Biography of Edward Kennedy Ellington

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Biography of Edward Kennedy Ellington

“I’m just an up and coming musician struggling to find another new

note.”

-Duke Ellington

Edward Kennedy Ellington was born April 29th 1899 in Washington, DC.

From an early age, Ellington was instilled with solid, conservative

morals. He was taught to pride himself and his family and to achieve

to the utmost of his dreams. At such a crucial time in the history of

the African American, there was a struggle to be accepted and to fit

into the American culture that so far had not embraced them. This held

true for Ellington’s family. As Ellington said of his father, he

always “acted as though he had money, whether he had it or not.”[1]

This sentiment and attitude towards life is what led and encouraged

Ellington to be the person that he became to be. During a time in

history, when just surviving was a struggle for the average black

American, Duke Ellington, as he became known as, evolved into one of

the most innovative and well-known musicians in the history of jazz.

Growing up, Duke was rather privileged compared to his African

American counterparts. His father was a butler for a white upper class

family. This in itself, allowed Duke to be exposed to some of the

things that life had to offer, yet never would have seen if he had not

lived with the Cuthbert family, for whom his father worked. As a

butler, J.E., Duke’s father had a certain aura or presence about him

that naturally made him more reserved and refined than your average

working class black man. “Duke was influenced by his strong

identification with his father. J.E. was an elegant man, an excellent

ballroom dancer, and a connois...

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... Press, New

York. 1997.

[8] Cotton Club. “About the Cotton

Club”.http://www.cottonclub-newyork.com/about.html. 15th January 2005.

[9] Nicholson, Stuart. Reminiscing in Tempo, a Portrait of Duke

Ellington. Northern University Press, Boston, MA. 1999

[10] Lock, Graham. Bluetopia. Duke University Press, Durham & London.

1999.

[11] Lock, Graham. Bluetopia. Duke University Press, Durham & London.

1999.

[12] Lock, Graham. Bluetopia. Duke University Press, Durham & London.

1999.

[13] Lock, Graham. Bluetopia. Duke University Press, Durham & London.

1999.

[14] Lock, Graham. Bluetopia. Duke University Press, Durham & London.

1999.

[15] Lock, Graham. Bluetopia. Duke University Press, Durham & London.

1999.

[16] Gioia, Ted. The History of Jazz. Oxford University Press, New

York. 1997.

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