Born in 1899, Edward Kennedy Ellington grew up in Washington, DC. From his father who was a butler, he inherited a taste for the finer things in life—gourmet foods, fine wines, elegant manners. The story goes that Ellington’s self-confidence and flashy clothes as a young man won him the nickname “Duke.” Early on, he felt the pull of the bright lights of the big city up north. In 1922, fronting his first band, the Washingtonians, Duke made his move to New York.


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