Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was born to two musicians on April 29, 1899.
He began his own musical career — starting piano lessons — at the age of 7. At 15 he wrote his first song (1914)…and spent the next 60 years writing and playing music.
During my “big band phase” Ellington was one of my favorites.
Check out the bios below…
- The New York Times Review of: Duke Ellington and His World: A Biography, By A. H. Lawrence
- Wikipedia entry for Duke Ellington
NOW, THE GOOD PART
Here are 12 excellent minutes of Duke Ellington and his Orchestra.
First, a couple of live entries…
One of my favorites…including the violin! It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) – 1931
This one’s for Marty (So when’s the next album coming out?). Satin Doll – 1953
Duke lent his skills to arranging some classical pieces, too. Here’s Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt Suite – Arr. 1960
…and the Overture from the Nutcracker – Arr. (with Billy Strayhorn) 1960