Duke Ellington is definitely not one of my favorite musicians, but I have a lot of respect for him. Edward Kennedy Ellington was born April 29, 1899 in D.C. Around when he turned seven or eight he began to take lessons for the piano, but he hated it. He actually preferred sports, particularly baseball, rather than music, particularly the piano.
He got over his stage fright at his first job selling peanuts at baseball games, because he wasn’t used too being around a lot of people. When he was 14, he began to sneak into pool rooms. That’s where he learned to deal with a lot of different people. During one summer, when he was a high school student, he heard about a really great piano player, Harvey Brooks. The next week, he attended one of his shows. When he came home, he had a new urge to play the piano. That’s when his musical career really started.
Three months before graduating from high school, he dropped out of school. Then he started his first group, the Duke’s Serenaders. He then took steps toward independence; he moved out of his mom and dad’s house, bought his own home, became his band’s booking agent, and got married too. On March 11, 1919, his son was born.
In 1923, he moved to NYC. He got on the radio and soon he was pretty famous. In 1928, he found a productions company and they let him publish his music. Then recording companies wanted his business. His band actually became one of the most wanted bands throughout the US, and even the world.
In his lifetime, he had played over 20,000 performances throughout the world. He was given the Legion of Honor by France, and the United States government gave him the presidential medal of freedom. He died in 1974, but during his whole life, he wrote as many as hundreds of musical compositions and why I really like him is that each and every one had a different but strong impact on those who listened to him. Duke Ellington actually inspired a lot of the music that people listen to today.
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