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One of Dukes earliest compositions was the Soda Fountain Rag which he played so many different ways it was thought that it was several compositions Gammond 69 In retrospect Duke Ellingtons formal music career could be split up into three distinctmasterful periods when the fruition of his work was most evident The first period occurred in 1923 The second phase of Dukes masterful career came between the late thirties and mid-forties when Duke began experimenting and reworking his earlier successful titles and began to reconstruct them into longer forms to accentuate his players strengths Gone was the chugging sound of early jazz bands replaced by a panorama of musical textures bound together by a subtler but no less incisive pulse Holmes During this period of his career Duke would have the extreme fortune of working and learning from musicians that would initialize their career by playing in Dukes orchestra and eventully gain historic jazz notoriety from their times with Duke Holmes Such players as Jimmy Blanton the doomed young virtouoso of the stringed bass and Ben Webster adding to the sax section that already housed Jonny Hodges Harry Carney and Barney Bigard Holmes The trumpet section during this time in Dukes orchestra comprised such legends as Rex Stewart and Cootie Williams Joe Nanton Juan Tizol and Lawrence Brown comprised the monster trombone section and Sonny Greer rounded out the orchestra on drums Holmes And of course there the piano player as Duke often referred to himself Holmes During this time Duke would showcase his individual members in miniature masterpieces three-minute concertos that displayed a single soloist against the backdrop of a tightly-knit ensemble Holmes Then in 1943 Duke began to hold annual concerts in Carnegie Hall where he would showcase his longer concert-length compositionsHolmes The most notable of these was Brown Black and Beige In 1939 Duke acquired a musician that would be of epochal proportions- Billy Strayhorn Strayhorn would become Dukes chief
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