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Duke Ellington's America

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  27 ratings  ·  8 reviews

Few American artists in any medium have enjoyed the international and lasting cultural impact of Duke Ellington. From jazz standards such as “Mood Indigo” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” to his longer, more orchestral suites, to his leadership of the stellar big band he toured and performed with for decades after most big bands folded, Ellington represented a singula

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Hardcover, 720 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by University Of Chicago Press
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40th out of 108 books — 21 voters
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Community Reviews

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Jon
More a reference than a biography, an appreciation or even a narrative. Most useful as a bathtub of Ellingtoniana to soak in once in a while. Interested in Ellington’s game-changing barnburner at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival and the near-riot caused by Paul Gonsalves’s six minute tenor sax solo on Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue? It’s duly noted and annotated but not really described. Don’t expect to be placed at the bandstand for a re-creation or even an appreciation of the experience.

What d
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Italo  Perazzoli
"What color is virtue, what color is love?"
(Duke Ellington’s America)


It's extremely difficult to describe his personality, he was not only a musician, he was an artist, a genius listening to his notes equals to a journey towards the African - American history.

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born on April 29 1899 in the US's capital city Washington DC.
The Duke grew up in a middle-class family with an high cultural level and his inclination was supported by his loved mother Daisy Kennedy Ellin
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Michael
This should have been a fascinating book, but I found reading it to be more of a slog than the topic deserves.

Ellington built a truly peerless career spanning fifty years, self-consciously establishing himself as not just a great jazz composer or African-American musician, but as a giant of American arts. He not only sustained a successful career for all those years, but managed to support a stellar orchestra long after the swing era gave way to smaller combos, and (partly because of that stella
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Mark
There are three themes explored in great detail in Duke Ellington's America: the marketing and business of Duke Ellington; Ellington's race relations; and the development of his music. Each of these subjects is discussed throughout the book, in great detail and with complete control of and reliance on varied sources of evidence. These subjects are each book-length, or multi-book length, in and of themselves, but the author does a fantastic job laying out the broader themes in early chapters and ...more
Greg Brozeit
This is a biography of cultural and social history that adds incredible depth to understanding why Duke Ellington's contributions to America are so vital and important. It is not an analysis of Ellington's music. Try John Edward Hasse's book if that is what you are looking for.

I found the discussions of how Ellington led by example, composition, and performance to quietly inspire elements of the African American community in the civil rights movement to be incredibly interesting and illuminating
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Harriett Milnes
Harvey Cohen used Duke Ellington's papers, scrapbooks, and notes from the Smithsonian as well as some new interviews to put together this volume. It is quite an undertaking and is very well done. I don't know if many beyond Ellington researchers will find it interesting, but there are a few bombshells. I am credited for many interviews I did at the Yale Oral History Project.
Kurt
I found this book slow going - the writing style was a little clumsy. Very well researched, and worth the effort, though.
Daryl Grigsby
great insight into the genuis, world, humanity, music and blackness of the master, Duke Ellington.
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