Duke Ellington

EllingtonDuke Ellington OrchestraThe Duke Ellington OrchestraDukeDuke Ellington BandEdward Kennedy "Duke" EllingtonDuke Ellington and His OrchestraD. EllingtonEllington, DukeDuke Ellington & His Orchestra
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than six decades.wikipedia
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Johnny Hodges

HodgesJ. Hodges
Some of the jazz musicians who were members of Ellington's orchestra, such as saxophonist Johnny Hodges, are considered to be among the best players in the idiom.
Cornelius "Johnny" Hodges (July 25, 1907 – May 11, 1970) was an American alto saxophonist, best known for solo work with Duke Ellington's big band.

Cotton Club

The Cotton Clubfamed Harlem clubHarlem Cotton Club
Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward and gained a national profile through his orchestra's appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem.
Black People could not initially patronize the Cotton Club, but the venue featured many of the most popular black entertainers of the era, including musicians Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Chick Webb, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Fats Waller, Willie Bryant; vocalists Adelaide Hall, Ethel Waters, Cab Calloway, Bessie Smith, Aida Ward, Avon Long, the Dandridge Sisters, the Will Vodery Choir, The Mills Brothers, Nina Mae McKinney, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, and dancers such as Katherine Dunham, Bill Robinson, The Nicholas Brothers, Charles 'Honi' Coles, Leonard Reed, Stepin Fetchit, the Berry Brothers, The Four Step Brothers, Jeni Le Gon and Earl Snakehips Tucker.

Caravan (Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington song)

CaravanCaravan (1937 song)Caravan Suite
Ellington also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, for example Juan Tizol's "Caravan", and "Perdido", which brought a Spanish tinge to big band jazz.
"Caravan" is an American jazz standard that was composed by Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington and first performed by Ellington in 1936.

Jazz

jazz musicContemporary jazzModern Jazz
Although widely considered to have been a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington embraced the phrase "beyond category" as a liberating principle and referred to his music as part of the more general category of American Music rather than to a musical genre such as jazz.
Duke Ellington, one of jazz's most famous figures, said, "It's all music."

Billy Strayhorn

StrayhornBilly StrayhdornStrayhorn, Billy
In the early 1940s, Ellington began a nearly thirty-year collaboration with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his writing and arranging companion.
William Thomas Strayhorn (November 29, 1915 – May 31, 1967) was an American jazz composer, pianist, lyricist, and arranger, best remembered for his long-time collaboration with bandleader and composer Duke Ellington that lasted nearly three decades.

Juan Tizol

Tizol Juan Tizol
Ellington also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, for example Juan Tizol's "Caravan", and "Perdido", which brought a Spanish tinge to big band jazz.
He is best known as a member of Duke Ellington's band, and as the co-writer of the jazz standards "Caravan", "Pyramid" and "Perdido".

Pulitzer Prize Special Citations and Awards

special Pulitzer PrizeJournalismSpecial Citation
His reputation continued to rise after he died, and he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize Special Award for music in 1999.
The Pulitzer Foundation has stated that the Special Citations given to George Gershwin, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Duke Ellington were in response to criticism for the failure of the Foundation to cite the four.

Perdido (song)

PerdidoPerdido (Lost)Perdido" (song)
Ellington also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, for example Juan Tizol's "Caravan", and "Perdido", which brought a Spanish tinge to big band jazz.
"Perdido" is a jazz standard composed by Juan Tizol that was recorded on December 3, 1941 by Duke Ellington.

James P. Johnson

James Price JohnsonJimmy JohnsonJames P Johnson
Ellington was also inspired by his first encounters with stride pianists James P. Johnson and Luckey Roberts.
As such, he was a model for Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, and Fats Waller.

Otto Hardwick

Toby HardwickOtto HardwickeOtto "Toby" Hardwick
The band included childhood friend Otto Hardwick, who began playing the string bass, then moved to C-melody sax and finally settled on alto saxophone; Arthur Whetsol on trumpet; Elmer Snowden on banjo; and Sonny Greer on drums.
Otto James "Toby" Hardwicke (May 31, 1904 – August 5, 1970) was a saxophone player associated with Duke Ellington.

Arthur Whetsel

Arthur Whetsol
The band included childhood friend Otto Hardwick, who began playing the string bass, then moved to C-melody sax and finally settled on alto saxophone; Arthur Whetsol on trumpet; Elmer Snowden on banjo; and Sonny Greer on drums.
Arthur Parker Whetsel (February 22, 1905 – May 1, 1940) was an early "sweet" trumpeter for Duke Ellington's Washingtonians.

Sonny Greer

In 1919 he met drummer Sonny Greer from New Jersey, who encouraged Ellington's ambition to become a professional musician.
William Alexander "Sonny" Greer (December 13, c. 1895 – March 23, 1982) was an American jazz drummer and vocalist, best known for his work with Duke Ellington.

Big band

big bandsbig-bandbig band music
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than six decades.
Duke Ellington led his band at the Cotton Club in Harlem.

Elmer Snowden

Snowden, Elmer
The band included childhood friend Otto Hardwick, who began playing the string bass, then moved to C-melody sax and finally settled on alto saxophone; Arthur Whetsol on trumpet; Elmer Snowden on banjo; and Sonny Greer on drums.
Unable to get a booking, Snowden sent for Duke Ellington, who was with the group when it recorded three test sides for Victor that remain unissued and are, presumably, lost.

Adelaide Hall

In 1925, Ellington contributed four songs to Chocolate Kiddies starring Lottie Gee and Adelaide Hall, an all-African-American revue which introduced European audiences to African-American styles and performers.
She performed with major artists such as Art Tatum, Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Fela Sowande, Rudy Vallee and Jools Holland, and recorded as a jazz singer with Duke Ellington (with whom she made her most famous recording, "Creole Love Call" in 1927) and with Fats Waller.

Spanish Tinge

Latin style
Ellington also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, for example Juan Tizol's "Caravan", and "Perdido", which brought a Spanish tinge to big band jazz.

Newport Jazz Festival

JVC Jazz FestivalKool Jazz FestivalNewport
Following an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, in July 1956, Ellington and his orchestra enjoyed a major revival and embarked on world tours.
An expanded format involved multiple venues, including Yankee Stadium and Radio City Music Hall, and comprised 30 concerts with 62 performers including Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Roberta Flack, and Dizzy Gillespie.

Columbia Records

ColumbiaCBSCBS Records
From the beginning of their relationship, Mills arranged recording sessions on nearly every label including Brunswick, Victor, Columbia, OKeh, Pathê (and its Perfect label), the ARC/Plaza group of labels (Oriole, Domino, Jewel, Banner) and their dime-store labels (Cameo, Lincoln, Romeo), Hit of the Week, and Columbia's cheaper labels (Harmony, Diva, Velvet Tone, Clarion) labels which gave Ellington popular recognition.
Artists who have recorded for Columbia include AC/DC, Adele, Aerosmith, Louis Armstrong, Gene Autry, Count Basie, Nora Bayes, Bix Beiderbecke, Tony Bennett, Leonard Bernstein, Beyoncé, Blue Öyster Cult, Dave Brubeck, The Byrds, Mariah Carey, Pablo Casals, Johnny Cash, The Clash, The Cleveland Orchestra, Rosemary Clooney, Leonard Cohen, Ornette Coleman, Elvis Costello, Miles Davis, Neil Diamond, Celine Dion, Bob Dylan, Earth, Wind & Fire, Duke Ellington, 50 Cent, Flatt and Scruggs, Erroll Garner, Benny Goodman, Glenn Gould, Adelaide Hall, Herbie Hancock, Lauryn Hill, Billie Holiday, Vladimir Horowitz, Billy Joel, Blind Willie Johnson, Robert Johnson, Al Jolson, Janis Joplin, Andre Kostelanetz, Yo-Yo Ma, Johnny Mathis, John Mayer, George Michael, Mitch Miller, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Billy Murray, Willie Nelson, The New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Pink Floyd, Santana, Frank Sinatra, Simon and Garfunkel, Bessie Smith, John Philip Sousa, Bruce Springsteen, Igor Stravinsky, Barbra Streisand, System of a Down, James Taylor, Bonnie Tyler, Ethel Waters, Weather Report, Paul Whiteman, Andy Williams, Bert Williams, Pharrell Williams, Bob Wills, and Bill Withers.

Mildred Dixon

(Here he moved in with a dancer, his second wife Mildred Dixon).
Mildred Dixon (November 21, 1904 –September 18, 2001 ) was a dancer at the Cotton Club in Harlem who became a longtime companion of composer and musician Duke Ellington, and manager of his company.

It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

It Don't Mean a ThingIt Don’t Mean a ThingIt Don't Mean a Thing (If I Ain't Got That Swing)
She is the vocalist on "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" (1932) among other recordings.
"It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" is a 1931 composition by Duke Ellington, whose lyrics were written by Irving Mills.

Harlem

Harlem, New YorkHarlem, New York CityHarlem, NY
When his drummer Sonny Greer was invited to join the Wilber Sweatman Orchestra in New York City, Ellington left his successful career in D.C. and moved to Harlem, ultimately becoming part of the Harlem Renaissance.
Some jazz venues, including the Cotton Club, where Duke Ellington played, and Connie's Inn, were restricted to whites only.

Mood Indigo

Duke Ellington Medley: Mood Indigo
The other records of this era include: "Mood Indigo" (1930), "Sophisticated Lady" (1933), "Solitude" (1934), and "In a Sentimental Mood" (1935)
"Mood Indigo" is a jazz song with music by Duke Ellington and Barney Bigard and lyrics by Irving Mills.

Black and Tan Fantasy

Miley had composed most of "Creole Love Call" and "Black and Tan Fantasy".
"Black and Tan Fantasy" is a 1927 jazz composition by Duke Ellington and Bubber Miley.

Sophisticated Lady

Duke Ellington Medley: Sophisticated Lady
The other records of this era include: "Mood Indigo" (1930), "Sophisticated Lady" (1933), "Solitude" (1934), and "In a Sentimental Mood" (1935)
"Sophisticated Lady" is a jazz standard, composed as an instrumental in 1932 by Duke Ellington.

Hoagy Carmichael

CarmichaelH. CarmichaelBlue Orchids
Mills had an eye for new talent and published compositions by Hoagy Carmichael, Dorothy Fields, and Harold Arlen early in their careers.
In New York, Carmichael met Duke Ellington's agent and sheet music publisher, Irving Mills, and hired him to set up recording dates.