Born April 29, 1899
Died May 24, 1974
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born on April 29, 1899 in Washington D.C. Although he was more interested in baseball at the time, Ellington began taking piano lessons at seven years of age and was already composing his own works by ear at 15. Inspired by the several pianists at Frank Holiday's Poolroom, Ellington's deep passion for his instrument took hold and never let go. He began imitating his favorite ragtime pianists and started taking lessons and seeking guidance from various music instructors and band leaders. After refining his artistry, Ellington moved to Harlem in the early 20's and soon made a name for himself. From the late 20's to the 1930's, Ellington's career exploded into countless radio broadcasts, exclusive club performances, awards and hit records. Now internationally renowned, Ellington's influence on the music of his time left a lasting impression. Duke Ellington is regarded as the Father of jazz, receivng the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1966, and posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for his contributions to American Music. Brother Ellington was a member of the Washington Social Lodge No.1. He was called from labor on May 24, 1974 at the age of 75, and was laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York.
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