JAZZ MUSICIAN: DUKE ELLINGTON
Who Was He?
Duke Ellington was a jazz musician and pianist who lead a jazz orchestra until his death. The band's name changed several times, but was settled on Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra in 1927. He was born in 1899 in Washington DC and died in 1974 in New York.
What Did He Do?
Ellington pretty much invented big band jazz, writing tons of songs for his orchestra. He wrote his first song, Soda Fountain Rag, when he was 15!
Why Did People Love Him?
People liked him because Jazz was the popular form of music in the 1920's, and Ellington perfected it. Audiences were amazed by his blending of melodies and little sonic movements.
3 Facts About Him
1. He started playing Piano when he was seven years old and denied a scholarship from Pratt Institute to be a professional performer at 17.
2. His career as a musician lasted over 50 years! He even wrote songs for a contemporary songbook.
3. Starting in 1959, Ellington earned nine Grammy Awards, then three more after he died.