Duke Ellington auction items list
The time is almost here to bring home a piece of music history.
Around 250 of famed pianist and composer Duke Ellington’s personal belongings will go on sale later this month at National Jazz Museum in Harlem, New York in an event organized by Guernsey’s auction house.
Among some of the late Ellington’s possessions up for bidding are handwritten manuscripts, items from his wardrobe, and his legendary white baby grand piano.
Below are some of Ellington’s items up for grabs.
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White baby grand piano
Throughout the bulk of his career, Ellington was known to use two other pianos. But the white baby grand piano was the one with which he wrote most of his music. The piano, as seen above, was photographed at the iconic Apollo Theater in Harlem.
Red silk jacket
Made of Japanese silk, the red jacket was a regular item in Ellington’s performance wardrobe. The inside boasts a floral pattern and a label with Ellington’s name — a common feature on his clothes — and dated December 27, 1965.
Ellington fell hard for Japanese craftsmanship during a 1966 tour in the country. The custom-made jacket was created by his tailor, Gaetano of Chicago, after he sent back fabrics he hand-picked.
“Portrait of Billy Strayhorn” by Duke Ellington
Ellington painted this piece in 1973, six years after the death of a collaborator and friend in Strayhorn. The Franklin Mint nabbed paintings from 10 celebrities for a lithograph series. Ellington forked over one version to the Mint, but retained this slightly different version for himself.
“Satin Doll” by Duke Ellington
“Satin Doll” is one of Ellington’s signature songs. Here, he tried to visualize his subject of it, even replicating how the woman in the song is posed looking over her shoulder. According to Guernsey’s, the woman possesses features from the most important women in Ellington’s life: singer-actress Lena Horne; his sister, Ruth; and Marian Logan, the wife of his doctor and best friend, Arthur Logan.
“Lush Life” lead sheet
The lyrics and music for this jazz standard were written by Strayhorn; fittingly, the sheet is in his handwriting. In addition to words and musical notes, Strayhorn also marked corrections on the document with the stereotypical red ink.
See the list of more items to be auctioned here. Viewing of the items will take place Tuesday from noon to 8 p.m. ET and May 18 from noon to 6 p.m. ET ahead of the auction that evening at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.