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Jazz Articles about Duke Ellington

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Album Review

Duke Ellington: Duke Ellington Copenhagen 1958 (Bonus: After Hours 1950)

Read "Duke Ellington Copenhagen 1958 (Bonus: After Hours 1950)" reviewed by Jack Kenny


Duke Ellington hated flying so, in 1958, Ellington and Co sailed into Southampton UK to prepare for a tour of Europe. Before going on to Copenhagen, Ellington completed a tour of the UK, taking in Leeds where he met Queen Elizabeth, an event which eventually resulted in the “Queen's Suite." Earlier in the year, his strange obsession with royalty had produced a piece for Princess Margaret, “Princess Blue'" The band was particularly strong in this part of its ...

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Play This!

Duke Ellington: Isfahan

Read "Duke Ellington: Isfahan" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Part of Duke Ellington's Far East Suite (1967), “Isfahan" took its inspiration from a visit to the city of Isfahan, Iran, in 1963. Of the ancient city Ellington wrote: “everything is poetry," a sentiment transferred beautifully to this most moving of Strayhorn/Ellington compositions. Curious too, to see Ellington holding the sheet music for soloist Johnny Hodges. The same tour also took the Duke Ellington Orchestra to Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, among other stops. Will such an itinerary ever ...

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Top Ten List

Duke Ellington's Top Ten Albums

Read "Duke Ellington's Top Ten Albums" reviewed by DIG 9000


Duke Ellington, the legendary jazz composer, pianist, and bandleader, released numerous albums throughout his illustrious career. It's challenging to narrow down his extensive discography to just ten, but here are some essential Duke Ellington albums that showcase his incredible talent and contribution to jazz: Ellington at Newport Columbia Records 1956 This live album is one of Ellington's most famous and significant recordings, featuring the iconic performance of “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" with an ...

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Book Excerpts

Jazz Lines: Free Verse In The Key Of Jazz

Read "Jazz Lines: Free Verse In The Key Of Jazz" reviewed by Gloria Krolak


Duke Ellington, composer, arranger, pianist and originator of big-band jazz, wrote “Sweet Jazz O'Mine" in 1930 when the genre was blooming. As a bandleader, Ellington was unsurpassed. He chose his musicians wisely and inspired some of their best work. “Sweet Jazz" is a lively foxtrot celebrating this unorthodox new style that had people dancing and feeling good. What became my poem is a collection of songs about the instruments that make up the whole, the drums, the trombone, the clarinet, ...

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Jazz in Long Form

From Chart to Reality: The Editorial Role of the Pianist in a Big Band

Read "From Chart to Reality: The Editorial Role of the Pianist in a Big Band" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger


Note: This article was first published in the Jazz Education Journal in 2005, and was revised for All About Jazz. Preamble This article was written to address an issue that needed clarification, and indeed still needs clarification almost 20 years later, regarding the vagaries inherent in many of the published big band piano charts in use at hundreds of colleges and high schools. The professional jazz pianist will treat the written part with a great deal of freedom, ...

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Top Ten List

Jazz For The Serious Connoisseur

Read "Jazz For The Serious Connoisseur" reviewed by Phillip A. Haynes


In tackling this top ten list for serious students of jazz, the focus was on works that shocked and intrigued upon first and successive listens, striving to understand their meaning, materials, historical context, and influence on contemporary improvisation. “Blackbird" (1980) by Bobby McFerrin, The Voice (Elektra, 1984) When released, McFerrin's astounding virtuosity represented the first revolution in scat since Ella Fitzgerald. His entertaining and breathtaking “man chorale" approach utilizes rapidly juxtaposed tessituras, changeable vocal characters, integrated ...

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Radio & Podcasts

21 to 40

Read "21 to 40" reviewed by Patrick Burnette


Two fifty is as good an artificial milestone as any, so the boys decide it's time for a GOAT episode. First they wrestle a top-twenty artist list into shape, arguing that there's so much consensus out there little work remains to be done and still taking an hour doing it. Then it's on to the tricky bit—picking out 21 through 40. Totems will get tumbled, weird choices will get made, and hearts will get broken. Mostly Mike's. No pop matters ...


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