Duke Ellington
His Passion, His Inspiration II

In Celebration of African American Culture

Duke composed many exquisitely beautiful works, like "In A Sentimental Mood," "Sophisticated Lady" and "Black and Tan Fantasy." He also wrote swingers like "Take The "A" Train," "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good" and "Mood Indigo." But Duke also composed a treasure trove of music that celebrated African American culture. The following list chronicles some of those works.

Works Written for Black Cultural Icons:

"Black Beauty" was written in 1928 for black actress and singer Florence Mills.

"Portrait of the Lion" was composed for pianist Willie "The Lion" Smith in 1939.

"Bojangles" was penned for tap dance icon Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in 1940.

"A Portrait of Bert Williams" was created in 1940 for Williams, a very talented black actor and comedian.

Selected Discography

My People

"Black and Tan Fantasy"--1927
"Creole Love Call"--1927
"Creole Rhapsody"--1931
"Ebony Rhapsody"--1934
"Black Butterfly"--1936
"Sepia Panorama"--1940
"Black, Brown and Beige"--1943
"Creamy Brown"--1943
"New World A-Coming--1943
"Liberian Suite"--1947
"Deep South Suite"--1947
"My People"--1963
"La Plus Belle Africaine"--1966

Harlem On My Mind

"Echoes of Harlem"
"Blue Harlem"
"Drop Me Off at Harlem"
"Harlem Speaks"
"Harlem Air Shaft"
"Harlem Mania"
"Jungle Night in Harlem"
"Harmony in Harlem"
"Harlem Flat Blues"
"Harlem Twist"
"Take The A Train"

Freedom, Oh Freedom

Around 1944 Duke also composed the following works, which have never been recorded, for black activists freedom fighters and abolitionists:

Denmark Vesey
Nat Turner
Crispus Attucks
Harriet Tubman
Frederick Douglass

Duke Ellington Esssential Jazz Feature

His Passion, His Inspiration I

Visit the Duke Ellington School of the Arts here, and his website here.

© L'cinda Scott-McCall