"Duke Ellington was the most important composer in the history of jazz as well as being a bandleader who held his large group together continuously for almost 50 years. The two aspects of his career were related; Ellington used his band as a musical laboratory for his new compositions and shaped his writing specifically to showcase the talents of his band members, many of whom remained with him for long periods. Ellington also wrote film scores and stage musicals, and several of his instrumental works were adapted into songs that became standards."
William Ruhlmann, Allmusic.com
Duke's father, James Edward Ellington, was a butler in the White House.
The Hi-De-Ho man.
Leader of the famous Count Basie Orchestra.
The First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, Lady Ella.
Boundary breaking jazz composer, arranger, and pianist.
Born in the Mississippi Delta.
The dominant form of American dance music for over a decade.
Black musical tradition is a part of its core.
The progeny of spirituals and cousin to the blues.