Sophisticated Lady

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"Sophisticated Lady"
Single by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra
Released1933 (1933)
RecordedFebruary 15, 1933 (1933-02-15)
Songwriter(s)Duke Ellington

"Sophisticated Lady" is a jazz standard, composed as an instrumental in 1932 by Duke Ellington.


Additional credit is given to publisher Irving Mills whose words were added to the song by Mitchell Parish. The words met with approval from Ellington, who described them as "wonderful—but not entirely fitted to my original conception". That original conception was inspired by three of Ellington's grade school teachers. "They taught all winter and toured Europe in the summer. To me that spelled sophistication."[1][2]

Lawrence Brown, the trombone player in Ellington's band at the time, claimed that he was responsible for the main hook in the A section of the tune. Ellington paid him $15 for his contribution, but he was never officially credited.[3]

Duke Ellington and His Orchestra introduced "Sophisticated Lady" in 1933[4][2] with an instrumental recording of the song that featured solos by Toby Hardwick on alto sax, Barney Bigard on clarinet, Lawrence Brown on trombone and Ellington on piano. The recording entered the charts on 27 May 1933 and rose to number three.[5][2]

Singer Adelaide Hall recorded with Ellington in 1927, 1932, and 1933,[6] but only recorded two versions of "Sophisticated Lady", in 1944 (with Phil Green And His Rhythm)[7] and in 1976, on her album "Hall of Ellington."[8] The song appeared on the soundtrack of the 1989/90 documentary celebrating her life entitled Sophisticated Lady.[9] In his autobiography 'Music Is My Mistress' on p106 Ellington writes that 'George Gershwin once told Oscar Levant that he wished he had written the bridge to Sophisticated Lady, and that made me very proud'

Other recordings[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Who Was Duke's Sophisticated Lady?". All About Jazz. 31 May 2006. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. New York City: Oxford University Press. p. 389. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  3. ^ Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. Oxford University Press. p. 387.
  4. ^ "Ellington Sessions 1933". Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Jazz Standards Songs and Instrumentals (Sophisticated Lady)". Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  6. ^ Collins, Glenn (10 November 1993). "Adelaide Hall, 92, International Star of Cabaret". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  7. ^ Decca – F. 8467
  8. ^ "The Jazz Discography". The Jazz Discography. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Sophisticated Lady A Musical Self-portrait Adelaide Hall". The Library of Congress. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Dangerous Liaisons". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  11. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Toku Do". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Live at the Riverside". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Billie Holiday Discography". Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Kenton with Voices". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  15. ^ "Silver Rain". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  16. ^ Tauss, Lucy (1 May 2005). "Marcus Miller: Silver Rain". JazzTimes. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  17. ^ "Mulgrew Miller Discography". Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  18. ^ Sawyer, Bobbie Jean (25 March 2021). "Ray Stevens Gives 'Goin' Out of My Head' the 'High-Class Bluegrass' Treatment [Premiere]". Retrieved May 31, 2021.

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