Duke Ellington

Edward Kennedy Ellington

1899 (Washington, D.C.) – 1974 (New York)

Waller heard Ellington’s band on their first foray to New York, and persuaded them to try again. Smith influenced his style, and helped him survive. Hodges, Webster, Miley and Blanton were among the most influential of his band-members. Stayhorn impressed him with his composing and arranging skills, and became his closest friend and right-hand man (though he didn’t get given all the credit due). Ellington was godfather to Vian’s daughter, while his friend Grainger tried to tempt him into academia. Fitzgerald recorded his music, while Ibrahim, Mingus, Coleman and Roach all played alongside him.

Duke Ellington knew…