Music is My Mistress

Front Cover
Da Capo Press, 1976 - Music - 522 pages
26 Reviews
”Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one.” This is the story of Duke Ellington—the story of Jazz itself. Told in his own way, in his own words, a symphony written by the King of Jazz. His story spans and defines a half-century of modern music.This man who created over 1500 compositions was as much at home in Harlem’s Cotton Club in the ‘20s as he was at a White House birthday celebration in his honor in the ‘60s. For Duke knew everyone and savored them all. Passionate about his music and the people who made music, he counted as his friends hundreds of the musicians who changed the face of music throughout the world: Bechet, Basie, Armstrong, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Sinatra, to name a few of them. Here are 100 photographs to give us an intimate view of Duke’s world—his family, his friends, his associates.What emerges most strongly in his commitment to music, the mistress for whom he saves the fullest intensity of his passion. ”Lovers have come and gone, but only my mistress stays,” he says. He composed not only songs that all the world has sung, but also suites, sacred works, music for stage and screen and symphonies. This rich book, the embodiment of the life and works of the Duke, is replete with appendices listing singers, arrangers, lyricists and the symphony orchestras with whom the Duke played. There is a book to own and cherish by all who love Jazz and the contributions made to it by the Duke.

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About the author (1976)

Jazz pianist, composer, and popular band leader, Edward Ellington was known as "Duke" to his contemporaries. His skill as a pianist and his popularity as a band leader are surpassed only by the impressive depth and quality of his work as a composer. Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington began to study the piano at the age of 7. He organized his first band, The Duke's Serenaders, at the age of 18. In 1923 Ellington moved to New York, where he and his band, The Washingtonians, performed at nightclubs in Harlem and at the Kentucky Club in downtown Manhattan. Capitalizing on the popularity of phonographic recordings, Ellington began to record his performances and reorganized the band as Ellington's Kentucky Club Orchestra. From 1927 through 1932, he and his band made frequent radio broadcasts. Soon, Ellington and jazz were synonymous. Many other musicians attempted to copy Ellington's musical style, which led to many instrumental innovations in the musical language of jazz. The range of Ellington's musical compositions is impressive. Many of his short compositions, including "Mood Indigo" (1930), "Solitude" (1933), and "Sophisticated Lady" (1933), remain popular staples of jazz instrumentalists everywhere. His longer works, such as Creole Rhapsody (1932), Black, Brown, and Beige (1943), a 50-minute work that told the story of African Americans, Liberian Suite (1947), Harlem Nights (1951), and Night Creatures (1955), include complex orchestration. These works helped shift jazz from the smoky confines of nightclubs to the sophisticated setting of the concert stage. In addition to performing in jazz festivals and concert tours in this country and around the world, Ellington appeared in several films and made many recordings.

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