He was such a talented artist that he was awarded a scholarship to a school called the Pratt Institute, but he did not accept it. Early Life Born April 29, 1899, Ellington was raised by two talented and musical parents in a bourgeois district of Washington, DC. Ruth Ellington Boatwright passed away at age 88 in 2004 after an extended illness. His fame rose higher in the 1940s when he composed some of his masterworks, including "Concerto for Cootie," "Cotton Tail" and "Ko-Ko.". Duke Ellington's Life Oct 26, 1914. writes 1st song while working as a soda jerk. Introducing, the band leader who is famous for wearing a sharp tuxedo and writing and playing great jazz music: Mr. Duke Ellington! preferred operatic arias. Daisy primarily played parlor songs and J.E. Ellington’s stylistic qualities were shared by Strayhorn, who increasingly participated in composing and orchestrating music for the Ellington band. The story goes that Ellington’s self-confidence and flashy clothes as a young man won him the nickname “Duke.” Early on, he felt the pull of the bright lights of the big city up north. In 1919 he met Sonny Greer who was a drummer from New Jersey. In the case of Ellington’s Orchestra, radio exposure helped maintain popularity and his orchestra began to tour. With the Great Depression worsening, the recording industry too was hit by the financial crisis and that resulted into dropping of over 90% of artists by the year 1933. One of the originators of big-band jazz, Ellington led his band for more than half a century, composed thousands of scores, and created one of the most distinctive ensemble sounds in all of Western music. (The most popular of these was Hodges, who rendered ballads with a full, creamy tone and long portamentos.) For the most part, later replacements fit into roles that had been created by their distinguished predecessors; after 1950, for instance, the Webster-influenced Paul Gonsalves filled the band’s solo tenor saxophone role originated by Webster. His career spanned more than half a century—most of the documented history of jazz. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. He began studying piano at age seven, studied art during his high-school years, and was awarded (but did not accept) a scholarship to the Pratt Institute. With these exceptional musicians, who remained with him throughout the 1930s, Ellington made hundreds of recordings, appeared in films and on radio, and toured Europe in 1933 and 1939. Jazz’s evolution moved … Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Early Life of a Star. In September 1927, King Oliver's (American jazz cornet player and bandleader) refusal to play as the house band at Harlem's Cotton Club landed the deal in Ellington's favor and weekly radio broadcasts from the club gave Ellington national exposure. That marked the birth of his career. Period: Nov 8, 1900 to Nov 8, 1975. He helped compose more than 1,000 original pieces, many of which became standards. No one led a band like Duke Ellington, no one led a life like Duke Ellington, and no one wrote music like Duke Ellington: he was one of a kind, beyond category. In his last decade, Ellington composed three pieces of sacred music – In the Beginning God , Second Sacred Concert, and Third Sacred Concert. Early life. He usually played for embassy and private parties. Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was born on April 29, 1899, to James Edward Ellington and Daisy (Kennedy) Ellington in Washington, DC. A number of these hits were introduced by Ivy Anderson, who was the band’s female vocalist in the 1930s. He began listening and imitating ragtime pianists in Washngton D.C and also those who hailed from Atlantic City and Philadelphia. In 1938, he left his family and started living with Beatrice "Evie" Ellis, who was a Cotton Club employee. By the end of 1924 Ellington made eight records among three of which received composing credit, which included, ‘ChooChoo’. Inducted into the International Society of Jazz Arrangers & Composers (ISJAC) Hall of Fame in 2017 (inaugural class). Not limiting himself to jazz innovation, Ellington also wrote such great popular songs as “Sophisticated Lady,” “Rocks in My Bed,” and “Satin Doll;” in other songs, such as “Don’t Get Around Much Any More,” “Prelude to a Kiss,” “Solitude,” and “I Let a Song Go out of My Heart,” he made wide interval leaps an Ellington trademark. New York: Oxford University Press. Duke Ellington was a prominent figure in the movement of African Americans. Both of his parents were pianists, and his father also made blueprints for the United States Navy. Duke Ellington's Early Years Duke Ellington was born in Washington D.C., and from an early age he loved music. During 1939–67 Strayhorn collaborated so closely with Ellington that jazz scholars may never determine how much the gifted deputy influenced or even composed works attributed to Ellington. Charles Ives is perhaps his only rival for the title of the greatest American composer. The Ellington band toured Europe often after World War II; it also played in Asia (1963–64, 1970), West Africa (1966), South America (1968), and Australia (1970) and frequently toured North America. One of American jazz’s most influential figures. He was the only child of the composer, pianist, and bandleader Duke Ellington and his high school sweetheart Edna Thompson (d. 1967). October 1926 was a turning point in his career when he made a career-advancing agreement with agent-publisher Irving Mills. Considered as one of the greatest jazz artists ever to live, let’s explore the life and history of Duke Ellington. Ellington and his orchestra saw a major career revival after an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, Rhode Island, in July 1956. He was called Duke by his friends growing up because his suave sophistication reminded them of a nobleman. Childhood & Early Life Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born on April 29, 1899, in Washington D.C. His father James Edward Ellington and mother Daisy Kennedy Ellington were pianists. Early Life and Professional life; Personal Life and Death ; Duke was raised by two musical parents and at the age of 7, he studied how to play piano. Ellington was born in Washington, D.C., United States. Three months shy of graduation, Duke dropped out of school and began his life as a professional musician. Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than six decades. But Duke himself claimed the name "God's messenger boy," and during the last nine years of his life he presented more than 100 performances of three sacred concerts with his band. https://healthresearchfunding.org/5-major-accomplishments-of-duke-ellington Early Life. Skip to content. Trivia Info. The first job that he did was of selling peanuts at Washington Senators baseball games. Duke Ellington was the greatest jazz composer and bandleader of his time. Fifty years ago this week, Duke Ellington and his band played in a concert he later called one of the most memorable of his life. Has one sister: Ruth. Ellington died on May 24, 1974, due to pneumonia and lung cancer. A dapper dresser from an early age, Ellington was given the name “Duke” by friends who admired his style. He was entombed in the Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx, New York City. They performed for both African-American and white audiences which was quite rare in those times. They both played instruments, and Duke developed his musical talents early thanks to their influence. At the age of seven, he began studying the piano. Although he was very much aware of Redman’s and Henderson’s work. MENU. His given name was Edward, not Duke. Quote Of The Day | Top 100 Quotes, See the events in life of Duke Ellington in Chronological Order. With his father, a Methodist, and his mother, a Baptist, Ellington's upbringing had strong religious influences. As a composer, Ellington ranked with George … Early Life. Early Years of Duke Ellington. Despite this, there have been few major biographies and none that adequately assesses his musical achievement. He was raised by a middle-class African-American family, and his parents were both pianists. Biography Early life and education. Considered as one of the greatest jazz artists ever to live, let’s explore the life and history of Duke Ellington. - Biography of Duke Ellington, Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame - Biography of Duke Ellington, Songwriters Hall of Fame - Biography of Duke Ellington, Duke Ellington - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Duke Ellington - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Duke Ellington's Early Years At age 15, Ellington worked at a soda fountain and wrote his first song, "Soda Fountain Rag." Corrections? He took lessons for the same from Marietta Clinkscales. One of the twentieth century's greatest artists, Ellington led a fascinating life. Edward Kennedy Ellington was born on April 29, 1899, in Washington, D.C. In the early 1930s, the band's audience in America was mainly the African-American community but it had a huge following overseas, exemplified by the success of their trip to England and Scotland in 1933 and their 1934 visit to the European mainland. Early life and career On April 29, 1899, Edward Kennedy Ellington was born in Washington, D.C., to James Edward and Daisy Ellington. In 1924, Snowden left the group and Ellington became the bandleader. He pursued his education from Armstrong Technical High School in Washington, D.C. His father played operatic arias while parlor songs were his mother’s first choice. 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. His influence on classical music, popular music, and, of course, jazz, simply cannot be overstated. Please select which sections you would like to print: While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. His friend Edgar McEntree gave him the nickname of “Duke” because of his casual and graceful manner and the dapper dress that he wore. His peers noticed his dressing style and natural grace and began referring to him as Duke. Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellingtonwas born on April 29, 1899, in Washington, D.C. "It was the most money I had ever seen," he said. This agreement with Mills allowed him to record prolifically, which, in turn, brought popular recognition to Ellington. Daisy and J.E. He was also his father’s business manager and after his death he controlled the band. Facts about Duke Ellington 10: the early life of Ellington The parents of Ellington were pianists. The variety and ingenuity of these works, all conceived for three-minute, 78-rpm records, are extraordinary, as are their unique forms, which range from logically flowing expositions to juxtapositions of line and mood. Duke Ellington, byname of Edward Kennedy Ellington, (born April 29, 1899, Washington, D.C., U.S.—died May 24, 1974, New York, N.Y.), American pianist who was … His ... A Portrait of Duke Ellington: Reminiscing in Tempo. He adapted his style for orchestral purposes, accompanying with vivid harmonic colours and, especially in later years, offering swinging solos with angular melodies. The broken, eighth-note melodies and arrhythms of bebop had little impact on him, though on occasion he recorded with musicians who were not band members—not only with other swing-era luminaries such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Coleman Hawkins but also with later bop musicians John Coltrane and Charles Mingus. He drew inspiration from many piano players namely Phil Wurd, Caroline Thornton, Luckey Roberts, Turner Layton, Gertie Wells, Clarence Bowser, Sticky Mack, Harvey Brooks, Claude Hopkins, Eubie Blake, Doc Perry, Cliff Jackson, Joe Rochester, Lester Dishman, Louis Brown and Blind Johnny. When Duke was seven years old, he began taking piano lessons. His reputation as a composer and bandleader is intact even after his death. Here he receives a special pre-concert gift from NIU First Lady Shirley Nelson. This African American musician was born Edward Kennedy Ellington in 1899, and he was destined to love music thanks to his parents. On March 11, 1919 they were blessed with a baby boy, their first and only child. In the summer of 1914, he wrote his first composition "Soda Fountain Rag" that is also known as the "Poodle Dog Rag" while he was working as a soda jerk in Poodle Dog Café. They quit and formed their own band. Duke Ellington: Biography. By then, too, Billy Strayhorn, composer of what would become the band’s theme song, “Take the ‘A’ Train,” had become Ellington’s composing-arranging partner. Omissions? Gjon Mili The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images SEE DETAILS. Second cousin of the artist Romare Bearden . He began singing with the blues. Ellington's career got a revival after his band’s performance at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 7, 1956. The group stayed together for over fifty years and recorded and wrote some of America's greatest music. Ellington wrote motion-picture scores for The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and composed for the ballet and theatre—including, at the height of the American civil rights movement, the show My People (1964), a celebration of African American life. Ellington’s music and his band thrived and played throughout Washington, D.C. and Virginia. Ellington’s symphonic A Rhapsody of Negro Life was the basis for the film short Symphony in Black (1935), which also features the voice of Billie Holiday (uncredited). Duke Ellington's contributions to jazz and American music were simply enormous. Benefiting from the expertise of a large ensemble that included several important jazz artists, Duke Ellington broke away from the conventions of band-section scoring. Ellington: The Early Years, Mark Tucker (University of Illinois Press) The World of Duke Ellington, Stanley Dance (Da Capo) Music Is My Mistress, Duke Ellington (Da Capo) The Duke Ellington Reader, edited by Mark Tucker (Oxford University Press) Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn, David Hajdu (North Point Press) Recommended Listening Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born on April 29, 1899, to James Edward Ellington and Daisy Kennedy Ellington. Ellington kept his band's sound fresh, transcending the different eras of jazz. He also wrote many great and popular songs as “Sophisticated Lady,” “Rocks in My Bed,” and “Satin Doll”; “Don’t Get Around Much Any More,” “Prelude to a Kiss,” “Solitude,” and “I Let a Song Go out of My Heart”. Ellington followed his dream of becoming a professional and he was at age 17. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. They parted ways in late twenties and in the year 1928 Mildred Dixon became Ellington’s companion and managed his company and travelled with him on his tours. His father played operatic arias while parlor songs were his mother’s first choice. Early Life. African American Men, children: Beatrice Ellis, Mercer Kennedy Ellington, Quotes By Duke Ellington | Early Life Born on April 29, 1899, Ellington was raised by two talented, musical parents in a middle-class neighborhood of Washington, D.C. At the … In 1917 he started working as a freelance sign-painter and simultaneously began his hunt for bringing in together groups that could play for dances. Updates? As a young artist, he accompanied his band member and drummer Sonny Greer to join New York’s Wilber Sweatman Orchestra. Early Life Experience of Duke Ellington. Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C provides education to students who aspire to consider career in arts. Famous as: Composer, Pianist and Bandleader, Quotes By Duke Ellington He was called Duke by his friends growing up because his suave sophistication reminded them of a nobleman. Ellington was celebrated in Stevie Wonder's song "Sir Duke" (from "Songs in the Key of Life" (1976)). He was truly a genius in the sense of instrument combinations, arranging jazz and improvising music that made Ellington stand unique among other composers of his time. In his early life, Duke played piano music and sang in the choir. Duke Ellington was born to James Edward and Daisy Ellington on April 29th, 1899 in Washington D.C. Ellington was brought up by talented musical parents. The band started in New York City under name of the Washingtonians in 1923, they then briefly became known as Du… After some time, the young musicians felt discouraged and returned to Washington, D.C. It was into this world that Duke Ellington was born in Washington's west end on April 29, 1899 and through which he moved as a young man. Duke Ellington, New York, 1943. He was born in Harlem in 1899 and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He began performing music professionally at age 17. Ellington first played in New York City in 1923. Early life. He got private lessons in harmony from Henry Lee Grant, a music teacher at Dunbar High School. Duke Ellington was born on April 29, 1899, in Washington DC to parents James Ellington and Daisy Ellington. Few of Ellington’s soloists, despite their importance to jazz history, played as effectively in other contexts; no one else, it seemed, could match the inspiration that Ellington provided with his sensitive, masterful settings. His band included Sonny Greer on drums, his childhood friend Otto Hardwick on alto saxophone, Elmer Snowden on banjo and Arthur Whetsol on trumpet. He continued to lead the band until shortly before his death in 1974. One of Ellington's first professional gigs was a party where he played so long that his hand bled. As a bandleader, his orchestra during 1926-74 was always among the top five, whether it be 1929 or 1969. He was very fond of playing baseball. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. At the age of seven, he began learning piano and was christened “Duke” due to his gentlemanly ways. 3 His image is part the central design on the reverse of the District of Columbia 25¢ commemorative coin issued in 2009, as part of the USA's Statehood Quarters series. He was not a strict disciplinarian and used charm, humor, flattery, and astute psychology to maintain control of his orchestra. Inspired by ragtime performers, he began to perform professionally at age 17. When Ellington’s drummer Sonny Greer joined the Wilber Sweatman Orchestra in New York City, he decided to leave behind his successful career in Washington, D.C., and moved to Harlem. Both his parents were pianists. Duke Ellington. preferred operatic arias. Duke Ellington and his Orchestra is perhaps the greatest of all Jazz bands. He became the first American-African to be featured on a circulating coin in the US. Biography Early life and education. His childhood friends gave him the nickname "Duke" for his elegant and flashy style. New York: Gotham Books. Inspired by his soda work, he wrote his first play, Soda Fountain Rag, at the age of 15. Inducted into … For nearly fifty years, Edward Kennedy 'Duke' Ellington was one of America's most famous musicians. Ellington grew up in a secure middle-class family in Washington, D.C. His family encouraged his interests in the fine arts, and he began studying piano at age seven. Williams, for example, demonstrated his versatility in Ellington’s noted miniature concertos “Echoes of Harlem” and “Concerto for Cootie”. They stayed with his maternal grandparents at 2129 Ida Place which is now called Ward Place, NW in the West End neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Suffering from pneumonia and lung cancer, Ellington nonetheless gave a memorable performance. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The prestigious high school bands participate in a well-known annual competition named Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival. They lived with his maternal grandparents at 2129 Ward Place, NW in Washington, D.C., USA. The band was then known as ‘Elmer Snowden and his Black Sox Orchestra’ which changed t… Edward Kennedy Ellington was born on April 29, 1899 to James Edward Ellington and Daisy Kennedy Ellington. A number of memorials are dedicated to Ellington in Washington D.C, New York and Los Angeles. John Coltrane & Duke Ellington In the early 60’s an album was release with the title John Coltrane & Duke Ellington. During these years Ellington became intrigued with the possibilities of composing jazz within classical forms. At the age of seven, he began studying the piano. were both pianists. Often collaborating with his longtime composing-arranging partner Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington was responsible for big-band jazz classics such as “Take the ‘A’ Train” (written by Strayhorn), “Mood Indigo,” “Echoes of Harlem,” “Concerto for Cootie,” “Cotton Tail,” and “Ko-Ko” as well as popular songs such as “Sophisticated Lady” and “Prelude to a Kiss.”. Early life. Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and More: LIFE Jams With Jazz Legends. A coin featuring Ellington was launched on February 24, 2009, in the United States. He selected his musicians for their expressive individuality, and several members of his ensemble—including trumpeter Cootie Williams (who replaced Miley), cornetist Rex Stewart, trombonist Lawrence Brown, baritone saxophonist Harry Carney, alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges, and clarinetist Barney Bigard—were themselves important jazz artists. Ellington’s concert at the festival made international news and resulted in an album that would become the best-selling long-playing recording of Ellington's career. Like Duke his parents were pretty talented musical people. Duke Ellington, byname of Edward Kennedy Ellington, (born April 29, 1899, Washington, D.C., U.S.—died May 24, 1974, New York, N.Y.), American pianist who was the greatest jazz composer and bandleader of his time. Oct 26, 1918. he play misc at partys. Ellington grew up primarily in Harlem from the age of eight. Extended residencies at the Cotton Club in Harlem (1927–32, 1937–38) stimulated Ellington to enlarge his band to 14 musicians and to expand his compositional scope. Early life. He was one of the originators of big-band jazz, or jazz that uses large orchestras with many musicians. He was the only child of the composer, pianist, and bandleader Duke Ellington and his high school sweetheart Edna Thompson (d. 1967). Early Years of Duke Ellington. Let’s get started! Strayhorn was born in Dayton, Ohio. Ellington’s sense of musical drama and of his players’ special talents and his wide range of moods were rare indeed. After a fire incident, the club re-opened as the Club Kentucky. Whenever someone asked him to make a sign for a dance or party, he enquired if they had arranged for music and offered to play for them. They got to play in Atlantic City and the limited exposure they got earned them a gig at Exclusive Club in Harlem. They lived with his maternal grandparents at 2129 Ward Place, NW in Washington, D.C., USA. It was, however, renamed as Duke Ellington Bridge in 1974. Duke had a job once as a soda jerk, later he wrote his very first composition, "Soda Fountain Rag" at age 15. Daisy primarily played parlor songs and J.E. It is known as the Ruth Ellington Collection of Duke Ellington Materials in honor of her dedicated loyalty to the legendary musician's career. In 1916 he opted out of an art scholarship to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn for the sake of music and he also dropped out of Armstrong Manual Training School, where he was studying commercial art, just three months before his graduation. Duke Ellington's original 14-member band included such musicians as cornetist Rex Stewart, trombonist Lawrence Brown, baritone saxophonist Harry Carney, and alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges. *Includes pictures *Includes Duke Ellington's quotes about his life and career *Includes a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents “I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.” – Duke Ellington “Art is dangerous. Early Life Edward Kennedy Ellington was born on April 29, 1899, in Washington, D.C. We know Edward Kennedy Ellington as "the Duke": innovative composer, indefatigable jazz orchestra leader; elegant, witty, sensual, sophisticated citizen of the world. Inspired by his soda work, he wrote his first play, Soda Fountain Rag, at … Most of his musical works on instruments set standards for others, which were later adapted into songs. Photos of Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie and other jazz legends playing at photographer Gjon Mili's studio in the 1940s. Duke was born in a musical family as both his parents were pianists. Early life. By his late teens, he was making enough money to help his parents move into a better house. Initially, the group was known as ‘Elmer Snowden and his Black Sox Orchestra’ but after some time they renamed themselves ‘The Washingtonians’. His autobiography ‘Music Is My Mistress’ was published in 1973. There were some exceptions to this generalization, such as trumpeter-violinist Ray Nance and high-note trumpet specialist Cat Anderson. Early life. - IMDb Mini Biography By: Christopher Cameron Early Life Experience of Duke Ellington. Apr 29, 1899. born in washington d.c. as edward ellington Duke was born in Washington DC. It’s almost 40 years now since music lost one of its true royals with the passing of Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington in May 1974. Some records of this era include: "Mood Indigo", "Sophisticated Lady", "Solitude", and "In a Sentimental Mood". He collaborated with many others and wrote more than one thousand compositions and many of his extant works became a standard in jazz music. He led his famed orchestra from 1923 until his death. In late 1917s he formed his own group “The Duke's Serenaders". His last words were, "Music is how I live, why I live and how I will be remembered.”. James liked to play the operatic arias. Besides piano lessons, Ellin… Tenor saxophonist Ben Webster and bassist Jimmy Blanton, both major jazz artists, were with this classic Ellington band. Duke Ellington's Early Years At age 15, Ellington worked at a soda fountain and wrote his first song, "Soda Fountain Rag." Introducing, the band leader who is famous for wearing a sharp tuxedo and writing and playing great jazz music: Mr. Duke Ellington! A revival after an extended illness African American musician was born on April,. 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