Duke Ellington

Jazz Musician and Composer Duke Ellington

Full Name: Edward Kennedy Ellington
Profession: Jazz Musician and Composer

United States of America

Biography: Duke Ellington was an American jazz musician, known as leader of the Duke Ellington jazz orchestra from 1923 until his death in 1974. He first came to fame with his orchestra with their appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem.

Alongside his work as an orchestra leader, Ellington also composed a vast quantity of jazz tunes. He continued this especially in his collaboration with Billy Strayhorn. Many of Ellington's works have gone on to become standards.

Many consider Ellington to have been the most significant jazz composer of all time, although Ellington himself preferred to remain beyond labels of jazz and instead fell within the broader category of American music.

Born: April 29, 1899
Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Generation: Lost Generation
Star Sign: Taurus

Died: May 24, 1974 (aged 75)
Cause of Death: Lung cancer and pneumonia

Married Life

  • 1918-07-02 Jazz orchestra band leader Duke Ellington (19) weds high school sweetheart Edna Thompson

Historical Events

  • 1927-10-26 Duke Ellington sings "Creole Love Song"
  • 1927-12-04 Duke Ellington opens at the Cotton Club in Harlem
  • 1933-07-25 1st Dutch live radio concert: Duke Ellington
  • 1934-05-12 "Cocktails For Two" by Duke Ellington hits #1
  • 1941-02-15 Duke Ellington first records "Take the A Train"
  • 1943-01-23 Duke Ellington plays at Carnegie Hall in New York City for the first time
  • 1959-09-11 Composer and band leader Duke Ellington wins NAACP's Springarn Medal for his musical achievements
  • 1965-07-30 Duke Ellington's "Golden Brown & the Green Apple" premieres
  • 1977-05-21 Stevie Wonder's single "Sir Duke", a tribute to Duke Ellington and other musical influences of Wonder's, begins a 3-week run at #1
  • 1981-02-01 Duke Ellington's musical "Sophisticated Ladies," premieres in NYC
  • 1981-03-01 Duke Ellington's musical "Sophisticated Ladies" opens at Lunt-Fontanne, NYC; runs for 767 performances
  • 1983-01-02 Duke Ellington's musical "Sophisticated Ladies" closes at Lunt-Fontanne, NYC after 767 performances
  • 1993-11-04 Revival of William Shakespeare's stage drama "Timon of Athens". with incidental music by Duke Ellington, opens at Lyceum Theater, NYC; runs for 37 performances
  • 1997-03-20 Cheryl L. West and Shelden Epp's musical "Play On!", an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" set in 1940s Harlem, featuring music of Duke Ellington, opens at Brooks Atkinson Theatre, NYC; runs for 61 performances

Quotes by Duke Ellington

  • "I don't need time. What I need is a deadline."