"There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

Duke Ellington

Edward Kennedy Ellington was born on 29 April 1899 in Washington, D.C. into an educated middle-class Black family. During his early childhood, he had little immersion in music; he was far more drawn to baseball than the sounds of the piano his parents played from time to time. But he was just 7 years old when he sat down at a keyboard for his first lessons, and just 15 when he composed his first piece, “Soda Fountain Rag”, entirely by ear. Influenced by the ragtime pianists popular at the time, the young man started learning music theory and harmony in 1916. His elegance and refined manners earned him the nickname of “Duke”. He gave up his commercial arts studies to devote himself entirely to the piano. Ellington launched his musical career officially by founding his first jazz group, The Duke’s Serenaders, together with saxophonist Otto Hardwick and his good friend Sonny Greer on drums. Early in the 1920s, Ellington left for Harlem to try his luck.

Featured on

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Prayer for Peace
The International Clarinets | Eddy Vanoosthuyse
Live at the Berlin Jazz Festival 1969 - 1973
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Echoes of Swing
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Live In Zurich, Switzerland 1950
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Swiss Radio Days Vol. 16 - Lausanne 1953
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Big Band de Lausanne