These pages are a portfolio of record labels, album covers and sheet music covers of the music of Duke Ellington. The primary focus is on 78 rpm records, the primary recording medium from the beginning of Ellington's career until 1950 or so. You will find pages for 45rpm labels, LP and EP record covers, and sheet music covers. There are separate pages for program transcriptions, V-discs and the Stereo Seven album.
I provide the date and location of most recording sessions and where possible, a link to the particular recording online. It is my hope that this website will be useful as a research tool for students of Ellingtonia for many years to come.
My collaborator and I began this project in mid 2007, and it grew into something far bigger than we expected. In August 2010 I made a major revision to the menus and page layouts, sorely needed after three years of constant expansion. A delegate to the Ellington '08 conference in London expressed a concern that the pages are too slow to download because there are too many images. I initially addressed that by having separate pages for each decade. Those grew to be too big as well, so in early 2010 I reorganized the pages into smaller time periods, but even those became too big. The current version is generally in two or three year periods to speed up the download time, and I am in the process of optimizing the images to make the image files smaller and quicker to download.
This project has been a collaboration with an individual who prefers to remain anonymous, who has provided the vast majority of the images and who has cheerfully and patiently pointed out the inevitable glitches that are bound to occur in a project of this size. That person knows how grateful I am.
You may notice some labels appear to be duplicates, but in most cases, if you look closely you will find there is a difference – it may be a slightly different font, a different text position, or a colour difference. Where I have left the runoff section showing, it is generally because the catalogue number or the matrix is engraved or etched into the wax. By opening the picture with your own image software and brightening it, you may be able to read the number but it will throw the colour of the label off.
Label colours are not consistent. This is partly due to my adjusting brightness to show the information better, but often it will be because the images come from many sources, with no coordination of equipment or lighting. Where I have serious doubts about otherwise identical labels, I have put both into the webpage.
I have relied primarily on Luciano Massaglio and Giovanni M. Volonté's New Desor, An updated edition of Duke Ellington's Story on Records and on Benny H. Aasland's 1954 The Wax Works of Duke Ellington. The latter was kindly sent to me by my friend Frits Schjøtt and is reproduced in its entirety on this website, with the kind permission of Mr. Aasland's son.
Other discographies I refer to include Jorgen Grunnet Jepsen's 1959 3 volume discography of DUKE ELLINGTON, Willie Timner's Ellingtonia, Fourth Edition, various DEMS Bulletins, Mr. Aasland's 1978 'The "Wax Works" of Duke Ellington, The 6 March 1940-30 July 1942 Period' and Dick M. Bakker's Duke Ellington on Microgroove - Volume One - 1923-1936