Ellington, Duke in Oxford Music Online


Oxford Music Online

1 of 7

5/23/13 4:26 PM

Ko-Ko and Cotton Tail (all 1940. DC.com.edu/subscriber/article/grove/music/08731 Ellington. in particular Concerto for Cootie.du. But the previous stability of personnel declined and Ellington’s writing. The group went to Hollywood to appear in the film Check and Double Check (1930) and in New York made about 200 recordings. which played at the Hollywood and Kentucky clubs on Broadway. In the mid-1940s the orchestra was enlarged again: by 1946 it included 18 players. performed in many American cities and made highly successful concert tours of Europe in 1933 and 1939. Tricky Sam Nanton (trombone). The orchestra grew to 12 musicians.oxfordmusiconline. Other ambitious works followed. His first visit to New York. His foreign tours became increasingly About the Index frequent and successful Show related links Search across all sources 2 of 7 5/23/13 4:26 PM . 1927.) reveal growing originality. including Barney Bigard (clarinet). Duke [Edward Kennedy] (b Washington. Ben Webster (tenor saxophone) and most notably Billy Strayhorn. Fred Guy replaced Snowden on banjo. His band. Snowden (banjo) and Artie Whetsol (trumpet). Otto Hardwick (saxophones). the development of the long-playing record allowed him to create other multi-movement suites. but on Fats Waller’s advice he moved there later that year with Elmer Snowden’s Washington band. Life. at the age of 17 he made his professional debut. was gradually enlarged to a ten-piece orchestra by the addition of Bubber Miley (trumpet). composer and second pianist. Johnny Hodges (saxophone) and Cootie Williams (trumpet). many in the ‘jungle style’ that was one of Ellington’s and Miley’s most individual creations. Bruns.edu/subscriber/. Duke in Oxford Music Online http://0-www. consisting now of six brass instruments.bianca. four reeds and a four-man rhythm section. The decade from 1932 to 1942 was Ellington’s most creative. The success of Mood Indigo (1930. Between 1923 and 1927 this small group.du. the Washingtonians: Sonny Greer (drums). 1. He began to study the piano when he was seven and was much influenced by the ragtime pianists. Bruns. American jazz composer. ended in financial failure. After Ellington abandoned these concerts in 1952.penlib. Ellington’s father was a butler and intended him to become an artist. 1926.. began to suffer from the constant changes. Rudy Jackson (clarinet and tenor saxophone) and Wellman Braud (double bass). In January 1943 Ellington inaugurated a series of annual concerts at Carnegie Hall with his monumental work Black. At this time Ellington created several outstanding short works. During the following period (1927–30). later to be followed by Reminiscing in Tempo (1935. Bruns. as arranger. The band’s early recordings (East St Louis Toodle-oo.). Vic. Harry Carney (baritone saxophone). a ‘tone parallel’ originally conceived in five sections and intended to portray the history of the black people in the USA through their music.) and Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue (1937. Some excellent soloists. From 1950 Ellington continued to expand the scope of his compositions and his activities as a bandleader [not available online]. in early 1923.penlib..com. Brown and Beige. and Black and Tan Fantasy. however. 29 April 1899. He was for decades a leading figure in big-band jazz and remains the most significant composer of the genre. Vic. Ellington began to share with Louis Armstrong the leading position in the jazz world. and in 1931 he began experiments in extended composition with Creole Rhapsody (Bruns. Vic.Ellington.). based on his members’ individual styles.. at the Cotton Club in Harlem. Shorty Baker (trumpet) and Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet). Duke article url: http://0-www. 24 May 1974).). Grove Music Online Ellington.) brought Ellington worldwide fame. In 1939–40 there were more important additions to the band: Jimmy Blanton (double bass). were added: Ray Nance (trumpet and violin).oxfordmusiconline. d New York. bandleader and pianist.bianca.

He also had a singular gift for devising orchestral accompaniments for improvisation.penlib. About the Index Show related links Search across all sources 3 of 7 5/23/13 4:26 PM . A documentary film of Ellington and his orchestra. This partly explains why even Ellington’s finest soloists seemed lustreless after leaving his orchestra. In the early and mid-1920s orchestral jazz arrangements were rudimentary.). Azure (1937.Ellington. Ellington directed his band until his death. He also made recordings with younger jazz musicians such as John Coltrane. During the formative Cotton Club period Ellington was obliged to work in a variety of musical categories: numbers for dancing. tonal effects and unusual voicings that became the hallmark of his style. UA). and this was followed by other ‘sacred services’. composed his first full-length film score. Remarkably. Ko-Ko (1940. Ellington developed an extraordinary symbiotic relationship with his orchestra – it was his ‘instrument’ even more than the piano – enabling him to experiment with the timbral colourings. popular songs. as well as ‘pure’ instrumental jazz compositions. In this he was greatly aided and influenced by the extraordinary expressive and technical capabilities of his two principal brass players. Charles Mingus and Max Roach (Money Jungle. for Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder(1959). his orchestra was a workshop in which he consulted his players and tried out alternative solutions. Saddest Tale (1934.. in which the traditional roles of the three front-line instruments in New Orleans collective improvisation – clarinet (high-register obbligato). Among his numerous awards and honours were doctorates from Howard University (1963) and Yale University (1967) and the Presidential Medal of Honor (1969). But Ellington (along with Don Redman. Delta Serenade (1934.bianca. though no two players in Ellington’s orchestra sounded alike. Fletcher Henderson and John Nesbitt) developed an elaborate. Ellington taught himself harmony at the piano and acquired the rudiments of orchestration by experimenting with his band. On the Road with Duke Ellington. the ‘Ellington effect’ (Strayhorn’s term) was virtually inimitable because it depended in large part on the particular timbre and style of each player. Bubber Miley and Tricky Sam Nanton.oxfordmusiconline. the plunger-muted trombone functions as a high-register second voice. too.. These often pungent sonorities.du.). jungle-style and production numbers. when blended or juxtaposed with the smoother sounds of the saxophone. Vic) and Moon Mist (1942. and the clarinet sounds more than an octave below in its chalumeau register. An outstanding early example of the ‘Ellington effect’ may be heard on Mood Indigo (1930). trumpet (melody or theme) and trombone (bass or tenor counterthemes) – are inverted so that the muted trumpet plays on top. During this period. serving only the simplest functions of dance music. Duke in Oxford Music Online http://0-www. Dusk (1940. San Francisco (1965). narrator. diversified concept of arranging.edu/subscriber/. they could.). 2.).com. Faced with the formal problem posed by jazz arrangement – how best to integrate solo improvisation – Ellington learnt to exploit expertly the contrast produced by the soloist’s entry. 1962. and in 1971 he became the first jazz musician to be named a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. for Alain René Le Sage’s Turcaret (1960). which incorporated the essence of the current ‘hot’ style of solo improvisation. In his last decade Ellington wrote mostly liturgical music: In the Beginning God (for a standard jazz orchestra. Vic. Bruns. when it was taken over by his son Mercer Ellington. ‘blue’ or ‘mood’ pieces. so as to project him into the music’s movement and entrust him with its development.). and his first incidental music. in 1970 he was made a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. except perhaps Sy Oliver and Gil Evans. provided Ellington with an orchestral palette more colourful and varied than that of any other orchestra of the time (with the possible exception of Paul Whiteman’s). Vic. when called upon. produce the most ravishing blends and ensembles of sonority known to jazz.). two soloists and dancer) was performed in Grace Cathedral. Subtle Lament (1939. Vic. Vic. Master). Bruns. who were both experts of the so-called growl and plunger style. no arrangers. Style and musical language. chorus. have imagined instrumental combinations as beautiful as those of Mystery Song (1931. was made in 1974.

they lacked the organizational abilities necessary to create and maintain a permanent orchestral vehicle. several musical comedies.1). His piano tone. Vic. a feeder of ideas and rhythmic energy to the band as a whole or to its soloists. An outstanding example of his work as a pianist-composer is Clothed Woman (1947. Col. is one of the most remarkable pieces in all of Ellington’s writing.m. The excerpt from Ko-Ko (ex. In Cotton Tail. He also wrote a Piano Method for Blues (New York. In this unobtrusive role. many film scores and an incomplete and unperformed opera. Ellington combined a flair for orchestration with extraordinary gifts as a bandleader. large-scale suites. including hundreds of three-minute instrumental pieces (for 78 r. Ellington is generally recognized as the most important composer in jazz history. he was known for remaining silent during entire choruses or indeed pieces.. showing a preoccupation with form far in advance of his contemporaries.du.2 From Ko-Ko (1940.).oxfordmusiconline. it had the ability to energize and inspire the entire orchestra. for instance – Ellington could on occasion vie with the best players. 1943). Ex. thematic recall and mottoes) as well as symphonic proportions in its several sections. Col.edu/subscriber/. but is estimated at about 2000. himself as a soloist with his orchestra. Compositions. G. the exact number of his compositions is unknown. Schuller 3. while other jazz composers had comparable talent.3)..bianca. In Concerto for Cootie. showing the orchestration of a passage from an ensemble section. Although he was an erratic soloist in his early years and sometimes relied on pianistic clichés – incessant downward-fluttering arpeggios. About the Index Show related links Search across all sources 4 of 7 5/23/13 4:26 PM . from the same period.). Schuller (all parts notated at sounding pitch) Courtesy of Gunther Schuller Ellington was one of the first musicians to concern himself with composition and musical form in jazz – as distinct from improvisation. Charles Mingus and Gil Evans) have followed Ellington in this respect. tune writing and arranging. Boola. Most of the enormous number of works he recorded are his own. Ex. produced deep in the keys.p. He saw himself primarily as a catalyst and an accompanist. ten-bar phrases are combined into a complex ternary form which abandons the chorus structure common to most jazz. recordings). transcr. Duke in Oxford Music Online http://0-www. G.com. transcr. playing only when necessary.penlib.2). it is thus perhaps unique among Ellington’s earlier works. Only a few jazz musicians (among them Thelonious Monk. he was nevertheless a remarkably individual contributor to the overall ‘Ellington effect’.). popular songs (many consisting of instrumental pieces to which lyrics by Irving Mills and others were added).1 Introduction to Clothed Woman (1947. remarkable for its virtually complete atonality (ex. Black.Ellington. was the richest and most resonant imaginable. Ellington made use of a call-and-response technique of writing in order to heighten the drama of the last climactic chorus (ex. Brown and Beige uses symphonic devices (the fragmentation and development of motifs.

ed. Serious study of Ellington’s oeuvre has also been hampered by an almost total absence to date of his scores in published form.E. and that he worked best in the miniature forms dictated by the three-minute ten-inch disc. 1966–83) W. ed. Lambert: Duke Ellington (London. vi. transcr.M. Green (South Brunswick. But it is generally agreed that he attained the zenith of his creativity in the late 1930s and early 1940s. 1946) J. 3/1988) O. many of the late-period extended compositions and multimovement suites generally suffering.penlib. Nielsen: Jazz Records. Stratemann: Duke Ellington: Day by Day and Film by Film (Copenhagen.oxfordmusiconline.. and the work in recent years of Wynton Marsalis and his Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra’s championing of Ellington’s late work has led to a more favourable assessment in many quarters. Ulanov: Duke Ellington (New York. However. Valburn: Duke Ellington on Compact Disc (Hicksville. Gammond. despite their occasional visionary inspirations. E. 1946/R) P. repr. 1959). Massagli. de Trazegnies: Duke Ellington: Harlem Aristocrat of Jazz (Brussels.E.com. c1992) J. from a diminished.). in recent years the newly acquired holdings of several hundred thousand sheets of Ellington’s scores and parts at the Smithsonian Institute has at last provided easier access to the immensity of Ellington’s oeuvre. NJ.du.bianca.edu/subscriber/. 1946) B. Vic. Preston: Mood Indigo (Egham. But even ‘lesser’ Ellington is bound to be of above-average quality. 1989) K. S. NJ. 1993) Biographies D. His creativity declined somewhat after the 1940s.Ellington. in Kings of Jazz. NY. 1958/R) G. ed. Timner: Ellingtonia: the Recorded Music of Duke Ellington and his Sidemen (Metuchen. Ex.3 From the fifth chorus of Cotton Tail (1940. G. Schuller (all parts notated at sounding pitch) Courtesy of Gunther Schuller Ellington’s prodigious productivity makes an overview of his work virtually impossible. About the Index Show related links Search across all sources 5 of 7 5/23/13 4:26 PM . having thus to rely on transcriptions from recordings. Volonté: Duke Ellington’s Story on Records (Milan. 1942–80: a Discography. L. Rabin (Copenhagen. Pusateri and G. less consistent originality and hasty work.: Duke Ellington: his Life and Music (London. Bibliography Search RILM Discographies and film guides L. Duke in Oxford Music Online http://0-www.J. mostly occasioned by incessant touring..

Giants of Jazz: Duke Ellington. George: The Real Duke Ellington (London. suivi de La religion du jazz (Paris. Huon pubd separately. 1987) General studies and essays R. Jewell: Duke: a Portrait of Duke Ellington (London. pp. Hentoff. JR. Bessie. Stewart: Jazz Masters of the Thirties (New York.du. seine Musik. Carmen. Dizzy and other Heroes (Boston.F. 1954. 1971) [collection of previously pubd articles and reviews] L. trans.. rev. Bird. 1973. ii/3 (1959). Billie. Balliett: Ecstasy at the Onion (New York.J. 1982) H. 1975). Miles. ‘A Ducal Calendar 1952–1974’. Disques [Philadelphia]. 2/1982) D. 1983) P. S. de Toledano: Frontiers of Jazz (New York. i (1955). as Jazz: its Evolution and Essence) M. Clar: ‘The Style of Duke Ellington’.bianca. index by H. no.26–7.oxfordmusiconline. Melbourne. 1987) [incl.D. seine Schallplatten (Gauting. no. eds. 153–266 [incl. Morgenstern: disc notes. 28–30 N.. Ellington and S. ii/2 (1956).. NY. 1993) Musical analyses A. 9–11. c1977. Collier: Duke Ellington (New York. 169–262] M. 6–10 About the Index Show related links Search across all sources 6 of 7 5/23/13 4:26 PM . Dance: Duke Ellington in Person: an Intimate Memoir (Boston. Gammond: Duke Ellington (London.28–30. Ellington: Music is my Mistress (Garden City.: The Duke Ellington Reader (New York. c1972) A. 1972) R.: The Jazz Makers: Essays of the Greats of Jazz (New York.edu/subscriber/. JazzM.com. McCarthy: Big Band Jazz (New York. pp. Tucker.Ellington. Bellerby: ‘Duke Ellington’. 1947.l0. 1977. 1956/R. Hodier: Hommes et problèmes du jazz. ed.L. iii/4 (1932–3). Eng. Feather: From Satchmo to Miles (New York. Ruland: Duke Ellington: sein Leben.penlib. 1957/R) W. Shapiro and N. Dance: The World of Duke Ellington (London. Gleason: Celebrating the Duke: and Louis. 2/1979. Dance and D. 1978) D. 31. TL J02 (1978) M.9. 1970/R) [collection of previously pubd articles and interviews] D. 152–61 R. Darrell: ‘Black Beauty’. Duke in Oxford Music Online http://0-www. discography] J. 2/1978) S. 2/1962) V. i/12 (1956). 1974/R) R.

Ellington. Montreal André Hodeir/Gunther Schuller Copyright © Oxford University Press 2007 — 2013. xvii/2 (1964).12. xxvii/11 (1974). Composer.W.53 (1974–5).J. 2–4 E.l4: Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite’. Cohen: ‘Black. xxii/11 (1969). Bishop: ‘The Protean Imagination of Duke Ellington: the Early Years’. Into Jazz. xxiv (1971). About the Index Show related links Search across all sources 7 of 7 5/23/13 4:26 PM .J. Priestley: ‘Duke Ellington’s Greatest Recordings and the Far East Suite’. JJ. Schuller: ‘The Ellington Style: its Origins and Early Development’. M. JazzM. JJ. JJ. Lambert: ‘Quality Jazz.du. ii/10 (1959). Sheridan: ‘Piano in the Background’. no.com. Schuller: ‘Duke Ellington: Master Composer’. no. recordings and other material in US-DN. Bishop: ‘Duke’s ‘Creole Rhapsody’. 35–6 M. xv/1 (1969).penlib.oxfordmusiconline. Bishop: ‘Reminiscing in Tempo: an Analysis’. 17–19 A. 1989). JJ. collection of scores in George P. 12–15 A.. Lambert: ‘Duke Ellington on Reprise’. pp. 6 G. no. 1964/R) W. Priestley and A. Schuller: Musings (New York. Duke in Oxford Music Online http://0-www. 5–6 W. JazzM. 1966) G. Harrison: ‘Duke Ellington: Reflections on Some of the Larger Works’.12–14 M. Mellers: Music in a New Found Land: Themes and Developments in the History of American Music (London. JJ. JR.. 29–32 C. no. no. 12–13 M. 18–19 B.10. 33–7. 46–157 Oral history material in US-NH. JazzM. i/6 (1974). Brown and Beige’.51 (1974). 1968/R). Elliott: ‘Duke and the Blues’. pp.edu/subscriber/. 29–32. The Swing Era: the Development of Jazz. 11 only B.52 (1974). iii/3 (1960). Harrison: ‘Ellington’s Back to Back’. Early Jazz: its Roots and Musical Development (New York. Austin: Music in the 20th Century: from Debussy through Stravinsky (New York. no. Vanier Library of Cancordia University. 1986).2–4. JR. ix/11 (1963–4). xxii/5 (1969). ix/9 (1963–4). Harrison: ‘The Anatomy of a Murder Music’. 1930–1945 (New York.bianca. 47–59 G. 318–57 E. 24–5 A.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful