He was born on April 29th 1899; and grew up listening to father James playing operatic arias, and his mother Daisy playing parlor songs. Duke Ellington started playing the piano at the age of 7…who knew the magic that would unfold.
In the 1920’s, Duke rose to stardom. He was an aristocratic maestro, pianist and songwriter. His passion was the orchestra where he created tapestries of bluesy textures, lowdown swing and solo instrumental voices that could growl, cry or wail. He performed at The Cotton Club, Broadway to Hollywood. It was the origins of Big Band Jazz with songs like “It Don’t Mean a Thing, Take The A Train to Satin Doll. Duke Ellington composed thousands of scores in a career spanning over half a century.
Take a listen to this week’s Spotlight: