Friday, July 19, 2019

Edward Kennedy Ellington :: essays research papers

The man was born Edward Kennedy Ellington; but he exists in the eyes of American culture as the Duke. He received the nickname from a childhood friend who recognized his style and debonair. That style would carry him around the country and eventually the world as one of the music world’s most prolific composers. His life began in Washington DC on April 29, 1899. Duke did not start up as a child prodigy; while he took piano lessons, he leaned more to sports in his formative years. His parents were strong role models who supported his interests and taught him how to be successful in life. As he grew up and made his way through high school, he developed artistic talent which would lead him to seek higher education in that field. He turned down and prestigious scholarship to Pratt Institute of Fine Art and stayed in Washington to attend Armstrong Manual Training School instead. It was during college that his interest in music took off. He was intrigued by Ragtime style pianists in Washington and would seek out Jazz piano players wherever he went. His earliest personal influence was a piano player named Harvey Brooks. Combined with his early teachers, Oliver â€Å"Doc† Perry and Louis Brown, Duke Ellington found the encouragement and skills necessary for him to go out and become successful . He left school to pursue music as a career and found some work in Washington with his first band – The Duke’s Serenaders. They played in Washington for six years before making an important move to New York in 1923 at the advice of Jazz great Fats Waller. In that year Ellington recorded his first record and changed the band’s name to The Washingtonians. Radio was the big key to the foundation of Ellington’s success in New York. It was radio which had prepared New Yorkers for his sound and once his band made connections with the major New York clubs, it was radio which made their sound a national phenomenon. The most important of the clubs which Duke Ellington played for was the Cotton Club. The combination of the national radio broadcasts that aired from the Cotton Club and the addition of Irving Mills as the bands manager launched Ellington from running a great band to being a star. His fame gave him the ability to develop his band and add in the best musicians from around the country.

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