Cover image for Duke Ellington : a listener's guide
Duke Ellington : a listener's guide
Lambert, Eddie, 1930-1987.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiii, 374 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.E44 L33 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington is recognized as one of the great composers and orchestra leaders of the twentieth century. To understand Ellington's genius, jazz scholars, collectors, and fans must rely on the phonograph record, the most accurate testimony of the strength of his work. Duke Ellington: A Listener's Guide provides jazz scholars, specialists, and novice and experienced listeners with a detailed, critical commentary on this jazz master's recordings from 1924 to 1974. The guide begins with a brief overview of the artist and explores the complexity and unending creativity of his music. The chapters follow in a chronological sequence covering identifiable stages in output and list essential Ellingtonia. Collectors will especially appreciate the guide to the French RCA Works of Duke Ellington Volumes 14-17. The appendixes include a bibliography, a comprehensive discography listing both LPs and CDs, and a list of Ellington musicians with the dates of their membership in the band.

Author Notes

This book was the last work of Eddie Lambert one of the world's foremost Ellington experts, who died in 1987. Planned as his definitive contribution to Ellington studies, it now stands as a tribute to a fine scholar. Over a 30-year writing career, Eddie had written numerous articles for periodicals such as Jazz Monthly , Jazz and Blues , Coda , and Jazz Journal .

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The publication of this large reference marks the centennial of Ellington's birth. The late Eddie Lambert reviews virtually every Ellington recording from 1924 until Ellington's death in 1974. The author's intimate knowledge of this massive body of some of the most important music in US culture results in copious, insightful commentary. Chapters on the recordings alternate with background chapters on the stages of the band's history and its sidemen. Though an unabashed fan of the music, Lambert was not afraid to take a stance on what he considered superior and inferior work in the vast Ellington canon. The publishers wisely limited the scope of the discography (other references cover that in depth). The book's weaknesses stem from the fact that Lambert died in 1987. No book of this nature can be completely up-to-date when it appears, but the 12-year lag results in significant omissions: in the interim much previously unavailable recorded material has been released, and scholarly research, particularly that related to the Ellington archives at the Smithsonian Institution, has shed new light on Ellington's work. This information might have tempered some of Lambert's opinions (especially related to Billy Strayhorn). Nonetheless, this is an impressive and valuable reference for any serious collection of jazz or US music literature. K. R. Dietrich Ripon College