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Download Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington Audiobook, by Terry Teachout Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Terry Teachout Narrator: Peter Francis James Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2013 ISBN: 9780698135697
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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.” Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • a fascinating account...Teachout gives us a rich portrait of the man, his music and his era.. Tampa Bay Tribune
  • Teachout restores this jazzman to his deserved place in the pantheon of American artists. The New York Times
  • This well-researched biography is sure to appeal to longtime jazz fans who revel in their memories of Ellington's work and others who may want to learn more about his fascinating life. Associated Press
     
  • Mr Teachout adroitly chronicles how Ellington coaxed from his ensemble such timeless hits as ‘Mood Indigo’. . . . evokes the personalities of the ducal band. The Economist
     
  • Descriptively rich, the book is not so much a scholarly tome as it is a delightful and entertaining read. Teachout writes with clarity and verve, presenting an astonishing amount of detail in a flowing narrative that brings to life not just Ellington and his music, but much of American culture of the period. National Review
     
  • [A] grand and engrossing biography…Thanks to this frank and sympathetic biography - whose every page is studded with sharp phrases and keen insights - we now seem to know Duke Ellington as well as we ever will or need to. San Francisco Chronicle
     
  • Teachout's exhaustive mining of archives, including a number of unpublished memoirs of some of the principals in his story, gives the musical history in Duke an impressive heft.”
  •  –The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
     
  • By penetrating behind the curtain, this author has delivered a book that even those who think they know Ellington will need to read. Dallas Morning News
     
  • Teachout does a commendable job of contextualizing Ellington's career." 
  • –Austin Chronicle
     
  • – Jazz Journal 
  • Dimensional, thoughtful, and rigorously researched, Duke is an enthralling read from cover to cover. BrainPickings.org
  • Teachout…bring[s] a worthy level of scholarship to the telling of the notoriously secretive Ellington’s life. The Virginia Quarterly Review (Online)
  • 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, a black man born at the turn of the century in the poorest quarter of New Orleans who by the end of his life was known and loved in every corner of the earth. … Teachout brings a fresh perspective… Teachout's portrait reminds us why we fell in love with Armstrong's music in the first place. Publishers Weekly Starred Review
  • To this fine, exhaustively researched...biography, Teachout brings an insider's knowledge--he was a jazz musician before launching a career as cultural critic and biographer. National Post The Afterword
  • No one does better in exploring Armstrong's social context than Teachout. Montreal Gazette
     
  • The definitive Ellington biography thus far…valuable…[one of] the most important books of 2013. The Buffalo News
     
  • Compelling narrative flow...poised impartiality. . . .Teachout writes in an earthbound style marked by sound scholarship and easy readability. . . . DUKE humanizes a man whom history has kept on a pedestal. The New York Times Book Review
  • A thorough and fascinating portrait. USA Today
     

    "[a] grand and engrossing biography...Thanks to this frank and sympathetic biography--whose every page is studded with sharp phrases and keen insights--we now seem to know Duke Ellington as well as we ever will or need to.

  • Teachout adroitly chronicles how Ellington coaxed from his ensemble such timeless hits as "Mood Indigo." And he adeptly evokes the personalities of the ducal band... The Economist
  • an impressively lucid, compact narrative The Boston Globe
     
  • A thoroughly researched homage…Teachout delivers a Duke unlike any we’ve seen in previous biographies…At last, Teachout affirms that music was Ellington’s greatest mistress – and to her, the composer was unrelentingly loyal. Essence Magazine
     
  • Swinging. Elle Magazine
     
  • 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.

  • 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
  • With this exhaustive, engaging study of the greatest jazz composer of his era, Wall Street Journal drama critic Teachout solidifies his place as one of America's great music biographers.” 
  • – Kirkus, Starred Review
  • Comprehensive and well-researched…important….[an] entertaining and valuable biography. Booklist, Starred Review
     
  • Teachout gives much insight into Ellington's life, personality, working habits, and compositions. This work should appeal to Ellington enthusiasts as well as casual jazz fans. Library Journal
     
  • Revealing…Teachout neatly balances colorful anecdote with shrewd character assessments and musicological analysis, and he manages to debunk Ellington’s self-mythologizing, while preserving his stature as the man who caught jazz’s ephemeral genius in a bottle.” 
  • – Publishers Weekly
     
  • Terry Teachout’s biography is destined to be the definitive biography of bandleader, composer, and complex man—Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington. The American Rag
  • Teachout captures the breadth of [Duke’s] life… with verve and insight. The Huffington Post 
     
  • Teachout’s book, as in the case of his earlier one on Armstrong, is the masterwork.” 
  • “Teachout’s Duke reveals the man behind ‘Mood Indigo’ as a sly, taciturn man who guarded his secrets well. Obviously a labor of love, this 480-page biography sheds new light on one of the most important figures in the history of American music.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “In his clear-eyed reassessment of a man regarded in godlike terms, Teachout…delves behind ‘the mask of smiling, noncommittal urbanity that he showed to the world.’ The facts and stories he relates aren’t new, but rarely have they had such a compelling narrative flow or ring of reliability…Teachout keeps his psychoanalyzing within safe limits; he contextualizes historically without sounding contrived, and honors his subject’s musical achievements through just the right amount of close analysis…Teachout relates even the most dramatic episodes in the Ellington story with a poised impartiality. He doesn’t take a novelistic approach, nor does he describe music with…lyrical flights of fancy…Teachout writes in an earthbound style marked by sound scholarship and easy readability.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A thoroughly researched homage…Teachout delivers a Duke unlike any we’ve seen in previous biographies…At last, Teachout affirms that music was Ellington’s greatest mistress—and to her, the composer was unrelentingly loyal.”

    Essence

  • “Though respectful and musically knowing, Teachout presents the famously evasive and not altogether admirable Ellington scars and all, including the rarely photographed one on his left cheek, inflicted by his jealous wife. It is Ellington’s breathtakingly enormous musical contribution and his gift for collaboration, albeit often appropriation, that is the fitting focus of this important book.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Teachout gives much insight into Ellington’s life, personality, working habits, and compositions.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Teachout neatly balances colorful anecdote with shrewd character assessments and musicological analysis, and he manages to debunk Ellington’s self-mythologizing, while preserving his stature as the man who caught jazz’s ephemeral genius in a bottle.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “With a biography of Louis Armstrong under his belt, the author now has his sights on Duke Ellington, and this audiobook is well worth hearing: fascinatin’, illuminatin’, and syncopatin’. Peter Francis James’ loud, resonant voice is a far cry from jazz cool, but it demands notice. James lends the book an energy that keeps the story moving and enables the listener to hear every crystal-clear syllable. He doesn’t develop specific character voices, opting instead for subtle accents and changes of pitch and tone. James does a nice job.”

    AudioFile

  • Longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award for Nonfiction
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2013 in Nonfiction
  • A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book in Music
  • One of the Daily Beast’s Must-Reads for Fall 2013
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About the Author

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. 

About the Narrator

Peter Francis James is an accomplished actor on both the stage and the screen. His theater credits include roles in On Golden Pond, Much Ado about Nothing, and August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. His many film and television credits include Jahfree Neema in Oz, Raymond Parks in The Rosa Parks Story, Joe Gould’s Secret, The Guiding Light, Law & Order: SVU, and Third Watch. James’ audiobook narration has won him nine AudioFile Earphones Awards.