Edward Kennedy " Duke " Ellington April 29, — May 24, was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestrawhich he led from until his death over a career spanning more than six decades. Born in Washington, D. In the s, his orchestra toured in Europe. Although widely considered to have been 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 rather than to a musical genre such as jazz.
Some of the jazz musicians who were members of Ellington's orchestra, such as saxophonist Johnny Hodgesare considered to be 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. A master at writing miniatures for the three-minute 78 rpm recording format, Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions; his extensive body of work is the largest recorded personal jazz legacy, with many of his pieces having become standards.
Ellington also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, for example Juan Tizol 's " Caravan ", and " Perdido ", which brought a Spanish tinge to big band jazz. In the early s, Ellington began a nearly thirty-year collaboration with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhornwhom he called his writing and arranging companion. Following an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festivalin JulyEllington and his orchestra enjoyed a major revival and embarked on world tours.
Ellington recorded for most American record companies of his era, performed in several films, scored several, and composed a handful of Duke Ellington And His Orchestra - The Duke In London musicals. Ellington was noted for his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and for his eloquence and charisma. His reputation continued to rise after he died, and he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize Special Award for music in Both his parents were pianists.
Daisy primarily played parlor songsand James preferred operatic arias. When Edward Ellington was a child, his family showed racial pride and support in their home, as did many other families. African Americans in D. At age seven, Ellington began taking piano lessons from Marietta Clinkscales. Daisy surrounded her son with dignified women to reinforce his manners and teach him elegance. His childhood friends noticed that his casual, offhand manner and dapper dress gave him the bearing of a young nobleman,  so they began calling him "Duke.
So he called me Duke. Though Ellington took piano lessons, he was more interested in baseball. His first job was selling peanuts at Washington Senators baseball games. Ellington started sneaking into Frank Holiday's Poolroom at age fourteen. Hearing the music of Duke Ellington And His Orchestra - The Duke In London poolroom pianists ignited Ellington's love for the instrument, and he began to take his piano studies seriously.
He created the piece by ear, as he had not yet learned to read and write music. I Queridinha - Fausto Papetti - Soft And Sweet established as having my own repertoire.
Ellington continued listening to, watching, and imitating ragtime pianists, not only in Washington, D. With the additional guidance of Washington pianist and band leader Oliver "Doc" Perry, Ellington learned to read sheet musicproject a professional style, and improve his technique. Ellington was also inspired by his first encounters with stride pianists James P.
Johnson and Luckey Roberts. His attachment to music was so strong that in he turned down an art scholarship to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Three months before graduating he dropped out of Armstrong Manual Training School, where he was studying commercial art. Working as a freelance sign-painter fromEllington began assembling groups to play for dances. In he met drummer Sonny Greer from New Jersey, who encouraged Ellington's ambition to become a professional musician.
Ellington built his music business through his day job: when a customer asked him to make a sign for a dance or party, he would ask if they had musical entertainment; if not, Ellington would offer to play for the occasion.
He also had a messenger job with the U. Navy and State departments, where he made a wide range of contacts. Ellington moved out of his parents' home and bought his own as he became a successful pianist. At first, he played in other ensembles, and in late formed his first group, "The Duke's Serenaders" "Colored Syncopators", his telephone directory advertising proclaimed. His first play date was at the True Reformer's Hall, where he took home 75 cents. Ellington played throughout the D.
The band included childhood friend Otto Hardwickwho began playing the string bass, then moved to Duke Ellington And His Orchestra - The Duke In London sax and finally settled on alto saxophone; Arthur Whetsol on trumpet; Elmer Snowden on banjo; and Sonny Greer on drums. The band thrived, performing for both African-American and white audiences, a rarity in the segregated society of the day.
After the young musicians left the Sweatman Orchestra to strike out on their own, they found an emerging jazz scene that was highly competitive with difficult inroad. They hustled pool by day and played whatever gigs they could find. The young band met stride pianist Willie "The Lion" Smithwho introduced them to the scene and Duke Ellington And His Orchestra - The Duke In London them some money.
They played at rent-house parties for income. After a few months, the young musicians returned to Washington, D. This was followed in September by a move to the Hollywood Club at 49th and Broadway and a four-year engagement, which gave Ellington a solid artistic base.
He was known to play the bugle at the end of each performance. They renamed themselves The Washingtonians. Snowden left the group in early and Ellington took over as bandleader. After a fire, the club was re-opened as the Club Kentucky often referred to as the Kentucky Club. Ellington made eight records inreceiving composing credit on three including "Choo Choo".
Duke Ellington and his Kentucky Club Orchestra grew to a group of ten players; they developed their own sound by displaying the non-traditional expression of Ellington's arrangements, the street rhythms of Harlem, and the exotic-sounding trombone growls and wah-wahs, high-squealing trumpets, and saxophone blues licks of the band members. For a short time, soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet played with them, imparting his propulsive swing and superior musicianship to the young band members.
After recording a handful of acoustic titles during —26, Ellington's signing with Mills allowed him to record prolifically, although sometimes he recorded different versions of the same tune.
Mills often took a co-composer credit. Whoopee Makers and the Ten Black Duke Ellington And His Orchestra - The Duke In London were other pseudonyms. In SeptemberKing Oliver turned down a regular booking for his group as the house band at Harlem's Cotton Club ;  the offer passed to Ellington after Jimmy McHugh suggested him and Mills arranged an audition. At the Cotton Club, Ellington's group performed all the music for the revues, which mixed comedy, dance numbers, vaudeville, burlesque, music, and illicit alcohol.
Here he moved in with a dancer, his second wife Mildred Dixon. Although trumpeter Bubber Miley was a member of the orchestra for only a short period, he had a major influence on Ellington's sound. One side in particular, " Creole Love Call ", became a worldwide sensation and gave both Ellington and Hall their first hit record. An alcoholic, Miley had to leave the band before they gained wider fame.
He died in at the age of 29, but he was an important influence on Cootie Williamswho replaced him. From Vodery, as he Ellington says himself, he drew his chromatic convictions, his uses of the tones ordinarily extraneous to the diatonic scalewith the consequent alteration of the harmonic character of his music, its broadening, The deepening of his resources.
It has become customary to ascribe the classical influences upon Duke — DeliusDebussy and Ravel — to direct contact with their music. Actually his serious appreciation of those and other modern composers, came after his meeting with Vodery.
That year, Ellington and his Orchestra connected with a whole different audience in a concert with Maurice Chevalier and they also performed at the Roseland Ballroom"America's foremost ballroom". Australian-born composer Percy Grainger was an early admirer and supporter. Unfortunately Bach is dead, Delius is very ill but we are happy to have with us today The Duke". Ellington led the orchestra by conducting from the keyboard using piano cues and visual gestures; very rarely did he conduct using a baton.
By his orchestra consisted of six brass instruments, four reeds, and a four-man rhythm section. A complex, private person, he revealed his feelings to only his closest intimates and effectively used his public persona to deflect attention away from himself. Ellington signed exclusively to Brunswick in and stayed with them through late albeit with a short-lived —34 switch to Victor when Irving Mills temporarily moved him and his other acts from Brunswick.
Sonny Greer had been providing occasional vocals and continued to do in a cross-talk feature with Anderson. Radio exposure helped maintain Ellington's public profile as his orchestra began to tour.
While the band's United States audience remained mainly African-American in this period, the Ellington orchestra had a significant following overseas, exemplified by the success of their trip to England and Scotland in Debbie - Souvenirs Del Sol their visit to the European mainland. The British visit saw Ellington win praise from members of the serious music Traffic Jam - Family Jammin - In Skank We Trust, including composer Constant Lambertwhich gave a boost to Ellington's interest in composing longer works.
Those longer pieces had already begun to appear. He had composed and recorded "Creole Rhapsody" as early as issued as both sides of a 12" record for Victor and both sides of a Duke Ellington And His Orchestra - The Duke In London record for Brunswickand a tribute to his mother, "Reminiscing in Tempo", took four 10" record sides to record in after her death in that year. It introduced Billie Holidayand won an Academy Award as the best musical short subject.
For agent Mills the attention was Deep Sweat (Demo) - Meiko - Dear You Demos publicity triumph, as Ellington was now internationally known. On the band's tour through the segregated South inthey avoided some of the traveling difficulties of African-Americans by touring in private railcars. These provided easy accommodations, dining, Heir To It All (2001) - Christ.
- Curio. Volume 3. (File) storage for equipment while avoiding the indignities of Duke Ellington And His Orchestra - The Duke In London facilities. Competition was intensifying, though, as swing bands like Benny Goodman 's began to receive popular attention. Swing dancing became a youth phenomenon, particularly with white college audiences, and danceability drove record sales and bookings. Jukeboxes proliferated nationwide, spreading the gospel of swing.
Ellington's band could certainly swing, but their strengths were mood, nuance, and richness of composition, hence his statement "jazz is music, swing is business". FromEllington began to make recordings with smaller groups sextets, octets, and nonets drawn from his thenman orchestra and he composed pieces intended to feature a specific instrumentalist, as with "Jeep's Blues" for Johnny Hodges"Yearning Shake Dog Shake - The Cure - Concert - The Cure Live Love" for Lawrence Brown"Trumpet in Spades" for Rex Stewart" Echoes of Harlem " for Cootie Williams and "Clarinet Lament" for Barney Bigard.
InEllington returned to the Cotton Club, which had relocated to the mid-town Theater District. In the summer of that year, his father died, and due to many expenses, Ellington's finances were tight, although his situation improved the following year.
Mills though continued to record Ellington. After only a year, his Master and Variety labels the small groups had recorded for the lattercollapsed in lateMills placed Ellington back on Brunswick and those small group units on Vocalion through to Billy Strayhornoriginally hired as a lyricist, began his association with Ellington in Ellington showed great fondness for Strayhorn and never failed to speak glowingly of the man and their collaborative working relationship, "my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brain waves in his head, and his in mine".
Whos The Fool - Singin Sammy Ward - Whos The Fool, Ryuichi Sakamoto - Futurista, Survivor - Rebel Girl, Go Lucid - Modul - Glorious Failure, British rock Symphony - Performing The Music Of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink