Meet DC Native Duke Ellington, A World-Renowned Pianist & Canny Orchestra Leader

Posted by Ernie K. on 2/22/21 11:24 AM

Learn more about DC native, Duke Ellington. In honor of Black History Month, Ernie Kyger—Van Metre’s resident lifestyle blogger, former radio personality, and member of our Diversity & Inclusion Council—explores the history of this famous musician.


Key Takeaway:

  • Duke Ellington was a native of Washington DC known for being a world-renowned pianist and canny orchestra leader.

  • He was a pivotal player in jazz music’s metamorphosis into swing, the evolutionary 1930s style that placed heavy emphasis on syncopated rhythms and hard-driving bass.

  • Throughout his career, he won 11 Grammy Awards, received 13 Grammy Hall of Fame nods, and earned a Grammy Trustees Award.

  • Duke Ellington wrote more than 1000 songs.

  • He also received many other accolades, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Pulitzer Prize special citation, the Songwriters Hall of Fame Award, and honorary doctorates from Howard University, Yale and Columbia

  • His most popular songs include “In A Sentimental Mood” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing), “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “Satin Doll,” I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good),” and “Take the A Train.”

Topics: Around the Community

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