Both of his parents were pianists, and his father also made blueprints for the United States Navy. (Some of those musicians returned later.) He also worked as his father’s business manager. Duke Ellington's Early Years At age 15, Ellington worked at a soda fountain and wrote his first song, "Soda Fountain Rag." The prize was awarded after his death, in 1999. Report abuse. Duke Ellington in childhood. Ellington also wrote film scores and stage musicals, and several of his instrumental works were adapted into songs that became standards. "New Orleans Suite" earned another Grammy in the category in 1971, as did "Togo Brava Suite" in 1972, and the posthumous The Ellington Suites in 1976. The boy began to write his first compositions in 1910. In 1928, he had two two-sided hits: "Black and Tan Fantasy"/"Creole Love Call" on Victor (now BMG) and "Doin' the New Low Down"/"Diga Diga Doo" on OKeh (now Sony), released as by the Harlem Footwarmers. With the end of the war, Ellington's period as a major commercial force on records largely came to an end, but unlike other big bandleaders, who disbanded as the swing era passed, Ellington, who predated the era, simply went on touring, augmenting his diminished road revenues with his songwriting royalties to keep his band afloat. Duke Ellington's contributions to jazz and American music were simply enormous. "Duke" Ellington Quotes He got his nickname "Duke" because many people saw him as a gentleman. The record received mixed reviews, but Ellington was very proud of his work, performing it many times. Top reviews from other countries Stuart Emmerson. During his career, Ellington won 12 Grammy Awards, three of them after his death. The informational text explains Ellington’s formative years, his accomplishments, and his influence on 20th century music. He was Ellington's first drummer, playing with his quintet, the Washingtonians, and moved with Ellington into the Cotton Club. By his late teens, he was making enough money to help his parents move into a better house. Biography. The Ellington band moved uptown to The Cotton Club in Harlem on December 4, 1927. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his next score, Paris Blues (1961). In the. Duke Ellington is on my favorites shelf because it literally leapt of the page and into my heart and soul with the palpably joyful ability to take the reader right into the music, story, and culture of the time. Marietta Clinkscales was the piano teacher of Ellington … Duke Ellington - Biography. Duke Ellington's biography and life story. When Duke was seven years old, he began taking piano lessons. He also had a messenger job with the U.S. Navy and State depart… In the fall, he was back in the Top Ten with a version of the British show tune "Lambeth Walk.". The following summer, the band took a leave of absence to head out to California and appear in the film Check and Double Check. See all reviews. Duke Ellington was born on 29 April 1899 and passed away on 24 May 1974 and he embodied jazz like few others. Ellington, nicknamed “Duke” by childhood friends for his elegant demeanor, took piano lessons at seven from Marietta Clinkscales, Mrs. Cook’s accompanist, but quickly grew bored and, some time later, enrolled at a commercial art institute. https://study.com/academy/lesson/duke-ellington-biography-songs-facts.html (Fun fact: Ellington’s childhood piano teacher’s name was … In 1918, Duke Ellington married his high school sweetheart Edna Thompson. And he wrote his first full-length background score for a feature film with 1950's The Asphalt Jungle. (A second version of the piece was a chart entry on Victor in March 1932.) Duke Ellington: Biography. Ellington built his music business through his day job: when a customer asked him to make a sign for a dance or party, he would ask if they had musical entertainment; if not, Ellington would offer to play for the occasion. Despite his advancing age, Ellington continued to make new and innovative records. He was born on April 29, 1899 in Washington, DC. In August 1963, his stage work My People, a cavalcade of African-American history, was mounted in Chicago as part of the Century of Negro Progress Exposition. His peers noticed his dressing style and natural grace and began referring to him as Duke. These various changes were encapsulated by the Victor release of Strayhorn's "Take the 'A' Train," a swing era standard, in the summer of 1941. "The Mooche" on OKeh peaked in the charts at the start of 1929. The U.S. entry into World War II in December 1941 and the onset of the recording ban called by the American Federation of Musicians in August 1942 slowed the Ellington band's momentum. Ellington often found musicians with a unique style. Duke Ellington is best known as a Pianist. When Duke was seven years old, he began taking piano lessons. Duke Ellington Biography by William Ruhlmann + Follow Artist. 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