Duke Ellington

A Jazz Legend - Conner Meikle Period 2

Making Jazz History

Born April 29, 1899, in Washington, D.C., Edward Kennedy Ellington was a musical genius. He had strong roots with both of his parents being pianists. Ellington began playing piano at the age of 7, and wrote his first song "Soda Fountain Rag" in 1914 while working at a cafe. He then gathered a group and would play gigs for dances and parties. Ellington then made the risky move to Harlem to further pursue his musical career. By 1924, he had produced eight records, with credit for composing on three of them. In 1927, Ellington arranged the Cotton Club Orchestra, a jazz group that performed and recorded for several months.

The 1920s were a starting period for Duke Ellington, and the future only brought more fame and success for him. After this time, he recorded his top hits, such as "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" and "In a Sentimental Mood". The Ellington Orchestra performed overseas and became one of the most popular music groups of the time, and they remain famous today. Ellington was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1965, but was turned down. Duke Ellington performed his last show on March 20, 1974, at Northern Illinois University. He then passed away two months later on May 24.

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