he was born April 29th 1899 in Washington, D.C. He was gifted with a musical background and this established the route for which he would embark. The piano was his instrument of choice, and at age 7 he received the nickname of 'Duke' for his Gentlemanly ways. He followed his passion for ragtime and wrote his first song "Soda Fountain Rag" at age 15. He continued to pursue it and played professionally by 17 years old.
His Career lasted for half a century. A major figure in the evolution of Jazz music that created thousands of songs for the stage. His popularity grew in the 1940s when he composed some of his greatest works, "Concerto for Cootie," "Cotton Tail", "Ko-Ko.", "It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing," "Sophisticated Lady," "Prelude to a Kiss," "Solitude," and "Satin Doll." Many of the songs were sung by Ivie Anderson, a very talented singer in Dukes band.
Ellington's use of dramatically elements made him unique. His mixture of Rhythms and melodies made for a new kind of music, but it was still understood as jazz.
His death was in 1974, on May 24, at the age of 75. Duke Ellington died of pneumonia and lung cancer. He had a large open funeral because of all of his musical followers. his last words were, "Music is how I live, why I live and how I will be remembered."