Edward Kennedy Ellington


American composer, musician, piano player and band leader of jazz orchestra.

Born in 1889 in Washington D.C. to the daughter of a slave.

Began playing music at age 7.

Moved to NEW YORK CITY in 1923.

Died at age 75 in 1974.

What impact did Duke Ellington have on history?

  • Essential figure in the history of jazz
  • Reinvented jazz by creating the BIG BAND ORCHESTRA
  • Helped further equality for African Americans by making music and art mainstream
  • Gave Americans their own music for the first time in history

Interesting Facts

  • He was very loyal to the musicians who worked for him. He also wrote his music to make each of his musicians sound as good as they possibly could.
  • Over 12,000 people went to his funeral.
  • His last words were, “Music is how I live, why I live and how I will be remembered.

Duke At The Cotton Club