Chapter

A Locomotive Laboratory of Place: Duke Ellington and His Orchestra

in Lonesome Roads and Streets of Dreams

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780226044941
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226044965 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226044965.003.0004
A Locomotive Laboratory of Place: Duke Ellington and His Orchestra

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This chapter turns to the Duke Ellington Orchestra, concentrating on “Air-Conditioned Jungle” and the four-part The Deep South Suite from the 1946 Chicago Civic Opera House show. Competing voices, meanings, and representations of the spatial experiences of black America can be heard by closely listening to the music of the Ellington Orchestra. The “Air-Conditioned Jungle” and the four-part The Deep South Suite were both explicitly place-themed, and showed with particular clarity the complexities of the band's musical evocation of American places. “Air-Conditioned Jungle” was a musical place of intense movement and fragmentation, but it was also a place of order through communicative dialogue. The Deep South Suite was the combined product of seventeen musicians and their own personal histories. “Magnolias” and “Happy-Go-Lucky Local” aroused images of the region that are soaked in myth and nostalgia as well as a difficult, often cruel reality.

Keywords: Duke Ellington Orchestra; Air-Conditioned Jungle; Deep South Suite; Chicago Opera House; Magnolias; Happy-Go-Lucky

Chapter.  18694 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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