Duke Ellington: Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue

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Danielle Boykin Duke Ellington is known as one of the greatest jazz composers ever lived. He was born Edward Kennedy Ellington in Washington D.C. in 1899. By the age of 17 was playing professionally. In 1923 he moved to New York City where he started recruiting people for his orchestra. He started off with an average jazz band of ten people but through the thirties and forties that number greatly expanded. He started playing in small nightclubs, theaters, and on the radio. His biggest break is considered to be when he got the chance to play at one of the most popular nightclubs of the time in Harlem, The Cotton Club, when another performer (King Oliver) turned down the offer, from that day forward Duke Ellington became well-known name…show more content…
He named these to pieces the Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue. They were appropriately named for the style that they were written. These two songs are considered to be some of Ellington's most ambitious efforts and when he first wrote them they were beyond the capabilities of his band. It took until 1957 for the full potential of the songs to be realized. This was one of Ellington's many pieces written with very little room for improvisation and it was very demanding, structurally and harmonically. These two songs are considered to be an important stepping stone for another famous song Ko-Ko. Ko-Ko was written in the crescendo form where each chorus builds on the one before it. Ellington included many different enhancements to add depth to the song such as dynamics, harmonic density, timbre, and increasingly expanded…show more content…
In 1974 tragedy came upon the jazz world, Duke Ellington passed away. He said he decided to become a musician when, in his youth, he realized that "when you were playing piano there was always a pretty girl standing down at the bass clef end of the piano." By the end of his life, he would declare, "Music is my mistress," which became entirely true, for it was his love and his life. Duke Ellington has received numerous honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and at least fifteen honorary degrees. The name "Duke" came from his personality, it is said he was something of a dandy with a love of fancy clothes and an elegant style. He retained those traits throughout his life, but he wore his sophistication without a hint of selflessness, that continued on in his

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