Duke Ellington is one of the leaders of Jazz big bands.
He moved to New York in 1923 with a small band, and started to collect songs, and slowly added new people to the band.
In 1927 Duke and his band got to be the home band of the cotton club, a place where all the white people at that time went to hear the music of the blacks.
Duke found the perfect combination in the individual player and the band, and even wrote songs from specific player. Duke even let his player contribute in writing songs such as the famous song caravan written by his trombone player.
In 1939 Duke hired Billy Strayhorn as composer, and the two worked in sync to develop the big band music. Here some of the famous songs written by Billy.
In the next years Duke continued to create great songs that every jazz played today knows by heart.
Duke died in 1974, and although his great work he died felling that he didn’t get the appreciation as one of the great composer of America.