Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, 1899-1974

newest piece from my Jazz on Canvas series
"D" is for Duke

Duke Ellington was a gifted pianist, composer and jazz band leader. He brought a level of style and sophistication to jazz that it had never seen before.

Duke began playing music professionally in Washington, D.C. in 1917. His piano technique was influenced by piano players like James P. Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith.

For nearly half a century, Duke Ellington led the premier American big band, and through his compositions and performances he brought artistic credibility to African American jazz.

This latest piece is available in my etsy shop HERE. Have a great week ahead!
Post Script: Please read the 2nd comment that was left by Cottage Way of Life on this post. It's the story of how she met Duke Ellington. Thanks for sharing such a heart-warming story Sue!


dollproject said...

Great colors. I love that background!

Cottage Way of Life said...

Ahhhh, Edward Kennedy Ellington!

Love your latest Jazz on Canvas piece madly!

Now ... as I promised, I will tell my Duke Ellington story.

From as far back as I can remember, my Dad loved Duke Ellington. He played the Duke's music almost nonstop in our house. If it wasn't Duke's music, it was Ella Fitzgerald or Count Basie. When I grew up to the point where I could dream about other places and other things, I fantasized about going to NY so I could take the A train to Harlem. I knew that Satin Doll must be the most elegant lady, and I loved Lush Life for its fascinating and complicated melodies. At Christmas time in our house, we listened to the Duke's version of The Nutcracker. To this day, it's the version I prefer.

Back in the days when I was 19, Disneyland used to book big bands for summer entertainment. That summer, Duke Ellington and his band came to Disneyland and somehow, my boyfriend got a job as the driver for some of the members of Duke's band (Cat Anderson being the one I remember most vividly). Duke, of course, being the royalty that he truly was, stayed at the Disneyland Hotel. But most of the band stayed in the smaller motels surrounding the park. So each night for a week, I would go along for the ride, transporting the guys to and from Disneyland for the night's gig.

At that point in time, I was a very shy 19-year old. I really wanted to ask Duke Ellington for an autograph for my dad, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. During one of the rides to and from Disneyland, I told Cat Anderson the story of how much my dad loved Duke Ellington and commented about how I wished I could get Duke to sign one of my dad's albums. Cat told me to bring the album the last night the band was playing, which I did. And when the last set was over I got called up to Duke. It was frightening, I'll tell, you. Duke Ellington was really something ... musical royalty ... and I was intimidated to walk up to him. But Cat had told him about me and the autograph. Duke Ellington asked for the album, signed it for me, then kissed me on each cheek and quietly said, "Love you madly."

And that's my story about how I got to meet Duke Ellington, one of America's greatest musicians!

Viola said...

What a great piece, Sherry! Stunning colors!