Recommendations and References



music is my mistress

Music is My Mistress – Duke Ellington (Da Capo)

“”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.” –Amazon

world of duke ellington

The World of Duke Ellington – Stanley Dance (Da Capo)


Reminiscing In Tempo: A Portrait of Duke Ellington – Stuart Nicholson (Northeastern)


Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington – John Hasse (Da Capo)

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The Duke Ellington Reader – Mark Tucker (Oxford University Press) A well curated and annotated collection of writings on Duke Ellington.

dukes bones

Duke’s ‘Bones – Ellington’s Great Trombonists – Kurt Dietrich (Advance Music) Biographical sketches of the men who played trombone (and valve trombone) for Ellington, solo transcriptions, section transcriptions and musical analysis. Even if you’re not a trombonist or musician, well worthwhile as survey of the band’s oeuvre.

lush life

Lush Life – David Hadju (North Point Press) An award winning biography of Ellington’s right-hand man, arranger and composer William Thomas “Billy” Strayhorn (1915-1967). Besides the immortal ballad Lush Life, Strayhorn also composed and arranged the Ellington band’s long-time theme song, Take the “A” Train.


Duke Ellington’s America – Harvey G. Cohen (University of Chicago Press)


Riding on Duke’s Train – Mick Carlon (a book for the young Ellington fan in your life) (Leapfrog Press)


Duke: The Musical Life of Duke Ellington – Bill Gutman (Open Road Media)


Great Paris Concert

The Great Paris Concert [2 disk set] (Collectables, 7818) The Orchestra is in great form on these live recordings from 1963. Featured soloists include Cat Anderson, Cootie Williams, Lawrence Brown, Johnny Hodges and Harry Carney.


Highlights of the Great 1940-1942 Band [2 disk set] (Avid, AMSC1143) The line-up on these recordings is sometimes referred to as “The Blanton-Webster Band.” This period is considered by many to be the brightest in Ellington’s entire career, although even Johnny Hodges and Harry Carney didn’t agree with that assessment. That aside, there are masterpieces galore on this set!


Duke Ellington: The Columbia Years 1927-1962 [3 disk set] (Columbia 5176872) For a variety of reasons, Ellington periodically changed record labels and would sometimes return to a prior label. Here, his three different stints with Columbia are celebrated with a separate disk dedicated to each period. A great cross selection of Ellington music.



Highlights from the Duke Ellington Centennial Edition (1927-1973) [3 disk set] (RCA Victor 09026636722)

ess ellington

The Essential Duke Ellington [2 disk set] (Columbia Legacy 88697892052)


The Afro Eurasian Eclipse (Original Jazz Classics OJCCD 645) Posthumously released, this 1971 recording shows that although there had been many changes in personnel, Ellington adapted and moved on.


The Far East Suite (RCA Bluebird / BMG Heritage 88985308412)


Ellington at Newport 1956 (Complete) [2 disk set] (Columbia/Legacy 64932)

70th birthday concert

70th Birthday Concert [2 disk set] (Solid State SS 19000)

MI0001691166New Orleans Suite (Warner Bros. 7411644)


The Ellington Suites: The Queen’s Suite/The Goutelas Suite/The UWIS Suite (Original Jazz Classics OJC 34614)

such sweet thunder

Such Sweet Thunder (Sony Music Distribution COL4691402)

mother called him bill

…And his Mother Called Him Bill (RCA / Legacy 88985346442)

Ella and Ellington

Ella Fitzgerald sings the Duke Ellington Songbook (Essential Jazz Classics EJC 55426)


Duke Ellington meets John Coltrane & Coleman Hawkins (Fresh Sound Records FSR 749)


jazz icons dvd

Jazz Icons: Duke Ellington Live in ’58 (Jazz Icons, 2.119001)


Duke Ellington: A Concert of Sacred Music/Love You Madly (Eagle Eye Media, EE39100-9)


On the Road with Duke Ellington (Docurama, NVG-9502)

duke ella dvd

Duke Ellington at the Cote d’Azur with Ella Fitzgerald and Joan Miro/Duke: The Last Jam Session [2 disk set] ( Eagle Eye Media, EE 39069-9)

the intimate duke ellington

The Intimate Duke Ellington (Image Entertainment, ID9551DNDVD)


Duke Ellington – Copenhagen (1965) Parts One and Two (Image Entertainment, ID9548DNDVD)

ellington hampton

The Big Bands: The Snader Telescriptions Vol. 1: Duke Ellington 1952 and Lionel Hampton 1950-1951 (Idem, IDVD1023)

duke 1929-1943

Duke Ellington & his Orchestra 1929-1943 (Storyville Films, 16033)


Facebook Group – The Duke Ellington Society, moderated and led by French Ellington expert Jean-Marie Juif 

Facebook Group – Duke Ellington Central, TDES New York 

The Duke – Where and When, A Chronicle of Duke Ellington’s Working Life and Travels 

Ellingtonia – A Duke Ellington Discography

Duke Ellington Society – New York Chapter

Duke Ellington Society – Southern California Chapter 

Duke Ellington Society – UK Chapter

Duke Ellington Society of Sweden