Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington

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Gotham Books, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 483 pages
2 Reviews
A major new biography of Duke Ellington from the acclaimed author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong
 
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the twentieth century—and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand. The grandson of a slave, he dropped out of high school to become one of the world’s most famous musicians, a showman of incomparable suavity who was as comfortable in Carnegie Hall as in the nightclubs where he honed his style. He wrote some fifteen hundred compositions, many of which, like “Mood Indigo” and “Sophisticated Lady,” remain beloved standards, and he sought inspiration in an endless string of transient lovers, concealing his inner self behind a smiling mask of flowery language and ironic charm.
 
As the biographer of Louis Armstrong, Terry Teachout is uniquely qualified to tell the story of the public and private lives of Duke Ellington. Duke peels away countless layers of Ellington’s evasion and public deception to tell the unvarnished truth about the creative genius who inspired Miles Davis to say, “All the musicians should get together one certain day and get down on their knees and thank Duke.”
 

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User Review  - namfos - LibraryThing

I really enjoyed this terrific biography of Duke. Teachout has done an excellent job of synthesizing what's known about Ellington's life into a very compelling story. The last paragraph of the book is ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mimal - LibraryThing

bookshelves: published-2013, spring-2014, biography, music, nonfiction, north-americas, fraudio, palate-cleanser, history, under-100-ratings Read from February 23 to March 06, 2014 Read by Peter ... Read full review

Contents

proLogue I WANT TO TELL AMERICA l
23
SOFT AND GUTBUCKET
36
ONLY MY OWN MUSIC
55
seEct eșoGRAPHY 369
67
THE UTMOST SIGNIFICANCE
73
BETTER SCRATCH OUT SOMETHING
95
About THE AUTHOR 483
111
A HIGHER PLATEAU
118
coming a Star 19311933 117
133
THE WAY THE PRESIDENT TRAVELS
144
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About the author (2013)

Terry Teachout, the drama critic at The Wall Street Journal, is the author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong and Satchmo at the Waldorf, a one-man play about Armstrong's life and times. He lives in New York City.

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