Duke ellington

Duke Ellington Born April 29, 1899 in D. C Duke Ellington attended Armstrong Manual Training school to study commercial art. During his free time, Duke checked out ragtime pianists in Washington D. C. Harvey Brooks helped Duke to continue with his piano lessons. Later Oliver Perry and Louis Brown assisted Duke to improve his musical skills. He dropped out of high school in his junior year in 1917 to pursue a career in music. An iconic figure in the history of jazz music, he boasted of a career that spanned beyond one-half of a century. His artistry career saw him composing vast amount of pieces that featured in stages, screens and contemporary songbooks. Elingtons most distinctive ensemble sounds in western music were created shortly before his demise to cancer in 1974 (Blair 38).
Duke formed his first group called “ The Duke Serenades” and performed in the Washington D. C., but later in 1923 the group moved to New York permanently (Floyd 93). They made their first recording in November 1924 and cut tunes for different companies under a variety of pseudonyms, now have extensive holding of their work. The group increased in size and came under Ellington’s leadership. They played in “ jungle” style, their sly arrangement often highlighted by the muted growling sound of trumpeter, a good example of this is Ellington’s first signature song, East St. Louis Toodle-oo,” which the band first recorded in 1926. On November 4, 1927 the Ellington band moved to The Cotton Club in Harlem. Their residency at the club lasted for more than three years, which turned him a nationally known celebrity due to radio airplay that stemmed from the bandstand. Similarly, Ellington scooped a top five hit with an instrumental form of one of his pieces, “ Mood Indigo” released on Victor. Ellingtons instrumental form turned a top five hit in the last quarter of 1933, “ Sophisticated Lady,” with its flip side’ a treatment of “ Stormy Weather, “ also making the top five (Floyd 94). After several years of recording for Brunswick, Ellington shifted to Victor. At the beginning of 1939, Billy Strayhorn, a young composer, organizer, and piano player joined the team, he became Ellington‘ s composition partner (Floyd 102). In 1946, he ganged with lyricist John Latouche to compose the theme song for the Broadway musical Beggar Holiday, which span108 performances. He authored his first full-length theme score for a characteristic movie with 1950’s The Asphalt Jungle.
His works continue to be an inspiration especially in the fields of music and other genres of performing arts. For instance, part of his compositions is a description of the American history throughout the periods of stagnated growth to those of prosperity. Ellington was a distinguished individual, his exemplary pieces in various fields received recognition from President J. F. Kennedy in the 1960’s. He lectured on the history of jazz, celebrated jazz artist and the status of the American race relations. Scholarships provide that most of the lecture he gave were a reflection of his compositions. Despite succumbing to cancer at such a tender age at the helm of his career, history sets Ellington apart as one of the most influential persons in the history of American music (Craig 69)
Works Cited
Jackson, Blair. ” JOE JACKSON TAKES ON DUKE ELLINGTON.” Mix 06 2012: 14. ProQuest. Web. 31 Jan. 2015. Pp. 34-60
Levin, Floyd. ” Beyond Category: Musical Genius of Duke Ellington; Ambitious Exhibition at Museum of African American History shows Rags-to-Riches Saga of the Duke.” Sentinel: C. Mar 01, 1995. ProQuest. Web. 31 Jan. 2015. Pp. 91-103
Semon, Craig S. ” Show Unveils Hidden Gems of Duke Ellingtons Songbook.” Telegram & GazetteMar 22 2013. ProQuest. Web. 31 Jan. 2015. pp. 67-79