Duke Ellington

(1899 – 1974)

Duke Ellington called his music “American Music” rather than jazz and liked to describe those who impressed him as “beyond category”. He remains one of the most influential figures in the music and is widely considered as one of the twentieth century’s best known personalities. As both a composer and a band leader, Ellington’s reputation has increased since his death, with thematic repackagings of his signature music often becoming best-sellers. Posthumous recognition of his work include a special award citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board.

Duke Ellington influenced millions of people both around the world and at home. He gave American music its own sound for the first time. In his fifty-year career, he played over 20,000 performances in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East as well as Asia.

Simply put, Ellington transcends boundaries and fills the world with a treasure trove of music that renews itself through every generation of fans and music-lovers. His legacy continues to live on and will endure for generations to come. Wynton Marsalis said it best when he said “His music sounds like America.” because of the unmatched artistic heights to which he soared, no one deserved the phrase “beyond category” more than Ellington, for it aptly describes his life as well. 

Ellington recorded perhaps one of the most stark and beautiful pieces of music with john Coltrane entitled In A Sentimental Mood. The haunting sound has renewed itself every generation and is an anthem in the music.

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