DUKE ELLINGTON by James Lincoln Collier

DUKE ELLINGTON

Age Range: 12 - 15

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Characterizing Ellington as ``perhaps the most important figure in American music of the 20th century,'' the author looks at the composer's personality and career, focusing especially on his musical strengths and weaknesses. Collier, who has written several books on the history of jazzincluding a longer one on the Dukeclaims that Ellington didn't have the discipline to study either his instrument or music theory and that consequently he never became a brilliant pianist, while his longer compositions lacked cohesive structure. He did have a gifted ear, however, and, in working out musical ideas with his band (his preferred method of composition), he developed a fresh, unique, instantly recognizable sound that led to a long string of hits and standards. Collier succumbs occasionally to Jazz Historians' Diseasetedious recitation of names and personnel changesbut he makes clear what most of the musicians who played with Ellington contributed in the way of special techniques or abilities, while his musical analyses are easy to follow. Brief bibliography and discography. Index not seen. (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1991
ISBN: 0-02-722985-8
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1991




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