American musician Duke Ellington.

Duke Ellington

(1899 - 1974)

Among the most important jazz composers of all time, Duke Ellington was born in 1899 and grew up in a middle-class family in Washington, DC. Duke Ellington began studying piano at age seven but claimed that he missed more lessons than he took because he was too obsessed with baseball. He began to play music professionally at the age of seventeen, moving in 1923 to New York City, where he honed his distinctive “jungle” and big-band style. During his career he made recordings with, among others, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane, and Charles Mingus. The composer of such classics as “Satin Doll,” “Sophisticated Lady,” and “Solitude,” he was also, in the opinion of Miles Davis, one of the “real geniuses at arranging music in America.”

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Voices In Time

1944 | St. Louis


A few of Duke Ellington’s favorite things.More

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