April 29, 1899, his parents were Daisy Kennedy Ellington and James Edward Ellington.
May 24, 1974 in New York, New York.
Also Known As:
Fondly called "The Duke", his full name is Edward Kennedy Ellington, one of the leading jazz figures of the 20th century. He was a composer, bandleader and jazz pianist. He formed his first band called The Duke’s Serenaders in 1917 and they performed throughout Washington. Duke moved to New York in 1923 and the band was renamed The Washingtonians. They played in different clubs including the renowned Cotton Club. As the band's fame grew they began touring US cities and Europe. They also held concerts at Carnegie Hall where they performed their extended works.
Type of Compositions:
Duke Ellington recorded more than 2000 compositions, mainly jazz pieces. He is primarily known as a composer of instrumentals, lyrics to his compositions were added later on. He and his band performed with renowned artists like Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie.
Both his parents wanted him to become a musician and at age 7 he began learning how to play the piano. Jazz pianist Harvey Brooks, whom he met and showed him piano playing techniques, was one of his great inspirations. Duke was later on taught by Louis Brown and Oliver "Doc" Perry.
Some of his famous works are "A Drum is a Woman," "Sophisticated Lady," "Crescendo in Blue," "In A Sentimental Mood," "Happy-Go-Lucky Local," "I Didn't Know About You," "Prelude to A Kiss," "Mood Indigo," "I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart," "New Orleans," "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)," "Rockin’ in Rhythm," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "Take the 'A' Train," "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me," "Satin Doll" and "The Mooche."
Duke received honorary doctorates from Howard and Yale Universities and was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation in 1999. France bestowed upon him the Legion of Honor, and in the US, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971.
For more info on Duke Ellington, visit his official Web site.