Duke Ellington

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Duke Ellington




Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington By the time of his passing, he was
considered amongst the world's greatest composers and
musicians. The French government honored him with their
highest award, the Legion of Honor, while the government
of the United States bestowed upon him the highest civil
honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He played for
the royalty and for the common people and by the end of
his fifty-year career, he had played over 20,000
performances worldwide. He was the Duke, Duke
Ellington Edward Kennedy Ellington was born into the
world on April 28, 1899 in Washington, D.C. Duke's
parents Daisy Kennedy Ellington and James Edward
Ellington served as ideal role models for young Duke and
taught him everything from proper table manners to an
understanding of the emotional power of music. Duke's
first piano lessons came around the age of seven or eight
and appeared to not have that much lasting effect upon him.
It seemed as if young Duke was more inclined to baseball
at a young age. Duke got his first job selling peanuts at
Washington Senator's baseball games. This was the first
time Duke was placed as a "performer" for a crowd and
had to first get over his stage fright. At the age of fourteen,
Duke began sneaking into Frank Holliday's poolroom. His
experiences from the poolroom taught him to appreciate
the value in mixing with a wide range of people. As
Duke's piano lessons faded into the past, Duke began to
show a flare for the artistic. Duke attended Armstrong
Manual Training School to study commercial art instead of
an academically-oriented school. Duke began to seek out
and listen to ragtime pianists in Washington and during the
summers, where he and his mother vacationed in
Philadelphia or Atlantic City. While vacationing in Asbury
Park, Duke heard of a hot pianist named Harvey Brooks.
At the end of his vacation Duke sought Harvey out in
Philadelphia where Harvey showed Duke some pianistic
tricks and shortcuts. Duke later recounted that, "When I got
home I had a real yearning to play. I hadn't been able to
get off the ground before, but after hearing him I said to
Continues for 3 more pages >>




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