Friday, April 29, 2022

Apr. 29: Duke Ellington, American jazz composer and performer


(Edward Kennedy) "Duke" Ellington (1899-1974) was an American jazz composer and performer who fronted his own jazz orchestra for half a century. Some of jazz's biggest names were associated with his work, including singers Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, saxophonist Johnny Hodges, composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, trumpeter Cootie Williams, and many more. He performed on radio, in film ,and on TV, touring Europe and crossing color lines. His compositions (too many to number) include "Take the "A" Train"; "In a Sentimental Mood"; "Mood Indigo"; "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)"; "Cocktails for Two"; "Black and Tan Fantasy"; " Solitude"; and many more. Nearly 80 of his performances hit the charts, and he earned 14 Grammy awards between 1959 and 2000 (three of them posthumous) out of a total 24 nominations. One of these was a Lifetime Achievement Award, and nine of his recordings (seven singles and two albums) are in the Grammy Hall of Fame.


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