A biography of duke ellington an american musician

Duke Ellington was a distinctive and pivotal figure in the world of jazz.

A biography of duke ellington an american musician

Duke Ellington was a distinctive and pivotal figure in the world of jazz. While many critics agree that his flair for style far exceeded his raw musical talent, few dispute the significance of his impact on the music scene in the United States and abroad.


With the variously named bands he led for more than fifty years, Ellington was responsible for many innovations in the jazz field, such as "jungle-style" use of the growl and plunger and the manipulation of the human voice as an instrument--singing notes without words.

During the course of his long career, Ellington was showered with many honors, including the highest civilian award granted by the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was presented to him by President Richard M.

He was brought up in a cultured, middle-class household: Navy and served as a White House butler for extra income, and his mother, who hailed from a respected Washington family, set a dignified tone for the family to follow. The view that he was special was cut into Duke's consciousness when he was very young But Ellington matured at a time when attitudes and values were changing in America.

The Harlem Renaissance--a period of heightened pride, interest, and activity in black arts and culture--was beginning to dawn. Rigid self-discipline was cast aside, and people began to indulge in the satisfaction of a variety of earthly desires. This newfound freedom to enjoy "good times," as Collier put it, had a profound influence on American music.

The syncopated rhythms of ragtime, a wildly popular precursor of jazz that flourished in the late s, gave way in the early s to the blues of the Mississippi Delta area. New Orleans, Louisiana is generally regarded as the hot spot in music history where ragtime, blues, and other forms coalesced, giving birth to jazz.

But, according to Collier, "it was not untilwhen a cadre of white musicians brought it to Chicago, that [jazz] made a significant splash. The stir it created there encouraged an entrepreneur to bring The independent-minded Ellington fell in love with the sounds of the time.

His Life and Music. Early Rejection of Music. Both his father and his mother could play the piano, and Ellington was exposed to music at an early age. The Ellingtons were strongly religious and hoped that if their son learned piano he would later exchange it for the church organ, but at first he showed little interest in music.

He proved to be an uncooperative student of his ironically named piano teacher--Miss Clinkscales--and managed to wrangle his way out of lessons after just a few months. Interest in Art Turns to Music. As he grew older, Ellington became interested in drawing and painting.

But a latent interest in music kept him from pursuing a career in art. According to some biographers, Ellington's motivations to make it in the music world were far from pure: Ellington lacked the self-discipline to engage in the formal study of the piano.

A biography of duke ellington an american musician

However, he did begin to take the piano more seriously as a high school student, learning harmonies from his school's music teacher, Henry Grant.

But Ellington never really learned to read music, and he could never play a musical selection for piano on demand.

Ellington's son, Mercer, was quoted in Collier's Duke Ellington as having said: Despite his unorthodox training, Ellington achieved the power to leave an audience spellbound. In an essay dated September in Duke Ellington:Sep 27,  · Jimmy Blanton, byname of James Blanton, (born October , Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.—died July 30, , Monrovia, California), African American jazz musician whose innovative string bass techniques and concepts, displayed during his two years in the Duke Ellington band, made him by far the major influence on subsequent jazz bassists for several decades.

Duke Ellington: Duke Ellington, American pianist who was the greatest jazz composer and bandleader of his time. 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 .

Duke Ellington, born Edward Kennedy Ellington on April 29, in Washington, District of Columbia, United States - died May 24, in New York, New York, United States is an American musician, composer and bandleader, a trully distinctive and pivotal jazz figure.

Duke Ellington was an American jazz musician who composed thousands of musical scores during a career that spanned more than 50 years.

He was born Edward Kennedy Ellington on April 29, , in Washington, D.C., to James Edward Ellington and Daisy (Kennedy) Ellington.

Ellington, Duke

Both of his parents played the. Duke Ellington Biography by William Ruhlmann Greatest all-round musical figure of the 20th century, who achieved monumental status as a composer, bandleader, arranger, and instrumentalist. Watch video · Duke Ellington Biography Songwriter, Pianist, Conductor (–) An originator of big-band jazz, Duke Ellington was an American composer, pianist and .

Duke Ellington Biography - Childhood, Life Achievements & Timeline