Artists & Performers

Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and bandleader who was one of the most influential figures in jazz music history. Born on April 29, 1899, in Washington, D.C., Ellington's career spanned over fifty years, during which he composed thousands of pieces of music, many of which have become jazz standards. Ellington's career began in the 1920s when he formed his own band, The Duke's Serenaders, which later became known as the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The band's residency at the Cotton Club in Harlem during the late 1920s and early 1930s brought them widespread acclaim and helped establish Ellington as a leading figure in the jazz world. Ellington's compositions were known for their sophistication, innovation, and versatility. He drew inspiration from a wide range of musical styles, including blues, classical, and gospel, and his arrangements often featured intricate harmonies and melodies. Some of his most famous compositions include "Mood Indigo," "Take the 'A' Train," "Sophisticated Lady," and "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)." In addition to his work as a composer and bandleader, Ellington was a talented pianist and arranger, known for his distinctive playing style and improvisational skills. He also collaborated with some of the greatest jazz musicians of his time, including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and John Coltrane. Throughout his career, Ellington received numerous awards and honors, including multiple Grammy Awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was also posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation in 1999 for his lifetime contributions to music. Duke Ellington's influence on jazz music and American culture is immeasurable, and his legacy continues to be celebrated by musicians and fans around the world. He passed away on May 24, 1974, but his music remains as vibrant and relevant today as it was during his lifetime.
Upcoming Events
25. Duke Ellington, ‘Ellington at Newport’ (1956)
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Live Jam
Sat, 28 Sep, 09:00 PM
25. Duke Ellington, ‘Ellington at Newport’ (1956) The gig couldn't have started less promisingly: four probably drunk band members failed to show…