Black, Brown & Beige
June 20, 2010 5:15 PM   Subscribe

The New Yorker discusses Duke Ellington’s music and race in America, via Harvey G. Cohen's new book, Duke Ellington's America (excerpt). Music clips to accompany the articles inside the fold. (via Follow Me Here)

Prior related posts: See filthy light thief's awesome post on Duke Ellington recalled and flapjax at midnight's Old School Grooves

Duke Ellington & the Washingtonians 1928
Excerpts from the the 1929 film: 1929 Black and Tan Fantasy
Old Man Blues - 1930
Duke & his Orchestra - The Mooche - remastered 78 (also, a live 50ish TV version)
Reminiscing In Tempo, parts I & II 1935, 78; parts III and IV
Concerto for Cootie 1940, 78rpm
C Jam Blues 1942
It Don't Mean a Thing 1943
V.I.P.s Boogie c.1950
Satin Doll 50s?
Diminuendo in Blue recorded live at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival.
Duke Ellington at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival (NSFW warning - some nude babe pics) and Blues to be there, also from the '56 NJF.
Take the A Train - 60s?
Sophisticated Lady - 60s
Duke Ellington Trio - 1967

Excerpts from his 1943 Carnegie Hall performance, Black, Brown & Beige, which Ellington Ellington described as "a parallel to the history of the American Negro."
Black, Brown & Beige (1) Work song
Black, Brown & Beige (2) Come Sunday
Black, Brown & Beige (3) The Blues
Black, Brown & Beige (4) Three Dances
Brown, the second movement of Black, Brown & Beige

Black Brown & Beige - by Richard Wang
Duke Ellington's official site
posted by madamjujujive (15 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Hats off to you, madame. Killer post.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:22 PM on June 20, 2010

Hoo-WEE! All these presents, and me not even a father. Thanks, mjjj.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:42 PM on June 20, 2010

Just popping back in to say that the linked New Yorker article is well worth the read. Found this very interesting:

"Ellington was a careless student, even in music (where his only grade on record is a D). But then he didn’t respond to formal training of any kind. Early piano lessons failed to hold his interest, and he learned to play mostly on his own, mastering James P. Johnson’s notoriously difficult “Carolina Shout”—well enough to impress Johnson—by slowing down the piano roll and matching his fingers to the depressed keys"

Now that's an innovative use of technology!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:26 PM on June 20, 2010

Old Ellington Album
posted by DaddyNewt at 7:45 PM on June 20, 2010

This article is worth reading for the Mingus story at the end alone.
posted by Camofrog at 7:48 PM on June 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Sitting here reading the article while listening to Ellington Uptown, specifically "The Mooche". I'm blessed with a nice copy of it, and it makes a great accompaniment to the story.

I came to know his music late in life, and am glad to be finally able to appreciate it for the product of a true genius. The first of his albums I came into was something called "Some Sweet Thunder", which was a fascinating attempt to set many of the works of Shakespeare to music (helped by Billy Strayhorn, his longtime collaborator). All I could do was to sit there with my mouth open in astonishment, wondering "how did they do that?". It's some of the most intricate music of its type I've ever heard.

I see Duke's music as some of the very best of an era in which so much was great. People the world over thought the sun rose and set on men like Duke Ellington. It's such a shame we in America didn't appreciate him better.
posted by cybrcamper at 8:15 PM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wow. Thanks, madam!
posted by languagehat at 7:58 AM on June 21, 2010

Adding a naughty addition to the thread. A surprisingly interesting death metal version of his What a Wonderful World.

And a more respectful Satchmo bio with loads-o-links from ReHatJazz and lots of downloads too, like on this page.
posted by nickyskye at 9:03 AM on June 21, 2010

And PS, an awesome, chock-filled with amazingness post. Thanks!
posted by nickyskye at 9:04 AM on June 21, 2010

I discovered Ellington for myself just a few months ago and was floored by his compositions' inventiveness and freshness. And joy, which is probably what makes his music incompatible with contemporary listeners. Since then I haven't found a Duke Ellington album that I don't like. And I had never listened to jazz!
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 9:49 AM on June 21, 2010

That Mingus story, and the last sentence, in particular, is indeed wonderful. ("In the street, Ellington stood in the waiting crowd just beyond the theatre’s open doors, smiling.")

Thanks for the bountiful post.
posted by blucevalo at 10:27 AM on June 21, 2010

That article was great. Even though I knew the rough outlines of Ellington's story, I was still shocked by some of the details, specifically the extremely strict racial separation at the Cotton Club back in the 20's... somehow I thought they were more integrated, but I guess that came much later. Thank you for this FPP. Now I'm gonna go listen to Money Jungle :)
posted by VikingSword at 10:43 AM on June 21, 2010

Holy crap. Read the whole article, but the last paragraph is one of the best I've read in a long time.
posted by elmer benson at 11:41 AM on June 21, 2010

*smacks forehead for the umpteenth time
Sorry for the unintended derail. I read the great article above, was then discussing Satchmo elsewhere and, harebrained, posted those links about him here. Oops. My bad.
posted by nickyskye at 11:54 AM on June 21, 2010

nickyskye, you can feel free to add such interesting "derails" anytime at all, as far as I am concerned. I love Satchmo, too.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:44 PM on June 21, 2010

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