Teacher's Guide for Cobblestone: Duke Ellington
A SYNTHESIS OF SOUND (page 2)
1. How did Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington describe jazz?
GREAT AND GLORIOUS: DUKE ELLINGTON'S EARLY YEARS (page 8)
2. Jazz traces its beginnings to what two distinctive American musical styles? Describe each of these styles.
3. What is the probable origin of the earliest jazz bands?
4. What role did improvisation play in jazz music?
5. As jazz began to move north to St. Louis, Chicago, and New York City, what new trend was added?
6. What famous performers were part of this new trend?
7. What elements of authentic jazz did Ellington begin to incorporate into his music?
8. What did Ellington prove jazz could be other than just entertainment?
9. What was the new jazz craze of the mid-1930s, and who were its originators?
10. To what did this trend give way after World War II? Who popularized this new jazz innovation?
11. How do many people view Ellington's abilities as a composer?
1. Where and when was Ellington born? How did he get the nickname "Duke"?
THE SPIRIT LIVES ON (page 13)
2. Describe Ellington's early life. How did his mother and father influence him?
3. How was growing up in Washington, D.C., an advantage to a young man like Ellington?
4. What prompted his mother to enroll him in piano lessons?
5. When Ellington finally became interested in practicing, where did he go to learn the type of music he wanted to play?
6. What two pianists took an interest in Ellington?
7. In his early performances in high school, how did he hide the fact that he didn't know many pieces?
8. How did he get started with his own band? At what kinds of events did they play?
9. What prompted Ellington to move to New York City?
1. What majors can students pursue at the Duke Ellington High School of the Arts?
STEPPING OUT IN HARLEM (page 14)
2. What is the acceptance procedure for the school?
3. What is the school's aim?
1. Why did artists of all kinds flock to Harlem in the 1920s?
A MUSICAL EVOLUTION: THE ELLINGTON ORCHESTRA (page 18)
2. When was Ellington hired to play at the Cotton Club? How did this help his career?
3. Ellington and his friends got their first opportunity to play in New York by joining what band? At what club were they first hired to play? Where were they next hired to play?
4. For what did Ellington win an award in 1932?
1. What was one of Ellington's greatest talents?
BILLY STRAYHORN (page 22)
2. Describe the ordeals of train travel in the 1930s.
3. Describe the camaraderie between the Prince of Wales and Sonny Greer.
4. How was the orchestra's music received in the South?
5. To what areas of the world did Ellington's orchestra travel? How were they received in the Soviet Union?
6. What did the U.S. State Department call the orchestra?
7. List eight great talents who played with the orchestra and their contributions.
8. Why was it a challenge when performers such as Cootie Williams left the orchestra?
Describe the relationship between Strayhorn and Ellington. What was Strayhorn's contribution to the orchestra and Ellington's music?
MAKING A STATEMENT AT NEWPORT (page 26)
1. What was Ellington's concern about the scheduling of his performance at the Newport Jazz Festival?
CROW'S FEAT (page 28)
2. What factors had led to the orchestra's loss of popularity?
3. How did Ellington and Paul Gonsalves change people's attitudes during this performance?
Test your musical knowledge with this crossword puzzle.
A MUSICIAN'S LIFE (page 30)
1. When were Edna Thompson and Ellington married? What happened to their marriage?
THE ETERNAL ELLINGTON (page 34)
2. Describe the relationship between Ellington and his son, Mercer.
3. What was Ellington's relationship with his younger sister, Ruth?
4. In what ways did Ellington live up to his nickname?
5. Do you think Ellington missed having a conventional life?
1. What styles are combined in Ellington's music?
SITES AND SOUNDS (page 40)
2. With what revue did Ellington and his orchestra perform on the vaudeville circuit?
3. In what movies did they appear and perform? What was their last film appearance?
4. How did Ellington describe his three-part Black, Brown, and Beige composition? What styles of music did he merge?
5. Which of Ellington's musical scores was nominated for an Academy Award?
6. On what Broadway tribute to Ellington did his son, Mercer, and his granddaughter, Mercedes, work?
1. What organization developed the exhibit "Beyond Category"?
FROM THE ARCHIVES
2. From where did the material for this exhibit come?
3. If you were to visit this exhibit, what would you see?
Be sure to check "From the Archives" on page 45 for related title suggestions. You also may want to check the following issues:
Prohibition (October 1993),
Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement (February 1994),
Louis Armstrong and the Art of Jazz (October 1994).