Duke Ellington's Biography
Duke Ellington was born on April 29, 1899. Duke Ellington was not born with the name Duke Ellington. He was born with the name of Edward Kennedy Ellington. He was widely considered a turning point for the world of jazz. Duke Ellington started his career by taking piano lessons at age 7. Even though he was following his parents' examples with piano lessons, Ellington was more interested in baseball. Duke Ellington got together groups for dances during his day job as a freelance sign-painter. It was in 1919 when Ellington met drummer Sonny Greer was when he was suggested to become a professional musician. During his day job, he asked any customer who asked him to paint a sign for their party if they had musical entertainment. If they did not, Duke Ellington offered to play for them. It was in October 1926 when Duke Ellington was recorded officially by means of a contract created by a man by the name of, Irving Mills. Mills had an eye for new talent and talked with Ellington for a contract with him. Ellington and his group of 5 other musicians that included the drummer, Sonny Greer, signed the contract. On September 1927, Duke Ellington had been offered a place in an audition for a spot to play at the Cotton Club. Ellington had to increase from a six group to an 11 group to meet the requirements. Ellington died on May 24, 1974 from lung cancer and pneumonia.
It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) - Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra (1932)
Comparing Duke Ellington to R.L. Burnside
Duke Ellington was a good jazz player but a person who would be most like Duke Ellington is R.L. Burnside. R.L. Burnside was a blues player and singer. Both Duke Ellington and R.L. Burnside sang in their songs and were recorded. A difference was that R.L. Burnside did not play full time in clubs, he mostly recorded by himself. His voice was quite distinct in his recordings. He kept playing until 2005 when he died.