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His bandmates included Bubber Miley with his signature “wa-wa” sound, and Joe Nanton, who was known for his trombone “growl.”. Complete Duke Ellington 2017 Biography. Edward Kennedy Ellington, 29 April 1899, Washington, DC, USA, d. 24 May 1974, New York City, New York, USA. The following summer, the band took a leave of absence to head out to California and appear in the film Check and Double Check. After several years recording more or less regularly for Brunswick, Ellington moved to Victor. When he was four years old, he listened to his mother play a popular piano … They separated in 1938 but never divorced. Ellington appeared in and scored the 1959 film Anatomy of a Murder, and its soundtrack won him three of the newly instituted Grammy Awards, for best performance by a dance band, best musical composition of the year, and best soundtrack. He is considered to be one of the most prolific performers and eminent jazz composers of his time. Edward Kennedy Ellington, 29 April 1899, Washington, DC, USA, d. 24 May 1974, New York City, New York, USA. In early 1939 Billy Strayhorn, a young composer, arranger, and pianist, joined the organization. His peers noticed his dressing style and natural grace and began referring to him as Duke. A major new biography of Duke Ellington from the acclaimed author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the twentieth century—and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand. Ellington became widely famous in the 1940s, when he composed several pieces, including “Concerto for Cootie,” “Cotton Tail” and “Ko-Ko.” His hits were often sung by Ivie Anderson, which was Ellington’s band’s favorite female vocalist. They moved back to Washington D.C. and struggled for a while. Duke Ellington: Biography. In 1928, he had two two-sided hits: "Black and Tan Fantasy"/"Creole Love Call" on Victor (now BMG) and "Doin' the New Low Down"/"Diga Diga Doo" on OKeh (now Sony), released as by the Harlem Footwarmers. In 1967 Duke Ellington recorded an album with Frank Sinatra. In the fall, he was back in the Top Ten with a version of the British show tune "Lambeth Walk.". In 1946, he teamed with lyricist John Latouche to write the music for the Broadway musical Beggar's Holiday, which opened on December 26 and ran 108 performances. Freed of the necessity of writing hits and spurred by the increased time available on the LP record, Ellington concentrated more on extended compositions for the rest of his career. Period: Nov 8, 1900 to Nov 8, 1975. His father played operatic arias while parlor songs were his mother’s first choice. Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born in Washington D.C. on April 29, 1899. Later in the fall, the band was back in the Top Ten with "Saddest Tale," and they had two Top Ten hits in 1935, "Merry-Go-Round" and "Accent on Youth." JazzBiographies.com: An online guide to jazz biographies, discographies, reviews, and articles Lyricist Bob Russell took Ellington's 1940 composition "Never No Lament" and set a lyric to it, creating "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." Ask each student to imagine himself or herself as Duke Ellington. 1919), became a well-known jazz trumpeter, composer and bandleader… Stevie Wonder‘s pop hit “Sir Duke” is a tribute to Duke Ellington. (Some of those musicians returned later.) Read more. April 29, He began piano lessons at age seven and was writing music by his teens. Edward Kennedy Ellington (Duke) was born in Washington, DC, in a prosperous middle-class family. Duke Ellington Biography by William Ruhlmann + Follow Artist. If that seemed something of an anomaly in a musical style that emphasizes spontaneous improvisation over written composition, Ellington was talented enough to overcome the oddity. Ellington's next major hit was another signature song for him, "Sophisticated Lady." Here is a short biography of the internationally acclaimed musician, composer, and band leader – Duke Ellington. Report abuse. Duke Ellington was a U.S. pianist, composer, and bandleader. As a bandleader, his orchestra during 1926-74 was always among the top five, whether it be 1929 or 1969. In 1918, Duke Ellington married his high school sweetheart Edna Thompson. He also worked as his father’s business manager. Ellington began playing piano as a child but, despite some local success, took up a career as a sign-painter. After the separation, Ellington began seeing Mildred Dixon, who traveled with him and inspired his songs at the peak of his career. His given name was Edward, not Duke. His mother made a great effort to raise his son to be elegant and well-mannered. Duke, even as a teenager, had a great talent for music. The informational text explains Ellington’s formative years, his accomplishments, and his influence on 20th century music. Three months later, the Sinatra film Assault on a Queen, with an Ellington score, opened in movie houses around the country. https://study.com/academy/lesson/duke-ellington-biography-songs-facts.html They raised Duke as an only child, until his sister, Ruth, was born when Duke … Ellington also wrote film scores and stage musicals, and several of his instrumental works were adapted into songs that became standards. Ellington was the son of a White House butler, James Edward Ellington, and thus grew up in comfortable surroundings. Ellington began playing piano as a child but, despite some local success, took up a career as a sign-painter. Edward Kennedy Duke Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and big-band leader. In addition to touring year in and year out, he recorded extensively, resulting in a gigantic body of work that was still being assessed a quarter century after his death. (A second version of the piece was a chart entry on Victor in March 1932.) Childhood At the age of 7 Edward began taking piano lessons from Marietta Clinkscales and his mother would start to surround him with women to teach him manners and eligance, his friends soon noticed this and nicknamed him "Duke" Ellington. They played in what was called "jungle" style, their sly arrangements often highlighted by the muted growling sound of trumpeter James "Bubber" Miley. And Ellington kept trying more extended pieces. Jul 14, 1914. Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born in Washington, D.C. on April 29, 1899. On the other hand, Daisy preferred to play the parlor songs. His comeback as a live performer led to increased opportunities to tour, and in the fall of 1958 he undertook his first full-scale tour of Europe. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions. They raised Duke as an only child, until his sister, Ruth, was born when Duke was sixteen years old. While maintaining his job at The Cotton Club, Ellington took his band downtown to play in the Broadway musical Show Girl, featuring the music of George Gershwin, in the summer of 1929. Duke Ellington was the most important composer in the history of jazz as well as being a bandleader who held his large group together continuously for almost 50 years. The relationship was stormy and filled with drama. The Ellington band left The Cotton Club in February 1931 to begin a tour that, in a sense, would not end until the leader's death 43 years later. Edward Kennedy was later nicknamed Duke by his childhood friend, Edgar McEntire and this name has stuck with him throughout his life and career. "New Orleans Suite" earned another Grammy in the category in 1971, as did "Togo Brava Suite" in 1972, and the posthumous The Ellington Suites in 1976. The band was then known as ‘Elmer Snowden and his Black Sox Orchestra’ which change… The U.S. entry into World War II in December 1941 and the onset of the recording ban called by the American Federation of Musicians in August 1942 slowed the Ellington band's momentum. The Story of the "Thunderbolt" That Led to Chick Corea Finally Appreciating Mozart. In the 1920s, Duke Ellington began to perform in Broadway nightclubs. They separated in 1938 but never divorced. In 1919 he met drummer Sonny Greerfrom New Jersey, who encouraged Ellington's ambition to become a professional musician. "You've got to find some way of saying it without saying Their residency at the famed club, which lasted more than three years, made Ellington a nationally known musician due to radio broadcasts that emanated from the bandstand. One of the greatest composers of the 20th century, and the leader for 50 years of a band that became the greatest of all jazz orchestras. Each student creates a comic strip about life as child or teenage Duke Ellington. Over 12,000 people attended his funeral. He did not usually perform with the orchestra, but he became Ellington's composition partner to the extent that soon it was impossible to tell where Ellington's writing left off and Strayhorn's began. He was listening to the piano music and began to love the instrument. Apr 29, 1899. born in washington d.c. as edward ellington Duke was born in Washington DC. A childhood home where music legend and Washington, D.C., icon Duke Ellington lived is on the market for $1.2 million. In 1917, he was working as a freelance sign-painter and also assembled groups to play for dances. DUKE ELLINGTON Duke Ellington, named Edward Kennedy Ellington at birth, was born on April 29, 1899, in Washington D.C. to James Edward Ellington and Daisy Kennedy Ellington.Both of Ellington’s parents were talented, musical individuals. They got to play in Atlantic City and the limited exposure they got earned them a gig at Exclusive Club in Harlem. "I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues. He earned 75 cents. Ellington's orchestra featured jazz's biggest names and achieved an almost perfect unity of style, making tremendous … He also had a messenger job with the U.S. Navy and State depart… He also had a messenger job with the U.S. Navy and State departments, which allowed him to make a lot of contacts. The couple had only one child, son Mercer Kennedy Ellington. Ellington was celebrated in Stevie Wonder's song "Sir Duke" (from "Songs in the Key of Life" (1976)). Moreover, he … Ellington often found musicians with a unique style. Helpful. Ellington appeared on the cover of Time magazine, and he signed a new contract with Columbia Records, which released Ellington at Newport, the best-selling album of his career. Born: 1899.Died: 1974.Lived in: United States Edward Kennedy 'Duke' Ellington was born on April the 29th 1899 in Washington, D.C. Second cousin of the artist Romare Bearden . By his late teens, he was making enough money to help his parents move into a better house. When Ellington was 14 years old, he began sneaking into Frank Holidays Poolroom. As a bandleader, his orchestra during 1926-74 was always among the top five, whether it be 1929 or 1969. As a young artist, he accompanied his band member and drummer Sonny Greer to join New York’s Wilber Sweatman Orchestra. Russell repeated his magic with another 1940 Ellington instrumental, "Concerto for Cootie" (a showcase for trumpeter Cootie Williams), creating "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me." His family had always shown racial pride and support in their community. One of Ellington's first professional gigs was a party where he played so long that his hand bled. For the rest of his life, he would be a busy world traveler. https://www.allmusic.com/album/16-most-requested-songs-mw0000114211 Biography; Duke Ellington Duke Ellington. Duke Ellington is considered to be one of the greatest figures in the history of American music. And he still longed for a stage success, turning once again to Broadway with the musical Pousse-Café, which opened on March 18, 1966, but closed within days. His work has appeared in films and radio, and in the 1930s, he toured Europe twice. Duke Ellington's Early Years At age 15, Ellington worked at a soda fountain and wrote his first song, "Soda Fountain Rag." "The Mooche" on OKeh peaked in the charts at the start of 1929. In that sense, he foreshadowed the future of jazz and could lay claim to being one of its most influential practitioners. AD The Ellingtons rented the three-story Elm Street house circa 1906. Their impact on Ellington's sound was so profound that their relatively brief tenure has been dubbed "the Blanton-Webster Band" by jazz fans. Nearly four years after it was recorded, the retitled recording hit the pop Top Ten and number one on the R&B charts for Ellington in early 1944, while newly recorded vocal cover versions also scored. For the rest of his life, Ellington supported both women. Childhood At the age of 7 Edward began taking piano lessons from Marietta Clinkscales and his mother would start to surround him with women to teach him manners and eligance, his friends soon noticed this and nicknamed him "Duke" Ellington. His parents were James Edward and Daisy Kennedy Ellington. Duke Ellington May 23rd, 2011 | By BHS | Category: Arts & Entertainment. Duke Ellington in childhood. The Ellington band underwent several notable changes at the end of the 1930s. During his career, Ellington won 12 Grammy Awards, three of them after his death. Besides piano lessons, Ellington was also interested in baseball. In-universe he died in Nick's house in suburban NYC and now his ghost resides in the attic. Since he was knee-high to a grasshopper, the mother began to teach Edward to play keyboards (she played well, and sometimes even performed at parish meetings). UrbanTurf has learned that a house on 13th Street where the legendary Duke Ellington spent some of his childhood years is under contract just a few days after hitting the market. Duke Ellington married his high school sweetheart, Edna Thompson, in 1918. Early Career Born in Washington D.C. in 1899, Edward Kennedy Ellington, better known as “Duke,” began playing piano as a child. The James recording went to number one in April 1945, but Ellington's recording was also a Top Ten hit. The Ellington Orchestra made another feature film, Murder at the Vanities, in the spring of 1934. 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