Posted by themusicsover on May 24, 2010
Edward “Duke” Ellington
April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974
Duke Ellington was a jazz composer, band leader and pianist who is considered by many to be the greatest jazz musician of all times. So influential he was, that many of his band members went on to become legends themselves. After learning to play the piano as a child, Ellington launched his music career in 1917 when he started gigging around his Washington DC neighborhood. By the time he was 24, he had already made at least eight records, giving him the opportunity to broaden his touring base across the US and eventually to Europe. By the ’30s and ’40s, Ellington was releasing hit after hit, including “Take The A Train,” “Mood Indigo,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “In A Sentimental Mood,” and “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If You Aint Got That Swing.” Ellington continued to tour and make records into his 70s, including the one album he made with Frank Sinatra, Francis A. & Edward K. In 1965, Ellington was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize but did not receive one. He did however, win eleven Grammy awards, receive a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and France’s Legion Of Honor Award along with countless other recognitions. Duke Ellington died of lung cancer and pneumonia on May 24, 1974. Over 12,000 people attended his funeral.
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