Duke : A Life of Duke Ellington

3.84 (342 ratings by Goodreads)
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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. "show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 483 pages
  • 160 x 232 x 44mm | 739.99g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1592407498
  • 9781592407491
  • 312,226

Review quote

Praise for "Pops; A Life of Louis Armstrong: " "Teachout restores this jazzman to his deserved place in the pantheon of American artists." -"The ""New York Times " "Thirty-eight years after Louis Armstrong's death, Terry Teachout has made the possible, possible: He has written a definitive narrative biography of the greatest jazz musician of the twentieth century." -"San Francisco"" Chronicle" "A masterpiece." -"Seattle"" Times " "Teachout excels at conveying the interplay between Armstrong the artist and Armstrong the entertainer, and at examining the particular challenge of his legacy." -"The New Yorker " "[An] exceptional biography... Upon finishing this definitive biography, the reader is instructed to flip to the discography, download every last song, listen and grin the hell back." -"The Washington""""Post" Amazon Best Books of the Month, December 2009 "Crafted with a musician's ear and an historian's eye, "Pops" is a vibrant biography of the iconic Louis Armstrong that resonates with the same warmth as ol' Satchmo's distinctive voice. "Wall Street Journal" critic Terry Teachout draws from a wealth of previously unavailable material - including over 650 reels of Armstrong's own personal tape recordings - to create an engaging profile that slips behind the jazz legend's megawatt smile. Teachout reveals that the beaming visage of "Reverend Satchelmouth" was not a mark of racial subservience, but a clear symbol of Louis's refusal to let anything cloud the joy he derived from blowing his horn. "Faced with the terrible realities of the time and place into which he had been born," explains Teachout, "he didn't repine, but returned love for hatred and sought salvation in work." Armstrong was hardly impervious to the injustices of his era, but in his mind, nothing was more sacred than the music. -"Dave Callanan" "Teachout turns to another mighty pillar of 20th-century American culture, Louis Armstrong, atshow more

About Terry Teachout

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."show more

Rating details

342 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 25% (84)
4 43% (148)
3 26% (89)
2 4% (15)
1 2% (6)
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