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The Duke and His Creation: Swing Music

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Distinguished, prolific, and dedicated to his family and professional career, Duke Ellington is, undoubtedly, a great prodigy and the master of swing. He was born in Washington D.C. on April 29, 1899. He was raised by his grandparents, who taught him from proper manner to the joy and music’s power to transmit emotions.

Duke started to take piano lessons when he was around seven years old, but he seemed to be more interested in playing baseball than in becoming a musician. Some years later, he attended Armstrong Manual Training School, where he studied commercial art. By 1917, Duke Ellington started to develop a deeper interest for music and his artistic personality flourished. He associated from this time on with the most superior jazz creations.

Once he heard Harvey Brooks, who was a hot pianist, he joined him and learned from his pianist tricks. Then he began to work in different clubs and cafes, until 1917, when he formed his first band: The Duke’s Serenaders. The following year, 1918, he got married to Edna Thompson, and both had a child.

Some of Duke Ellington’s greatest compositions include, Rockin’ in Rhythm, Satin Doll, New Orleans, A Drum is a Women, Take the "A" Train, Happy-Go-Lucky Local, The Mooche, and Crescendo in Blue. Actually his most prolific period started in 1927. In the early 30’s, he first visited Europe. He also traveled to India, Japan, Soviet Union, Latin America and Mexico.

The Swing Duke passed away from cancer on May 24, 1974.

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