To commemorate Black History Month, we’ll take a look at prominent African American figures that have helped transform American history through their remarkable achievements. Today, we look at the greatest American composer who composed over 3000 songs in his fifty-year career and played in over 20,000 performances worldwide. Duke Ellington not only changed the face of American music but also helped change culture, especially here in Harlem.
Known as one of the most prominent figures of the Harlem Renaissance, Duke Ellington helped form the jazz movement and gave Harlem its historical face. Yet, while helping form jazz culture, Duke always referred to his music as “American” music, as to not isolate his creations from its location and people. For this and many other reason, we chose to honor Duke Ellington and his legacy today.
To see Duke Ellington’s memorial, visit Harlem at East 110th Street and 5th Avenue. To read our tribute to Duke Ellington, click here.
Check out his famous composition below, “Take the A Train” written as an invitation to come to Harlem. Also below is probably his most recognized song, “It Don’t Mean a Thing.”
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