I decided to do my research paper on Duke Ellington who was a famous jazz composer, and pianist. Ellington gained national fame in the mid-1920s, through his appearances at the Cotton Club with his orchestra. Ellington is considered one of the most famous jazz composers of his time.
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born on April 29, 1899 in Washington D.C. His mother Daisy, surrounded Edward with her very polite friends which taught him to have respect and manners for people. After a while his friends started beginning to notice his politeness and his dapper style and gave him the nickname “duke.” When Ellington was seven years old he started taking piano lessons and found his love for music, although his love for baseball was more potent at the time. Ellington recalls President Roosevelt coming by on his horse at times and watching the boys play baseball. Ellington wound up getting his first job selling peanuts at baseball games. While working at the Soda Jerk in the Poodle Café in the summer of 1914, Ellington wrote his first composition and called the piece “Soda Fountain Rag”, he created it by ear because he had not yet learned how to write or read the music. Ellington recalls playing the “Soda Fountain Rag” as a one-step, two-step, waltz tango and fox trait, he said, “listeners never knew it was the same piece. I was established as having my own repertoire.” In Ellington’s autobiography, Music is my Mistress (1973), Ellington wrote about missing more piano lessons than he had attended because he felt that at the time playing piano wasn’t his talent and that he wasn’t very good at it. At the age of fourteen Ellington started sneaking into Frank Holiday's Poolroom. After hearing the poolro...
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...ience and exposed his music to great heights. Ellington was a Pulitzer Prize for Music nominee in 1965, although he didn’t receive the award. Then 67 years old, Ellington reacted by saying, "Fate is being kind to me. Fate doesn't want me to be famous too young." Ellington played his last three shows in 1973 before he passed away at the age of seventy-five, a month after his birthday on May 24, 1974 from lung cancer and pneumonia.
In conclusion, Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was of the most talented jazz composers and pianists of the 20th century and did amazing work and composed some of the most famous compositions of jazz. He has gave so many jazz composers motivation to do what they love and think outside the box, he was a genius. His compositions will live through the decades inspiring musicians and composers, his talent will live forever.
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