Duke Ellington: His Life in Jazz

Duke Ellington: His Life in Jazz
Age Range
Release Date
February 01, 2009
Buy This Book
Duke Ellington, one of the most influential figures in American music, comes alive in this comprehensive biography with engaging activities. Ellington was an accomplished and influential jazz pianist, composer, band leader, and cultural diplomat. Activities include creating a ragtime rhythm, making a washtub bass, writing song lyrics, thinking like an arranger, and learning to dance the Lindy Hop. It explores Ellington’s life and career along with many topics related to African American history, including the Harlem Renaissance. Kids will learn about the musical evolution of jazz that coincided with Ellington’s long life from ragtime through the big band era on up to the 1970s. Kids learn how music technology has changed over the years from piano rolls to record albums through CDs, television, and portable music devices. The extensive resources include a time line, glossary, list of Ellington’s greatest recordings, related books, Web sites, and DVDs for further study.

User reviews

1 review
Already have an account? or Create an account
A Jazzed Up Biography
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
Reader reviewed by Julie M. Prince

Duke Ellington is one of the greatest names in the history
of the jazz era. It's hard to give any comprehensive report about jazz without
a tip of the hat to the duke. The man was just as classy as his nickname
indicates, offering a suave style and smooth sound to a new genre of music. His
impressive career spanned decades. That, combined with his personal and
professional ambitions, made him one of the most famous and sought after
bandleaders of the 20th century.

I was excited to see this book's release. Prior to picking it up, I knew Duke's
name and reputation, but little about the man himself. By the time I finished
reading, I felt as though I had learned a library's worth of information on a
fascinating man. That is, I believe, the goal of a biographyto find out all
you ever wanted or needed to know about the subject in an entertaining way. But
this particular biography has the added bonus of kid appeal that comes with 21
related activities, ranging from Make a Washtub Bass to Design an Album


Duke Ellingtons life had no shortage of material for a
potential biographer, and author Stephanie Stein Crease found and organized a
gold mine of it. Some chapters seemed a bit drier than others, making this book tough for me to read straight
through. However, Im still greatly impressed with the content, arrangement,
and overall construction of the book.


Id highly recommend it for any school or classroom library,
as well as for any individuals interested in the jazz era.

Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0