Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born on April 29th, 1899, in Washington, D.C. When Edward was young, playing the piano was always a chore for him. He played hooky from playing the piano a lot. One time Edward was supposed to be practicing piano for a church concert.…more
Duke Ellington is considered one of the most influential figures in jazz, if not in all of American music.
Duke Ellington started composing music by the age of 15.
Duke Ellington died a month after his 75th birthday. He is buried in the Bronx, which is located in New York City.
Duke Ellington is best remembered for the more than 3,000 songs that he composed during his life. Some of his most best known songs include: It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing, Sophisticated Lady, Mood Indigo, Solitude, In a Mellotone, and Satin Doll.
Duke Ellington's career went on for fifty years. During that time, he played more than 20,000 performances in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia.
Duke Ellington received the President's Gold Medal in 1966, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969, and the French Legion of Honor in 1973. He was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize and thirteen Grammy Awards, which includes the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award that he won in 1966.
Duke Ellington: (Regarding Jazz) It's like an act of murder; you play with intent to commit something.
Duke Ellington: Roaming through the jungle of "oohs" and "ahs", searching for a more agreeable noise, I live a life of primitivity with the mind of a child and an unquenchable thirst for sharps and flats.
Duke Ellington: The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician.
Duke Ellington: (When asked what inspired him to write) My men and my race are the inspiration of my work. I try to catch the character and mood and feeling of my people.
Duke Ellington: You've got to find some way of saying it without saying it.
Duke Ellington: Now I can say loudly and openly what I have been saying to myself on my knees.
Duke Ellington: A problem is your chance to do your best.
Duke Ellington: Grey skies are just clouds passing over.
Duke Ellington: People do not retire, they are retired by others.
Duke Ellington: Every man prays in his own language.