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.

AGM 2023 - Postponed!

Due to recently announced rail strikes, we will be postponing our AGM, which had been due to take place on Saturday the 13th of May, at the Model Railway Club in London. We’re very sorry for the disruption and look forward to booking a later date. Please come see us! You also don’t have to wait till the AGM if you want to get involved - drop us an email!

DESUK TV: Uptown Lockdown

Episodes are available on YouTube.

For 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.

Non-society events

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

Many of our members are musicians who perform Ellington material: * Frank Griffith: saxophonist, clarinettist, composer and educator. Find out more at www.frankgriffith.co.uk. * Quentin Bryar plays for the Louisiana Rhythm Kings. See louisianarhythmkings.co.uk.

Frank Griffith Upcoming Gigs

Date/Time:7 October, 7:30PM
Venue: Bridport Arts Centre. 9 South Street, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 3NR.
Featuring: “Benny Vibes Again”-Tribute to the music of Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton. Frank Griffith- clarinet, and Roger Beaujolais- Vibes.
Info: www.bridport-arts.com. 01308 424901
Admission: £20

Date/Time: 10 October, 9.30PM
Featuring: Frank Griffith Nonet with Abbie Fairchild
Location: Frederiks Bar. 32 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BX. www.frederikshopestreet.com
Admission: Free

Date/Time: 21 October, 8PM
Featuring: Frank Griffith Trio with Mike Hughes- vibraphone
Venue: Zeffirelli’s. Compston Road, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9AD
www.zeffirellis.com. 01539 433845
Admission: £4

Date/Time: 28 October, 8.30PM
Venue-Ma Boyles, 7 Tower Gardens, Water Street, Liverpool, L3 1LG.
Featuring- Frank Griffith Trio, w/John McCormick- bass, John Wheatcroft- guitar
Info: 0151 236 0070
Admission- Free

Date/Time: 29 October , 3-5PM
Venue: Hightown Pub and Kitchen, Alt Road,Hightown, Liverpool, L38 0BA.
Featuring: Frank Griffith Trio
Info: 0151 929 2492
Admission: Free

Date/Time:5 November, 7PM
Venue: The Richmond Tavern, 23A Church Road, Liverpool, L15 9EA
Featuring: Frank w/Penny Lane Jazz
Info: 0151 733 9025
Admission: Free

Date/Time: 8 November 7PM
Featuring: Frank Griffith Quartet with Abbie Fairchild- vocal
Venue: Christ The King Social Club. Score Lane, Liverpool, L16 6AW
Info: lesleyscholes@blueyonder.co.uk 07762 360591
Admission: £12.50

Date/Time: 10 December , 3-5PM
Venue:Hightown Pub and Kitchen, Alt Road,Hightown, Liverpool, L38 0BA.
Featuring: Frank Griffith Trio
Info: 0151 929 2492
Admission: Free

Pigfoot Play Ellington

Pigfoot (Facebook, Bandcamp) presents an imaginative reworking of a range of Duke Ellington’s iconic compositions, from the early Cotton Club blues material to Swing hits and through to the exotica that was inspired by Ellington’s extensive travels.

Pigfoot was formed by Chris Batchelor in 2013 to play classic 1920’s New Orleans material, spontaneously re-invented through the band’s wild musicality and wry humour. Their inquisitive exploration of repertoire then led them further afield, through a series of gigs entitled Pigfoot Play… Here they extended in all directions, with sets dedicated to Opera, Motown, Elvis, Bacharach and the hits of 1972.

The members of Pigfoot are all devotees of the Ellington sound - the muted rasp of trumpeter Cootie Williams, the poised grace of Harry Carney’s baritone, the dense crunch of Duke’s piano voicings and the buoyant bounce of drummer Sonny Greer are all reflected in the engaging and individual approaches of Chris Batchelor, James Allsopp, Liam Noble and Paul Clarvis. An entertainingly riotous, swinging, delicate and atmospheric account of Ellington’s legacy is promised.


  • Chris Batchelor - trumpet, Eb cornet
  • James Allsopp - baritone sax, bass clarinet
  • Liam Noble - piano
  • Paul Clarvis - drums

Upcoming dates:

Recent Tweets

Recent posts

Some Lockdown Listening Suggestions

Running out of Ellington (or Jazz in general) to listen to? Here are a few suggestions from around the web:

Got any more suggetions? Post them in our Discord chatroom at https://discord.gg/efQNUMa

Edward Green: Delighting in the Duke

All About Jazz recently published an extensive interview with Edward Green, Professor at Manhattan School of Music and the editor of the Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington.

Ellington’s… masterpieces are vibrant evidence that opposite aspects of ourselves are meant to work together. And when they do, the result is beauty. – Edward Green

Enjoy it here.

Rabbit's Blues

Oxford University Press presents Con Chapman’s new biography of the great saxophonist and Ellington frontman Johnny Hodges.

As the first ever biography on Johnny Hodges, Rabbit’s Blues details his place as one of the premier artists of the alto sax in jazz history, and his role as co-composer with Ellington.

The estimated release date is early November; look out for a review in a future Blue Light.

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