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Duke Ellington

The contributions Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington has made to American music cannot be overstated. Ellington led an earthshaking big band with musicians that helped shape jazz and his charts influenced countless arrangers. He wrote dozens of what are now considered standards while he continued to explore and experiment with longer suites. Ellington could produce a great swing song, then a ballad, and then follow it up with an avant-garde orchestral piece -- all of equal quality. On his own, Ellington was a powerhouse who used members of his orchestra like a painter uses colors and optimized the talents and sounds of each musician. When Billy Strayhorn joined him as a co-arranger, songwriter and piano player, their combined talents led the orchestra to even greater heights. When Duke Ellington was asked to define jazz he replied, "there are only two kinds of music, good and bad." The Duke just may have created more "good" music than anyone in history.

Duke Ellington Concert Films

  • Legends in Concert

    Duke Ellington

    Year: 1932

    Runtime: 43 min

    Jazz Legends - Duke Ellington and His Orchestra (1929-1943) by Duke Ellington, includes a series of short films made in Hollywood featuring Ellington performing his biggest hits: Black And Tan (1929) directed by Dudley Murphy; Check and Double Check (1930) directed by Melville Brown; Symphony in Black (1934) directed by Fred Waller; Paramount Pictoral No.889 (1937); The Hit Parade of 1937; and RKO Jamboree No.7 (1943) directed by Jay Bonafield. .
     
     
  • Live at the Cote Dazur

    Duke Ellington And Ella Fitzgerald

    Year: 2008

    Runtime: 1 hr 3 min

    This latest addition to the Norman Granz collection, brings together two of the greatest names in jazz: Duke Ellington & Ella Fitzgerald. The film sees Duke performing live in the South of France with Ella Fitzgerald as his special guest . You'll also enjoy unseen footage of Duke Ellington in one of his last ever live performances jamming with Joe Pass, Ray Brown and Louie Bellson.