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Edward Kennedy ('Duke') Ellington

(1899-1974), American pianist and composer

Sitter in 1 portrait
Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington predominantly lived in New York City where he regularly performed with his big band jazz orchestra at the Cotton Club in Harlem. These performances became so popular that audiences travelled to Harlem just to hear the band. During the 1930s, Ellington's orchestra toured across Europe to great success. Ellington is responsible for writing over a thousand compositions encompassing both short and extended pieces, during a musical career spanning over five decades. He is considered to have radically changed the face of jazz music, developing it into an art form and making it accessible to wider audiences. In 1999, he was awarded a special posthumous Pulitzer Prize for music.

Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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Jack Hylton meeting Duke Ellington and his band at Waterloo Station, by James Jarché, for  Daily Herald - NPG x88287

Jack Hylton meeting Duke Ellington and his band at Waterloo Station

by James Jarché, for Daily Herald
modern bromide print from original negative, 9 June 1933
NPG x88287



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