore

22. Moon Mist

x

Track List: Never No Lament - 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. 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

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

x

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

x

Track List: Duke Ellington's Finest Hour

1. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo (1st Version)

2. Black And Tan Fantasy

3. Jubilee Stomp

4. Black Beauty (2nd Take)

5. The Mooche

6. Rent Party Blues

7. Double Check Stomp

8. Mood Indigo

9. Creole Rhapsody (Pt. 1)

10. Creole Rhapsody - Pt. 2 (Take A)

11. Stompy Jones (Feat. Johnny Hodges) (1958)

12. Self Portrait (Of The Bean)

13. In A Sentimental Mood (Feat. John Coltrane) (1962)

14. Take The A Train (Feat. Cootie Williams) (Live From Cote D'Azur/1966)

15. Prelude To A Kiss (Live 7/28/66-Cote D'Azur)

16. Sophisticated Lady / Solitude (Live (Whitney Museum))

17. Satin Doll (Live 1972 / Whitney Museum)

x

Track List: West Coast Swing

3. Ting A Ling

4. Johnny Come Lately

6. Margie

7. Moonlight Fiesta

8. Tenderly

9. Black Beauty

10. The Jeep Is Jumpin'

12. Basin Street Blues

13. One O'Clock Jump

x

Track List: At Fargo 1940 Special 60th Anniversary Edition

Disc 1

1. It's Glory

2. The Mooche

3. The Sheik Of Araby

4. Sepia Panorama

5. Ko-Ko

6. There Shall Be No Night

7. P**sy Willow

8. Chatterbox

9. Mood Indigo

10. Harlem Air Shaft

11. Ferryboat Serenade

12. Warm Valley

13. Stompy Jones

14. Chloe

15. Bojangles

16. On The Air

17. Rumpus In Richmond

18. Chaser

19. The Sidewalks Of New York

20. The Flaming Sword

21. Never No Lament

22. Caravan

23. Clarinet Lament

Disc 2

1. Slap Happy

2. Sepia Panorama

3. Boy Meets Horn

4. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans

5. Oh Babe, Maybe Someday

6. Five O'Clock Whistle

7. Fanfare

8. Call Of The Canyon

9. Rockin' In Rhythm

10. Sophisticated Lady

11. Cotton Tail

12. Whispering Grass

13. Conga Brava

14. I Never Felt This Way Before

15. Across The Track Blue

16. Honeysuckle Rose

17. Wham

18. Star Dust

19. Rose Of The Rio Grande

20. St. Louis Blues

21. Warm Valley

22. God Bless America

x

Track List: Mood Indigo

Disc 1

1. Mood Indigo

2. Black And Tan Fantasy

3. Limehouse Blues

4. The Mooche

5. Diga Diga Do

6. Cotton Club Stomp

7. Jubilee Stomp

8. Washington Wobble

9. I Can't Give You Anything But Love

Disc 2

1. Ring Dem Bells

3. Keep A Song In Your Soul

4. Black Beauty

5. Rockin' In Rhythm

6. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

7. Creole Rhapsody

8. High Life

9. Memories Of You

x

Track List: In A Sentimental Mood

1. My Little Brown Book

2. Big Nick

3. Take The Coltrane

6. The Feeling Of Jazz

7. In A Sentimental Mood

x

Track List: Take The A Train

1. Take The "A" Train

2. Sophisticated Lady

3. Satin Doll

4. Colortura

5. Frankie & Johnny

6. Blue Skies

7. Come Rain Or Come Shine

8. On The Sunny Side Of The Street

9. Tea For Two

10. Perdido

11. How High The Moon

12. East St. Louis Toodle Oo

15. Caravan

16. Pretty Woman

17. One O'Clock Jump

18. Mood Indigo

x

Track List: The Duke In Washington

1. Duke Ellington's Introduction (Live In Washington DC)

2. I Wonder Why (Live In Washington DC)

3. Goin' Up (Live In Washington DC)

4. Announcer & Ellington Introduction (Live In Washington DC)

5. G I Jive (Live In Washington DC)

6. Amor Amor (Live In Washington DC)

7. Frankie And Johnny (Live In Washington DC)

8. The Blues (Live In Washington DC)

9. Sono (Live In Washington DC)

10. (A Tone Parallel To) Harlem (Live In Washington DC)

11. Perdido (Live In Washington DC)

12. All The Things You Are (Live In Washington DC)

13. Happy Go Lucky (Live In Washington DC)

14. Take The A Train (Live In Washington DC)

15. A Single Petal Of A Rose (Live In Washington DC)

16. Pat (Live In Washington DC)

x

Track List: Blues And Ballads

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

x

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

x

Track List: Duke Ellington Vol. 5

1. The Mooche

2. Ring Dem Bells

3. Frustration

4. Colortura

5. Rose Of The Rio Grande

6. Love You Madly

7. Harlem Speaks

8. Caravan

10. Jam With Sam

11. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me

12. One O'Clock Jump

13. Take The "A" Train

14. Crosstown

15. Passion Flower

16. Perdido

17. Pretty Woman

18. 920 Special

19. Moon Mist

20. How High The Moon

x

Track List: The Age Of Ellington

Disc 1

1. Take The "A" Train

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

3. Sophisticated Lady

4. Perdido

5. Solitude

6. Cottontail

7. Concerto For Cootie

8. Mood Indigo

9. C Jam Blues

10. Prelude To A Kiss

11. Caravan

12. Things Ain't What They Used To Be

13. Don't Get Around Much Anymore

14. Jump For Joy

15. Chelsea Bridge

16. Take The "A" Train

Disc 2

1. Black And Tan Fantasy

2. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

3. Creole Love Call

4. Transblucency

5. Jack The Bear

7. Sepia Panorama

8. Conga Brava

9. Rockabye River

10. Blood Count

11. Rain Check

12. Lotus Blossom

14. A New World A' Coming

Disc 3
x

Track List: First Time! The Count Meets The Duke

10. Take the "A" Train ((The Count Departs) [Rehearsal & Alternate Takes])

x

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