Biography of Edward Kennedy Duke Ellington (1899-1974)

Pianist, conductor, popularly known by the nickname of "Duke", which was one of the largest and most prolific composers of American music of all time. To him is due the use of an orchestra of Jazz as something more than the sum of the individuals that compose it. Born in Washington, D.C. in April 1899, in the bosom of a family of middle class. His musical education began when he/she was a child. At the age of seven, Edward Kennedy Ellington, began to learn piano and the sixteen composed his first piece, Soda Fountain Rag. Duke worked at various occupations while he/she rode his first band, The Washingtonians, until he/she moved to New York in 1922.

The following year, he/she put together an orchestra to play in night-clubs, and soon recorded their first songs under a variety of names such as The Jungle Band or Whoopie Makers. His fame began to spread throughout the city, but their golden years came at the period between 1927 to 1931, years in which the formation of Ellington plays regularly in the Cotton Club in Harlem. The band was composed of eleven musicians, and his best compositions of those evenings are Mood Indigo and Creole Love Call, mainly. Thanks to all this, in addition to his appearances on radio programs and their refined Studio recordings, Ellington acquires great popularity, which soon would transferred the borders of their country with their European tour of 1933, which confirmed its status as international star.

Their first appearances in the film date back to the 1930s, Check And Double Check and Murder At The Varieties. Ellington is even music composer for A Day At The Races, the famous film by the Marx Brothers. From this period, are compositions as a Caravan or Sophisticated Lady, authentic classics as well as the first of his long compositions, Reminiscing In Tempo, dedicated to the memory of his mother. The year 1940 marked the incorporation of Billy Strayhorn in the band, which collaborated on the musical composition of the songs of the Group thereafter. They also enter SAX Ben Webster and Jimmy Blanton, Ray Nance, reinforcing the training, and initiating further new rise in the popularity of Duke and his Orchestra. In 1943 he/she receives the task of creating a musical, which will be represented in the Carnegie Hall in New York, and Duke has Black, Brown And Beige, which was the first of a series (Deep South Suite, in 1946 and Liberian Suite), in 1947.

The end of the decade brought a decline in the reputation of the band, which, together with the adverse economic conditions of the time, leading Ellington to reorganize training, recording with a small group of musicians. In this period, is carried something by the commercial recording for Capitol Records, until in 1955 he/she returned to Columbia Records, and works at the Newport Jazz Festival, made that jump starts his career as Jazz genius. Continue working in the 1960s, daring even to perform variations on classics as the Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky. But this decade also sees the flourishing of Ellington as pianist, accompanying stars as Count Basie, John Coltrane or Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra visit Africa first in 1966.

Ellington continued to work non-stop until the date of his death, in May 1974, due to a cancer. Shortly before, he/she published her own autobiography, and recorded a few excellent albums in 1972 and 1973 produced by Norman Granz, the last breaths of a great life devoted entirely to music.