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The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington

Part of Cambridge Companions to Music

Evan Spring, Edward Green, John Howland, David Berger, Stephen D. James, J. Walker James, Brian Priestley, Olly W. Wilson, Trevor Weston, Jeffrey Magee, Andrew Berish, Anna Harwell Celenza, Anthony Brown, Dan Morgenstern, Benjamin Givan, Walter van de Leur, Bill Dobbins, Marcello Piras, Will Friedwald, Benjamin Bierman
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  • Date Published: January 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521881197
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About the Authors
  • Duke Ellington is widely held to be the greatest jazz composer and one of the most significant cultural icons of the twentieth century. This comprehensive and accessible Companion is the first collection of essays to survey, in depth, Ellington's career, music, and place in popular culture. An international cast of authors includes renowned scholars, critics, composers, and jazz musicians. Organized in three parts, the Companion first sets Ellington's life and work in context, providing new information about his formative years, method of composing, interactions with other musicians, and activities abroad; its second part gives a complete artistic biography of Ellington; and the final section is a series of specific musical studies, including chapters on Ellington and song-writing, the jazz piano, descriptive music, and the blues. Featuring a chronology of the composer's life and major recordings, this book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Ellington's enduring artistic legacy.

    • The first book in English to provide a comprehensive overview of Ellington's life and work and his impact as cultural icon
    • Esteemed contributors include Ellington's nephew, Stephen James, who knew and toured with the composer and his band
    • A detailed chronology tracks Ellington's life and career and gives information on notable recordings of his music
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This volume offers a treasure trove for musicologists. Though the depth of its entries ranges widely, several chapters constitute major contributions to musicology, on a par with the level of original research and interpretation ordinarily reserved for doctoral theses. It also features an excellent bibliography of selected readings and a comprehensive index.' Mark Gridley, Music Reference Services Quarterly

    'Essential reading - addressed to anyone who wants to deepen his knowledge of one of the most significant cultural icons of the twentieth century.' Danny Camerlengo, Suono (Italy)

    'For the Ellington fan, the Ellington scholar, for anyone remotely interested in learning more about the man whom Green quite rightly calls 'America's greatest composer', The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington is indispensable.' Mick Carlon, JazzTimes

    'The book is extraordinary indeed!' Thomas Riis, Director of the American Music Research Center, University of Colorado

    '[I] couldn't stop reading it. I am glad it has been published and the book can be recommended highly.' Louis Tavecchio, Universiteit van Amsterdam

    'This Cambridge Companion helps the reader see two divide-and-conquer approaches to his artistic oeuvre: by decade, and by genres such as suites, songs, and the blues. Elling-tonians and professors will read this book from cover to cover, and students needing material for jazz term papers will be thankful for the analyses of individual pieces that are embedded in some of the essays.' Edward Komara, Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association

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    Customer reviews

    20th Apr 2019 by Lazylemurjulian

    Amazing book! I've found it very helpful with my essay for History class.

    Review was not posted due to profanity


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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521881197
    • length: 318 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 180 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.78kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 53 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Chronology Evan Spring
    Editor's introduction: Ellington and Aesthetic Realism Edward Green
    Part I. Ellington in Context:
    1. Artful entertainment: Ellington's formative years in context John Howland
    2. The process of becoming: composition and recomposition David Berger
    3. Conductor of music and men: Duke Ellington through the eyes of his nephew Stephen D. James and J. Walker James
    4. Ellington abroad Brian Priestley
    5. Edward Kennedy Ellington as a cultural icon Olly W. Wilson and Trevor Weston
    Part II. Duke Through the Decades: The Music and Its Reception:
    6. Ellington's afro-modernist vision in the 1920s Jeffrey Magee
    7. Survival, adaptation and experimentation: Duke Ellington and his orchestra in the 1930s Andrew Berish
    8. The 1940s: The Blanton–Webster Band, Carnegie Hall, and the challenge of the postwar era Anna Harwell Celenza
    9. Duke in the 1950s: renaissance man Anthony Brown
    10. Ellington in the 1960s and 1970s: triumph and tragedy Dan Morgenstern
    Part III. Ellington and the Jazz Tradition:
    11. Ellington and the blues Benjamin Givan
    12. 'Seldom seen, but always heard': Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington Walter van de Leur
    13. Duke Ellington and the world of jazz piano Bill Dobbins
    14. Duke and descriptive music Marcello Piras
    15. Sing a song of Ellington, or, the accidental songwriter Will Friedwald
    16. The land of suites: Ellington and extended form David Berger
    17. Duke Ellington's legacy and influence Benjamin Bierman.

  • Editor

    Edward Green, Manhattan School of Music
    Edward Green is a professor at Manhattan School of Music, where since 1984 he has taught jazz, music history, composition, and ethnomusicology. He is also on the faculty of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation and studied with the renowned philosopher Eli Siegel, the founder of Aesthetic Realism. Dr Green serves on the editorial boards of The International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, Haydn (the journal of the Haydn Society of North America), Проблемы Музыкальной Науки (Music Scholarship), which is published by a consortium of major Russian conservatories, and is editor of China and the West: The Birth of a New Music (2009). An active composer, he received a 2009 Grammy nomination for his Piano Concertino (Best Contemporary Classical Composition) and a commission offered jointly by thirteen of America's major concert wind ensembles, which resulted in his 2012 Symphony for Band.


    Evan Spring, Edward Green, John Howland, David Berger, Stephen D. James, J. Walker James, Brian Priestley, Olly W. Wilson, Trevor Weston, Jeffrey Magee, Andrew Berish, Anna Harwell Celenza, Anthony Brown, Dan Morgenstern, Benjamin Givan, Walter van de Leur, Bill Dobbins, Marcello Piras, Will Friedwald, Benjamin Bierman

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