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Duke Ellington And His Kentucky Club Orchestra

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Duke Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American jazz composer, pianist and bandleader.

In September of 1923 Elmer Snowden’s Washington Black Sox Orchestra landed a six month gig at the Hollywood Club in Manhattan. After about three months the name of the group was shortened to the Washingtonians and because of a disagreement over money,banjoist Snowden was forced out of the band and Duke Ellington was elected as the new leader. Ellington and the band continued to play at the club until January of 1925 when the place was closed for repairs. Trumpeter Bubber Miley was the main attraction in the group and gave it its unique sound, with his use of the plunger mute. The style which featured Miley’s growling, drunken, wah-wah trumpet playing was called the “jungle sound”. Ellington’s early theme song East St. Louis Toodle-Oo is a good example of this style of playing. When the Hollywood Club reopened in the spring of 1925 it was renamed the Kentucky Club. The band then became known as Duke Ellington and his Kentucky Club Orchestra although they also continued to record as the Washingtonians up until 1929.

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