Duke Ellington, composer, bandleader, pianist
Composer ~ Bandleader
birth name: Edward Kennedy Ellington

Duke Ellington

April 29, 1899, Washington DC ~ May 24, 1974, New York, NY

“The wise musicians are those who play what they can master.” ~ Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington called his music “American Music” rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as “beyond category.” He remains one of the most influential figures in jazz, if not in all American music and is widely considered as one of the twentieth century's best known African American personalites. ~ DukeEllington.com: Duke Ellington ~ retrieved April 21, 2014 © DukeEllington.com

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Honoring musicians. Celebrating birthdays. Remembering death days.

April 29, 1978 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (3) Barry Manilow, Can't Smile Without You ~ #2 (2) Yvonne Elliman, If I Can't Have You ~ #1 (1) The Bee Gees, Night Fever

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Duke Ellington was the most important composer in the history of jazz as well as being a bandleader who held his large group together continuously for almost 50 years. The two aspects of his career were related; Ellington used his band as a musical laboratory for his new compositions and shaped his writing specifically to showcase the talents of his bandmembers, many of whom remained with him for long periods. Ellington also wrote film scores and stage musicals, and several of his instrumental works were adapted into songs that became standards. In addition to touring year in and year out, he recorded extensively, resulting in a gigantic body of work that was still being assessed a quarter century after his death. ~ Allmusic: Duke Ellington ~ retrieved April 21, 2014 © Allmusic

Nicknamed “Duke” as a youngster, Ellington turned down a visual arts scholarship to focus his life on music. With a background in classical, popular, ragtime, and stride music, Ellington emerged as arguably the greatest single talent in the history of jazz. ~ Library Of Congress: April 29, Duke Ellington ~ retrieved May 1, 2016 © Library Of Congress

Duke Ellington ~ Voted into the 1956 Downbeat Jazz Hall Of Fame (Readers Poll).

Duke Ellington ~ Live: At Newport (1956) ~ Named one of the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die in 2008.



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