Duke Ellington was an American jazz bandleader, pianist and composer. He is considered by many to be America`s greatest composer. By the time of his death, Ellington ...

Born Edward Kennedy Ellington, Duke Ellington was one of the founding fathers of jazz music. He started playing piano at the age of seven, and by the time he was 15, he was composing. A pianist, bandleader, arranger, and composer, Ellington and his band played together for 50 years. Some of Ellington's most famous songs include "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "Sophisticated Lady" and "In a Sentimental Mood."


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The Ellington band toured Europe often after World War II; it also played in Asia (1963–64, 1970), West Africa (1966), South America (1968), and Australia (1970) and frequently toured North America. Despite this grueling schedule, some of Ellington’s musicians stayed with him for decades; Carney, for example, was a band member for 47 years. For the most part, later replacements fit into roles that had been created by their distinguished predecessors; after 1950, for instance, the Webster-influenced Paul Gonsalves filled the band’s solo tenor saxophone role originated by Webster. There were some exceptions to this generalization, such as trumpeter-violinist Ray Nance and high-note trumpet specialist Cat Anderson.

On May 24, 1974, at the age of 75, Duke Ellington died of lung cancer and pneumonia. His last words were, "Music is how I live, why I live and how I will be remembered." More than 12,000 people attended his funeral. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York City.

Jazz pianist Marcus Roberts called the album "a masterpiece in jazz" and cited it as a template for his 1990 album Alone with Three Giants : "When you think of great artists paying homage to great artists, that one recording let me know what I had to do." [7]

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