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Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington (Piano & Bandleader)

Born: 29th April 1899, Washington, D.C., U.S.

Died: 24th May 1974, New York City, U.S.

Nationality: American

Artist's website:

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than six decades.

Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward and gained a national profile through his orchestra's appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem. In the 1930s, his orchestra toured in Europe. Although widely considered a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington embraced the phrase "beyond category" as a liberating principle and referred to his music as part of the more general category of American Music.

Some of the jazz musicians who were members of Ellington's orchestra, such as saxophonist Johnny Hodges, are considered among the best players in the idiom. Ellington melded them into the best-known orchestral unit in the history of jazz. Some members stayed with the orchestra for several decades.

Further Reading: Duke Ellington

 Classic Recordings, Ellington, Mingus & Roach - Money Jungle

One of the most exciting trio recordings in jazz, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach's Money Jungle is the sound of three super-sized egos thrashing out their differences in the studio.

 Artist Anthologies, A fascinating Duke Ellington biography by Terry Teachout

Matt explores Duke Ellington's life and music through Terry Teachout's biography, which paints a picture of both the musician and the world he was working in.

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