Five Videos: Duke Ellington

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The rise of swing and jazz's sophisticated elegance starts with Duke Ellington. His first recordings were with Wilbur Sweatman and His Acme Syncopators in August 1924. His first leadership 78 was recorded in November of that year, billed as the Washingtonians. His first Columbia recording came in March 1927, with East St. Louis Toodle-oo, Hop Head and Down in Our Alle Blues. From there, he would go on to compose beautiful jazz songs and change the direction of the music, becoming the leader of the nation's finest jazz orchestra. Here are five videos that illustrate Ellington's vast contribution:

Here's a segment on Ellington in a BBC documentary...



Here's Ellington's orchestra playing behind singer-dancers Paul White and Marie Bryant in 1942...



Here's Ellington and his orchestra in Switzerland in 1959...



Here's Ellington and his orchestra in Montreal in 1964...



And here's Ellington and orchestra playing Solo for Johnny Hodges in 1969...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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