The performer of 'Take the 'A' Train' (1941) who was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize Special Award for music in 1999.
Edward Kennedy Ellington
April 29, 1899
May 24, 1974
Washington, District Of Columbia, United States
Duke Ellington was a composer, pianist, and a big name in the history of jazz music. He gained a national profile by leading a jazz orchestra at the Cotton Club in Harlem. Embracing the phrase ‘beyond category’, he referred to his music as part of general American music. His extensive work is the largest personal jazz legacy and many of his pieces have become the standards. Later in his life, he recorded his only album with Frank Sinatra entitled ‘Francis A. & Edward K.’ (1967).
As a young man, he wore a dapper dress that gave him the bearing of a young nobleman so his friend Edgar McEntree began calling him ‘Duke’.
He is the first African American to appear by himself on a circulation U.S. coin in 2009.