Sunday, March 1, 2009
Duke Ellington (1899 - 1974)
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and bandleader. Duke Ellington was recognized during his life as one of the most influential figures in jazz, if not in all American music. His reputation has increased since his death, including a special award citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board. Ellington called his style and sound "American Music" rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as "beyond category."These included many of the musicians who served with his orchestra, some of whom were considered among the giants of jazz and performed with Ellington's orchestra for decades. While many were noteworthy in their own right, it was Ellington who melded them into one of the most well-known orchestral units in the history of jazz.