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Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington
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Duke Ellington artist page: interviews, features and/or performances archived at NPR Music

Concerts

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December 14, 2006 A varied history of American choral music from colonial anthems to the music of Leonard Bernstein.

Interviews & Profiles

Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn collaborated to release The Nutcracker Suite in 1960.

December 19, 2013 American Routes host Nick Spitzer chats with NPR's David Greene about a few jazz Christmas classics.

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Duke Ellington signs his biography in London in 1958, with Billy Strayhorn in the background.

January 5, 2011 In 1940, two amateurs made what would become a Grammy-winning recording -- 40 years later.

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Soprano Jessye Norman

June 29, 2010 Hear the celebrated soprano talk about her first new solo record in more than 10 years.

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Duke Ellington's compositions present a timeless contribution to American music's legacy.

November 26, 2008 The bandleader's compositions present an indelible contribution to American music's legacy.

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The legendary bandleader and composer Duke Ellington produced more than one thousand lasting works.

November 19, 2008 The legendary bandleader and composer produced more than a thousand lasting works.

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duke_ellington

November 28, 2007 Duke Ellington's instrument was his orchestra, a hand-picked group of the best musicians available.

duke_ellington

November 21, 2007 Duke Ellington led an institution which even the greatest musicians aspired to be part of.

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duke_ellington

November 14, 2007 Decade after decade, Ellington's ever-talented orchestra rode incredible waves of creativity.

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Duke Ellington, ca. 1930.

November 7, 2007 A bright yet unremarkable teenage boy became the leader of the world's most popular big band.

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April 29, 2005 A tribute to late composer and bandleader Duke Ellington on the anniversary of his 106th birthday.

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Discover Songs

The cover of Duke Ellington & John Coltrane

August 1, 2001 Ellington hooked up with the John Coltrane Quartet to record an album to highlight his own songs.

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The cover of The Duke at His Best

August 1, 2001 The album includes the best from the most important composer in the history of jazz.

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The cover of Such Sweet Thunder

August 1, 2001 Based on the Bard's plays and sonnets, the album brings Lady Macbeth to life as a ragtime melody.

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News

Karen Marie Richardson (right) plays the title role in the Long Beach Opera's staging of Queenie Pie, the jazz opera Duke Ellington left unfinished when he died in 1974.

February 2, 2014 When the prolific composer died in 1974, he left one of his most ambitious projects unfinished.

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Duke Ellington

April 29, 2010 On his birthday anniversary, here are a few features from the NPR archives about The Maestro.

April 27, 2007 A rememberance of Duke Ellington, who would have been 108 on Sunday, with a bit of his music.

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Reviews

Duke Ellington, looking dapper in 1958.

September 9, 2013 Duke Ellington's piece for Queen Elizabeth II is included in a new collection of late-period suites.

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Duke Ellington (1899-1974) at the piano at the Fairfield Hall, Croydon, during a British tour on Feb. 10, 1963.

June 26, 2013 Aki Takase's new album of Duke Ellington tunes reflects influences from Monk to Schoenberg.

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The cover of Duke Ellington & John Coltrane

August 1, 2001 Ellington hooked up with the John Coltrane Quartet to record an album to highlight his own songs.

ListenPlaylist

The cover of The Duke at His Best

August 1, 2001 The album includes the best from the most important composer in the history of jazz.

ListenPlaylist

The cover of Such Sweet Thunder

August 1, 2001 Based on the Bard's plays and sonnets, the album brings Lady Macbeth to life as a ragtime melody.

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More Stories

Conductor JoAnn Falletta.

July 3, 2013 Conductor JoAnn Falletta asks: Does a great American symphony even have to be a symphony?

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Legendary big band leader and jazz pianist Duke Ellington.

November 6, 2000 Ellington's unique instrumentation on this standard is an example of his subtle sophistication.

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Strayhorn & Ellington

June 12, 2000 "Take the 'A' Train" started the lasting collaboration between Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington.

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A sampling of one listener's cherished classical Christmas albums from a few years back.

December 25, 2012 The flow of classical Christmas albums has slowed, triggering a longing for past recordings.

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February 6, 2007 Composer Billy Strayhorn's autobiographical classic attracts a new documentary and a CD.

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Cootie Williams of the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

April 12, 2011 Hear five of The Maestro's finest sidemen, all of whom he targeted for their strengths.

Duke Ellington rehearses for a 1973 concert in London's Westminster Abbey.

May 23, 2013 After writing partner Billy Strayhorn died, the great composer experienced a burst of productivity.

Duke Ellington's compositions present a timeless contribution to American music's legacy.

February 21, 2013 Composers such as Duke Ellington have captured black history in long-form works. Hear five examples.

Gary Bartz performs at the 1973 Montreux Jazz Festival. The saxophonist is often cited as a messenger of black empowerment in music.

June 19, 2012 For Juneteenth, today's jazz luminaries reflect on recordings about African-American emancipation.

A real skeletal jazz band.

October 27, 2011 Dig the grave, gone sounds of some wickedly good music, including a brass-filled "Thriller."

In 1926, everyone did the Charleston on ice.

September 27, 2011 The banning of alcohol and the subsequent rise of speakeasies played a role in jazz's evolution.

O Brother, Where Art Thou album cover

August 23, 2011 The super-producer plays cuts from a new deluxe edition of the massively successful film soundtrack.

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Got your burger ready?

June 30, 2011 As America's birthday approaches, here are five tasty offerings for your Fourth of July celebration.

Branford Marsalis (right) and Joey Calderazzo.

June 8, 2011 Inspired by their own album of duets, we asked the jazzmen to name their favorite pairings.

Miles Davis and the letter E

August 10, 2010 Wouldn't literacy education be more fun through jazz? Hear an A-through-E guide and tell us more.

Stephane Grappelli

April 27, 2010 Hear five examples of the way the instrument has blended seamlessly into decades of jazz.

Thanks to fellow bassist Milt Hinton's prodding, Oscar Pettiford moved to New York and became one of bebop's most innovative musicians.

February 23, 2009 Hear the groundbreaking work of five bassists who helped shape the sounds of classic jazz.

Marian McPartland

June 23, 2008 The Piano Jazz host offers the Top 5 songs and recordings she's listening to right now.

Duke Ellington continues to be a strong influence to this day, even receiving a posthumous Pulitzer Prize.

April 29, 2008 Ellington's mark can be found everywhere on jazz, both past and present.

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February 13, 2008 Instead of candies and cards, impress your sweetheart with some music inspired by love.

Duke Ellington, Max Roach and Charles Mingus on the cover of Money Jungle.

September 2, 2008 In the world of jazz, September sessions have produced some special recordings.

NPR Artist Directory

Chopin

Frederic Chopin

Hear Chopin's music in performance and perspective.

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favorite artist

Gillian Welch

Gillian Welch

Enjoy archival interviews and performances from the folk revivalist.

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Spoon

Spoon

Music, live concerts and interviews with the pop-rock band.

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Rodrigo y Gabriela

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Hear and watch exclusive performances from the guitar-playing Mexican duo.

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Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Hear concerts and interviews with the atmospheric art-folk singer.

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Charles Mingus

Charles Mingus

Hear performances and profiles of the jazz innovator's work.

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Emerson String Quartet

Emerson String Quartet

Hear essential recordings and performances from the lauded quartet.

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Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

NPR Music explores the life and voice of the passionate Qawwali singer.

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Wye Oak

Wye Oak

Exclusive performances from the pop duo from Baltimore.

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M.I.A.

M.I.A.

Music and news from the Sri Lanka-born hip-hop artist and producer.

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Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Hear concerts and interviews with the grandiose art-rock band.

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Money Jungle

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  • Album: Money Jungle
  • Artist: Duke Ellington Max Roach Charlie Mingus
  • Label: Bluenote
  • Released: 2002
 

At Newport 1956 Complete

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  • Album: At Newport 1956 Complete
  • Artist: Duke Ellington
  • Label: Columbia/Legacy
 

The Simple Life

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  • Album: The Simple Life
  • Artist: Leon Parker
  • Label: Label M
 

Roots: My Life, My Song

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  • Album: Roots: My Life, My Song
  • Artist: Jessye Norman
  • Label: Sony Music
 

A Proper Introduction to Billy Strayhorn: Passion Flower

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  • Album: A Proper Introduction to Billy Strayhorn: Passion Flower
  • Artist: Billy Strayhorn
 

Three Suites

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  • Album: Three Suites
  • Artist: Duke Ellington
 

Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life

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  • Album: Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life
  • Artist: Various Artists
 

Happy Songs

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  • Album: Happy Songs
  • Artist: Audra McDonald
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Released: 2002
 

Blues in Orbit [Bonus Tracks]

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  • Album: Blues in Orbit [Bonus Tracks]
  • Artist: Duke Ellington
  • Label: Columbia
  • Released: 2004
 

Masterpieces by Ellington [Bonus Tracks]

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  • Album: Masterpieces by Ellington [Bonus Tracks]
  • Artist: Duke Ellington
  • Label: Columbia/Legacy
  • Released: 2004
 

Piano in the Background

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  • Album: Piano in the Background
  • Artist: Duke Ellington
  • Label: Sony International
 

Piano in the Foreground

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  • Album: Piano in the Foreground
  • Artist: Duke Ellington
  • Label: Sony International
 

Essential Duke Ellington [Sony]

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  • Album: Essential Duke Ellington [Sony]
  • Artist: Duke Ellington
  • Label: Sony
  • Released: 2005
 

The Far East Suite [Special Mix]

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  • Album: The Far East Suite [Special Mix]
  • Artist: Duke Ellington
  • Label: RCA
 

Reminiscing in Tempo

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  • Album: Reminiscing in Tempo
  • Artist: Duke Ellington
  • Label: Naxos Jazz
  • Released: 1991
 

Such Sweet Thunder

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  • Album: Such Sweet Thunder
  • Artist: Duke Ellington
 

Duke Ellington & John Coltrane

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  • Album: Duke Ellington & John Coltrane
  • Artist: John Coltrane
 

Duke at His Best

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  • Album: Duke at His Best
  • Artist: Duke Ellington
  • Label: Prism Platinum
  • Released: 1999