His Music Created The Best Musicians In The World
Across his more than 3,000 works, Duke Ellington purposely included solos for his band members that would train the best musicians of the early to mid-20th century to trust their genius and take risks within his compositions.
These works were a love letter to the craft of music and the beauty of Black people.
“My men and my race are the inspiration of my work,” he once confessed. “I try to catch the character and mood and feeling of [Black] people."
The sheer volume of music he produced was impressive enough, but Ellington also crossed into unexpected genres as a leading Harlem Renaissance-era artist.
Whether it was a classical jazz suite, musical, opera, soundtrack or radio spot, Ellington defied expectations.
Other big band leaders tried to duplicate the incredible ways his music seemed to create entire scenes in your imagination.
All fell short of the mark. They just COULDN’T uncover and exploit the strengths of their players like the legend was known to do.
Duke Ellington passed away on May 24, 1974 at age 75, leaving behind an incomparable legacy of music, respect, and worldwide acclaim.
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