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Duke Ellington is considered to be one of the greatest figures in the history of American music Edward Kennedy Duke Ellington was born in Washington DC on April 29 1899 His parents were James Edward and Daisy Kennedy Ellington They raised Duke as an only child until his sister Ruth was born when Duke was sixteen years old Duke even as a teenager had a great talent for music In the beginning of his musical life Duke began to take a promising interest in a new type of music that would later be called jazz Choosing to base his career on a new idea may not have been smart but Duke did take this chance and in turn became one of the most famous musicians in America Dukes first job was at a government office He was a clerk who received the minimum wage and was barely getting by He would arrange dance bands for weddings and parties for extra money His mother taught him how to play the piano Sometimes he put this knowledge to use and played at a few of the dance parties and weddings After Dukes first job he became more interested in painting and the arts For a few years he painted public posters Duke then decided to put together his own band At this point in his life things started to change for the better for Duke but not for long In those days this new music was just beginning to develop and would later be given the name of jazz In that time it was considered to be low and vulgar because it was music that grew directly out of the Black culture In those early years segregation was at one of its all time worst points in history I think that is why Duke Ellington was one of the most important individuals to the growth and development of jazz During Dukes long career
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