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10 Essential Duke Ellington Albums

As a bandleader, composer, arranger and pianist, the accomplishments of Duke Ellington (1899-1974) are difficult for anyone else to equal. In 1929 he had one of the top five bands in jazz. The same can be true of him in 1939, 1949, 1959 and even 1969. Leader of his orchestra (which never broke up) for 49 years, Ellington wrote thousands of compositions, ranging from dozens that became standards (placing him on the same level as George Gershwin, Cole Porter and the other top songwriters) to suites. An innovative arranger who had his own sound by late-1926, Ellington loved to combine

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