Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born in Washington D.C. on April 29, 1899. Duke Ellington: Biography. Duke Ellington called his music "American Music" rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as "beyond category. 137 views Fadehan Emmanuel Moore No comment. Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and Big band leader. Biography of Duke Ellington. He also played blues, gospel, pop, and classical music.He worked for 60 years. Second cousin of the artist Romare Bearden . As a bandleader, his orchestra during 1926-74 was always among the top five, whether it be 1929 or 1969. His parents were James Edward and Daisy Kennedy Ellington. Duke Ellington is considered to be one of the greatest figures in the history of American music. As a composer, Ellington ranked with George … He was one of the most important musicians in the history of recorded music, and is called one of the greatest figures in jazz music. Ellington was celebrated in Stevie Wonder's song "Sir Duke" (from "Songs in the Key of Life" (1976)). Duke Ellington's contributions to jazz and American music were simply enormous. Inducted into … Duke Ellington Biography. posted on Feb. 24, 2020 at 10:19 am Duke Ellington was not only the most famous composer in the history of jazz but also the leader of a group that had kept his brilliant group for almost 50 years. Duke, even as a teenager, had a great talent for music. They raised Duke as an only child, until his sister, Ruth, was born when Duke was sixteen years old.