Welcome to DESUK

The Duke Ellington Society UK’s purpose is to further the study, appreciation and dissemination of the music of Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington.

We meet regularly in London to listen and socialise, and new arrivals are always welcome.

Our house publication Blue Light is released quarterly. The content is wide ranging and we are fortunate to have amongst our members jazz authors, journalists and critics, and equally fortunate to have many enthusiastic members who, because of their own deep interest, have become expert in particular niches of Ellingtonia.

DESUK Live Broadcast: Uptown Lockdown

We’re doing live broadcasts on Wednesday afternoons, 17:00 London time. We will be discussing matters Ellington and Strayhorn, playing tracks as well as a bit of live versions of their music. You can catch up at any time later.

The recently updated address to watch Uptown Lockdown is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq3QqJgdSJwk4nlmnnaH42Q/live

More details on how to view and participate, or to make a donation to support the show, are on the Uptown Lockdown page.

Chat to us

We’re chatting online using Discord - join us at https://discord.gg/efQNUMa.

2021 AGM

Unfortunately we were unable to hold an AGM in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The DESUK committee is keeping the situation under review, and will aim to organise a physical AGM in the second half of 2021 if it is safe and practical for our members to attend.

A provisional date for the AGM is Saturday the 16th of October 2021 in central London. We will inform our members closer to the time, via Blue Light and this website, if this can go ahead.

Non-society events

Got a gig coming up with an Ellington element? Pop us an email and we can publicise via our website.

Recent Tweets

Recent posts

CBS Tribute to Duke Ellington

CBS ran this tribute to Duke Ellington in 1974. Featuring interviews with Sonny Greer, Russell Procope, Billy Taylor and Ella Fitzgerald and preceded by an advert for a film by the other Duke (John Wayne), and to be enjoyed not only for its footage of the maestro but for the very best in mid-1970s TV advertising.

Dr John 1941 - 2019

Dr John (Malcolm John Rebennack Jr.) passed away on June 6, 2019. Among his extensive discography he leaves us an album of Ellington covers, Duke Elegant. Here’s a fun one. Check out an fascinating reworking of The Flaming Sword on the same album.

Upcoming Conference: Documenting Jazz 2020

Birmingham is hosting 2020’s Documenting Jazz conference in January.

Birmingham City University is pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the Documenting Jazz conference, to be held on 16–18 January 2020. Now in its second year, Documenting Jazz brings together colleagues from across the academic, archive, library, and museum sectors to explore and discuss documenting jazz.

More details at documentingjazz.com

Ron Drotos on Ellington

Spotted over at Ron Drotos’ wesbsite: The Beginner’s Guide To Duke Ellington. A nice introductory article with some good selections. One to share with Ellington newcomers.

Ron told us:

I got on board the Ellington train in the early 1980s, when I was 17-18 years old. My piano teacher Billy Taylor had known Ellington and Strayhorn and used to make me cassettes of out-of-print albums of theirs.

There are a few more Ellington-related blog posts on the site, including the surprising similarity between Duke Ellington, Keith Jarrett, and Elton John, as well as guides to playing some of the songs. We look forward to more!