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Duke Ellington

jazz music leader orchestra

Ellington, Duke (Edward Kennedy Ellington; 1899–1974), U.S. composer, pianist, and orchestra leader, one of the giants of jazz music. After a formal musical education, Ellington formed his first band in 1918 and by the 1930s enjoyed an international following. His superbly disciplined orchestra remained the envy of the jazz world for several decades, playing music composed by its leader for its well-known instrumental soloists. Ellington wrote such hit songs as “Mood Indigo,” “Sophisticated Lady,” and “Satin Doll,” suites such as Black, Brown and Beige (1943), and late in life, considerable sacred music. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969.

See also: Jazz.

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