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Duke : A Life of Duke Ellington

By (author) Terry Teachout

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A major new biography of Duke Ellington from the acclaimed author of "Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong" Edward Kennedy Duke Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the twentieth century and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand. The grandson of a slave, he dropped out of high school to become one of the world s most famous musicians, a showman of incomparable suavity who was as comfortable in Carnegie Hall as in the nightclubs where he honed his style. He wrote some fifteen hundred compositions, many of which, like Mood Indigo and Sophisticated Lady, remain beloved standards, and he sought inspiration in an endless string of transient lovers, concealing his inner self behind a smiling mask of flowery language and ironic charm. As the biographer of Louis Armstrong, Terry Teachout is uniquely qualified to tell the story of the public and private lives of Duke Ellington. "Duke "peels away countless layers of Ellington s evasion and public deception to tell the unvarnished truth about the creative genius who inspired Miles Davis to say, All the musicians should get together one certain day and get down on their knees and thank Duke. "

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  • Hardback | 483 pages
  • 160 x 232 x 44mm | 739.99g
  • 01 Apr 2014
  • GOTHAM BOOKS
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1592407498
  • 9781592407491
  • 186,813

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Author Information

Terry Teachout, the drama critic at "The Wall" "Street Journal," is the author of "Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong" and "Satchmo at the Waldorf," a one-man play about Armstrong s life and times. He lives in New York City."

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Review quote

"A thoroughly researched homage...Teachout delivers a Duke unlike any we've seen in previous biographies...At last, Teachout affirms that music was Ellington's greatest mistress - and to her, the composer was unrelentingly loyal." --"Essence Magazine" "Comprehensive and well-researched...important....[an] entertaining and valuable biography." --"Booklist", Starred Review "Teachout gives much insight into Ellington's life, personality, working habits, and compositions. This work should appeal to Ellington enthusiasts as well as casual jazz fans." --"Library Journal" "Revealing...Teachout neatly balances colorful anecdote with shrewd character assessments and musicological analysis, and he manages to debunk Ellington's self-mythologizing, while preserving his stature as the man who caught jazz's ephemeral genius in a bottle." --"Publishers Weekly" "Terry Teachout's biography is destined to be the definitive biography of bandleader, composer, and complex man--Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington." --"The American Rag" One of The Daily Beast"'s Fall 2013 Must-Reads Chosen as a Top 10 Music Book by Publishers Weekly"

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