1974 – Duke Ellington dies

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was one of the greatest and most influential of Jazz musicians – although he himself always described his music as “American music”, and used the phrase “beyond category” to praise music he particularly liked.

He was born in Washington DC in 1899 to parents who were also musical, and who nurtured his talents. Ellington started writing his own compositions at the age of 15, and by the time of his death, would have created more than a thousand pieces of original music, embracing the jazz he is best known for as well as other musical styles including blues, gospel, pop and classical.

He is universally regarded as one of the all time greats in his field, and achieved (and faded from) popular and critical success several times during his life (and after).

Referenced in:
L.A. Money Train — Rollins Band
Woke Up This Morning — Alabama 3