Duke Ellington was born in 1899. He received a scholarship to the Pratt Institute of Fine Arts in New York. He turned the scholarship down to play music locally. He got his first gig at the Kentucky Club.
His first recordings were made under “Ellington’s Kentucky Club Orchestra”. He became famous for his great music. In the 1930's he toured Europe. By 1943, Ellington’s music was know around the world. It was know as “fused jazz” He had an extraordinary gift for mixing sounds.
On his seventieth birthday he was awarded the presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the nations highest civilian honor. He died in 1974 at the age of 75.