Eleanora Fagan, better known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz singer with a career spanning nearly thirty years. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz music and pop singing, her vocal style inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills, which made up for her limited range and lack of formal music education. After a turbulent childhood, Holiday began singing in nightclubs in Harlem, where she was heard by the producer John Hammond, who commended her voice, she signed a recording contract with Brunswick in 1935. Collaborations with Teddy Wilson yielded the hit "What a Little Moonlight Can Do", which became a jazz standard. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Holiday had mainstream success on labels such as Decca. By the late 1940s, she was beset with legal troubles and drug abuse. After a short prison sentence, she performed at a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall, but her reputation deteriorated because of her drug and alcohol problems.
Though she was a successful concert performer throughout the 1950s with two further sold-out shows at Carnegie Hall, Holiday's bad health, coupled with a string of abusive relationships and ongoing drug and alcohol abuse, caused her voice to wither. Her final recordings were met with mixed reaction, owing to her damaged voice, but were mild commercial successes, her final album, Lady in Satin, was released in 1958. Holiday died of cirrhosis on July 17, 1959, she won four Grammy Awards, all of them posthumously, for Best Historical Album. She was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1973. Lady Sings the Blues, a film about her life, starring Diana Ross, was released in 1972, she is the primary character in the play Lady Day at Grill. In 2017 Holiday was inducted into the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame. Eleanora Fagan was born on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, the daughter of unwed teenage couple Sarah Julia "Sadie" Fagan and Clarence Holiday. Sarah moved to Philadelphia aged 19, after she was evicted from her parents' home in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland for becoming pregnant.
With no support from her parents, she made arrangements with her older, married half-sister Eva Miller for Eleanora to stay with her in Baltimore. Not long after Eleanora was born, Clarence abandoned his family to pursue a career as a jazz banjo player and guitarist. Holiday had a difficult childhood, her mother took what were known as "transportation jobs", serving on passenger railroads. Holiday was raised by Eva Miller's mother-in-law Martha Miller, suffered from her mother's absences and being in others' care for her first decade of life. Holiday's autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, first published in 1956, is sketchy on details of her early life, but much was confirmed by Stuart Nicholson in his 1995 biography of the singer; some historians have disputed Holiday's paternity, as a copy of her birth certificate in the Baltimore archives lists her father as "Frank DeViese." Other historians consider this an anomaly inserted by a hospital or government worker. DeViese lived in Philadelphia, Sadie Harris may have known him through her work.
Sadie Harris known as Sadie Fagan, married Philip Gough, but the marriage ended in two years. Eleanora was left with Martha Miller, she skipped school, her truancy resulted in her being brought before the juvenile court on January 5, 1925, when she was nine years old. She was sent to the House of the Good Shepherd, a Catholic reform school, where she was baptized on March 19, 1925. After nine months in care, she was "paroled" on October 1925, to her mother, she had opened a restaurant, the East Side Grill, mother and daughter worked long hours there. By the age of 11, Holiday had dropped out of school. On December 24, 1926, Sadie came home to discover a neighbor, Wilbur Rich, attempting to rape Eleanora, she fought back, Rich was arrested. Officials placed Eleanora in the House of the Good Shepherd under protective custody as a state witness in the rape case. Holiday was released in February 1927, she found a job running errands in a brothel, she scrubbed marble steps and kitchen and bathroom floors of neighborhood homes.
Around this time, she first heard the records of Bessie Smith. By the end of 1928, Holiday's mother moved to Harlem, New York, again leaving Eleanora with Martha Miller. By early 1929, Holiday had joined her mother in Harlem, their landlady was a sharply-dressed woman named Florence Williams, who ran a brothel at 151 West 140th Street. Holiday's mother became a prostitute, within a matter of days of arriving in New York, not yet 14 became a prostitute at $5 a client; the house was raided on May 2, 1929, Holiday and her mother were sent to prison. After spending time in a workhouse, her mother was released in July, Holiday was released in October; as a young teenager, Holiday started singing in nightclubs in Harlem. She took her professional pseudonym from Billie Dove, an actress she admired, the musician Clarence Holiday, her probable father. At the outset of her career, she spelled her last name "Halliday", her father's birth surname, but changed it to "Holiday", his performing name; the young singer teamed up with tenor saxophone player Kenneth Hollan.
They were a team from 1929 to 1931, performing at clubs such as the Grey Dawn, Pod's and Jerry's on 133rd
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. The first multimedia star, Crosby was a leader in record sales, radio ratings, motion picture grosses from 1931 to 1954, his early career coincided with recording innovations that allowed him to develop an intimate singing style that influenced many male singers who followed him, including Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Dick Haymes, Dean Martin. Yank magazine said that he was "the person who had done the most for the morale of overseas servicemen" during World War II. In 1948, American polls declared him the "most admired man alive", ahead of Jackie Robinson and Pope Pius XII. In 1948, Music Digest estimated that his recordings filled more than half of the 80,000 weekly hours allocated to recorded radio music. Crosby won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Father Chuck O'Malley in the 1944 motion picture Going My Way and was nominated for his reprise of the role in The Bells of St. Mary's opposite Ingrid Bergman the next year, becoming the first of six actors to be nominated twice for playing the same character.
In 1963, Crosby received the first Grammy Global Achievement Award. He is one of 33 people to have three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in the categories of motion pictures and audio recording, he was known for his collaborations with longtime friend Bob Hope, starring in the Road to... films from 1940 to 1962. Crosby influenced the development of the postwar recording industry. After seeing a demonstration of a German broadcast quality reel-to-reel tape recorder brought to America by John T. Mullin, he invested $50,000 in a California electronics company called Ampex to build copies, he convinced ABC to allow him to tape his shows. He became the first performer to pre-record his radio shows and master his commercial recordings onto magnetic tape. Through the medium of recording, he constructed his radio programs with the same directorial tools and craftsmanship used in motion picture production, a practice that became an industry standard. In addition to his work with early audio tape recording, he helped to finance the development of videotape, bought television stations, bred racehorses, co-owned the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team.
Crosby was born on May 3, 1903 in Tacoma, Washington, in a house his father built at 1112 North J Street. In 1906, his family moved to Spokane and in 1913, his father built a house at 508 E. Sharp Avenue; the house sits on the campus of Gonzaga University. It functions today as a museum housing over 200 artifacts from his life and career, including his Oscar, he was the fourth of seven children: brothers Laurence Earl, Everett Nathaniel, Edward John, George Robert. His parents were Harry Lowe Crosby, a bookkeeper, Catherine Helen "Kate", his mother was a second generation Irish-American. His father was of English descent. Through another line on his father's side, Crosby is descended from Mayflower passenger William Brewster. On November 8, 1937, after Lux Radio Theatre's adaptation of She Loves Me Not, Joan Blondell asked Crosby how he got his nickname: Crosby: "Well, I'll tell you, back in the knee-britches day, when I was a wee little tyke, a mere broth of a lad, as we say in Spokane, I used to totter around the streets, with a gun on each hip, my favorite after school pastime was a game known as "Cops and Robbers", I didn't care which side I was on, when a cop or robber came into view, I would haul out my trusty six-shooters, made of wood, loudly exclaim bing! bing!, as my luckless victim fell clutching his side, I would shout bing! bing!, I would let him have it again, as his friends came to his rescue, shooting as they came, I would shout bing! bing! bing! bing! bing! bing! bing! bing!"Blondell: "I'm surprised they didn't call you "Killer" Crosby!
Now tell me another story, Grandpa! Crosby: "No, so help me, it's the truth, ask Mister De Mille."De Mille: "I'll vouch for it, Bing."That story was pure whimsy for dramatic effect and the truth is that a neighbor - Valentine Hobart - named him "Bingo from Bingville" after a comic feature in the local paper called "The Bingville Bugle" which the young Harry liked. In time, Bingo got shortened to Bing. In 1917, Crosby took a summer job as property boy at Spokane's "Auditorium," where he witnessed some of the finest acts of the day, including Al Jolson, who held him spellbound with ad libbing and parodies of Hawaiian songs, he described Jolson's delivery as "electric."Crosby graduated from Gonzaga High School in 1920 and enrolled at Gonzaga University. He did not earn a degree; as a freshman, he played on the university's baseball team. The university granted him an honorary doctorate in 1937. Today, Gonzaga University houses a large collection of photographs and other material related to Crosby.
In 1923, Crosby was invited to join a new band composed of high school students a few years younger than himself. Al Rinker, Miles Rinker, James Heaton, Claire Pritchard and Robert Pritchard, along with drummer Crosby, formed the Musicaladers, who performed at dances both for high school students and club-goers; the group disbanded after two years. Crosby and Al Rinker obtained work at the Clemmer Theatre in Spokane. Crosby was a member of a vocal trio called'The Three Harmo
The cello or violoncello is a string instrument. It is played by bowing or plucking its four strings, which are tuned in perfect fifths an octave lower than the viola: from low to high, C2, G2, D3 and A3, it is the bass member of the violin family, which includes the violin and the double bass, which doubles the bass line an octave lower than the cello in much of the orchestral repertoire. After the double bass, it is the second-largest and second lowest bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra; the cello is used as a solo instrument, as well as in chamber music ensembles, string orchestras, as a member of the string section of symphony orchestras, most modern Chinese orchestras, some types of rock bands. Music for the cello is written in the bass clef, but both tenor clef and treble clef are used for higher-range parts, both in orchestral/chamber music parts and in solo cello works. A person who plays the cello is called a violoncellist. In a small classical ensemble, such as a string quartet, the cello plays the bass part, the lowest-pitched musical line of the piece.
In an orchestra of the Baroque era and Classical period, the cello plays the bass part doubled an octave lower by the double basses. In Baroque-era music, the cello is used to play the basso continuo bassline along with a keyboard instrument or a fretted, plucked stringed instrument. In such a Baroque performance, the cello player might be joined or replaced by other bass instruments, playing bassoon, double bass, viol or other low-register instruments; the name cello is derived from the ending of the Italian violoncello, which means "little violone". Violone was a large-sized member of the violin family; the term "violone" today refers to the lowest-pitched instrument of the viols, a family of stringed instruments that went out of fashion around the end of the 17th century in most countries except England and France, where they survived another half-century before the louder violin family came into greater favour in that country as well. In modern symphony orchestras, it is the second largest stringed instrument.
Thus, the name "violoncello" contained both the augmentative "-one" and the diminutive "-cello". By the turn of the 20th century, it had become common to shorten the name to'cello, with the apostrophe indicating the missing stem, it is now customary to use "cello" without apostrophe as the full designation. Viol is derived from the root viola, derived from Medieval Latin vitula, meaning stringed instrument. Cellos are tuned in fifths, starting with C2, followed by G2, D3, A3, it is tuned in the same intervals as the viola. Unlike the violin or viola but similar to the double bass, the cello has an endpin that rests on the floor to support the instrument's weight; the cello is most associated with European classical music, has been described as the closest sounding instrument to the human voice. The instrument is a part of the standard orchestra, as part of the string section, is the bass voice of the string quartet, as well as being part of many other chamber groups. Among the most well-known Baroque works for the cello are Johann Sebastian Bach's six unaccompanied Suites.
The cello figures as a member of the basso continuo group in chamber works by Francesca Caccini, Barbara Strozzi with pieces such as Il primo libro di madrigali, per 2–5 voci e basso continuo, op. 1 and Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre who wrote six sonatas for violin and basso continuo. From the Classical era, the two concertos by Joseph Haydn in C major and D major stand out, as do the five sonatas for cello and pianoforte of Ludwig van Beethoven, which span the important three periods of his compositional evolution. A Divertimento for Piano, Clarinet and Cello is among the surviving works by Duchess Anna Amalia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. A review of compositions for cello in the Romantic era must include the German composer Fanny Mendelssohn who wrote the Fantasy in G minor for cello and piano and a Capriccio in A-flat for cello. Other well-known works of the era include the Robert Schumann Concerto, the Antonín Dvořák Concerto as well as the two sonatas and the Double Concerto by Johannes Brahms.
Compositions from the late-19th and early 20th century include three cello sonatas by Dame Ethel Smyth, Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor, Claude Debussy's Sonata for Cello and Piano, unaccompanied cello sonatas by Zoltán Kodály and Paul Hindemith. Pieces including cello were written by American Music Cente founder Marion Bauer and Ruth Crawford Seeger. Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz was writing for cello in the mid 20th century with Concerto No. 1 for Cello and Orchestra, Concerto No. 2 for Cello and Orchestra and in 1964 composed her Quartet for four cellos. The cello's versatility made it popular with many male composers in this era as well, such as Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich, Benjamin Britten, György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski and Henri Dutilleux. Well-known cellists include Jacqueline du Pre, Raya Garbousova, Zara Nelsova, Hildur Gudna
Charles Mingus Jr. was an American jazz double bassist, pianist and bandleader. A major proponent of collective improvisation, he is considered to be one of the greatest jazz musicians and composers in history, with a career spanning three decades and collaborations with other jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Dannie Richmond, Herbie Hancock. Mingus' compositions continue to be played by contemporary musicians ranging from the repertory bands Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty, Mingus Orchestra, to the high school students who play the charts and compete in the Charles Mingus High School Competition. In 1993, The Library of Congress acquired Mingus's collected papers—including scores, sound recordings and photos—in what they described as "the most important acquisition of a manuscript collection relating to jazz in the Library's history". Charles Mingus was born in Arizona, his father, Charles Mingus Sr. was a sergeant in the U. S. Army. Mingus was raised in the Watts area of Los Angeles.
His maternal grandfather was a Chinese British subject from Hong Kong, his maternal grandmother was an African-American from the southern United States. Mingus was the third great-grandson of the family's founding patriarch who was, by most accounts, a German immigrant, his ancestors included German American, African American, Native American. In Mingus's autobiography Beneath the Underdog his mother was described as "the daughter of an Englishman and a Chinese woman", his father was the son "of a black farm worker and a Swedish woman". Charles Mingus Sr. claims to have been raised by his mother and her husband as a white person until he was fourteen, when his mother revealed to her family that the child's true father was a black slave, after which he had to run away from his family and live on his own. The autobiography doesn't confirm whether Charles Mingus Sr. or Mingus himself believed this story was true, or whether it was an embellished version of the Mingus family's lineage. His mother allowed only church-related music in their home, but Mingus developed an early love for other music Duke Ellington.
He studied trombone, cello, although he was unable to follow the cello professionally because, at the time, it was nearly impossible for a black musician to make a career of classical music, the cello was not yet accepted as a jazz instrument. Despite this, Mingus was still attached to the cello. In Beneath the Underdog, Mingus states that he did not start learning bass until Buddy Collette accepted him into his swing band under the stipulation that he be the band's bass player. Due to a poor education, the young Mingus could not read musical notation enough to join the local youth orchestra; this had a serious impact on his early musical experiences, leaving him feeling ostracized from the classical music world. These early experiences, in addition to his lifelong confrontations with racism, were reflected in his music, which focused on themes of racism and justice. Much of the cello technique he learned was applicable to double bass when he took up the instrument in high school, he studied for five years with Herman Reinshagen, principal bassist of the New York Philharmonic, compositional techniques with Lloyd Reese.
Throughout much of his career, he played a bass made in 1927 by the German maker Ernst Heinrich Roth. Beginning in his teen years, Mingus was writing quite advanced pieces. A number of them were recorded in 1960 with conductor Gunther Schuller, released as Pre-Bird, referring to Charlie "Bird" Parker. Mingus gained a reputation as a bass prodigy, his first major professional job was playing with former Ellington clarinetist Barney Bigard. He toured with Louis Armstrong in 1943, by early 1945 was recording in Los Angeles in a band led by Russell Jacquet, which included Teddy Edwards, Maurice Simon, Bill Davis, Chico Hamilton, in May that year, in Hollywood, again with Teddy Edwards, in a band led by Howard McGhee, he played with Lionel Hampton's band in the late 1940s. A popular trio of Mingus, Red Norvo and Tal Farlow in 1950 and 1951 received considerable acclaim, but Mingus's race caused problems with club owners and he left the group. Mingus was a member of Ellington's band in 1953, as a substitute for bassist Wendell Marshall.
Mingus's notorious temper led to his being one of the few musicians fired by Ellington, after an on-stage fight between Mingus and Juan Tizol. In the early 1950s, before attaining commercial recognition as a bandleader, Mingus played gigs with Charlie Parker, whose compositions and improvisations inspired and influenced him. Mingus considered Parker the greatest genius and innovator in jazz history, but he had a love-hate relationship with Parker's legacy. Mingus blamed the Parker mythology for a derivative crop of pretenders to Parker's throne, he was conflicted and sometimes disgusted by Parker's self-destructive habits and the romanticized lure of drug addiction they offered to other jazz musicians. In response to the many sax players who imitated Parker, Mingus titled a song, "If Charlie Parker were a Gunslinger, There'd be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats". Mingus was married four tim
Jazz fusion is a musical genre that developed in the late 1960s when musicians combined jazz harmony and improvisation with rock music and rhythm and blues. Electric guitars and keyboards that were popular in rock and roll started to be used by jazz musicians those who had grown up listening to rock and roll. Jazz fusion arrangements vary in complexity; some employ groove-based vamps fixed to a single key or a single chord with a simple, repeated melody. Others use elaborate chord progressions, unconventional time signatures, or melodies with counter-melodies; these arrangements, whether simple or complex include improvised sections that can vary in length, much like in other form of jazz. As with jazz, jazz fusion employs brass and woodwind instruments such as trumpet and saxophone, but other instruments substitute for these. A jazz fusion band is less to use piano, double bass, drums, more to use electric guitar, bass guitar, drums; the term "jazz rock" is sometimes used as a synonym for "jazz fusion" and for music performed by late 1960s and 1970s-era rock bands that added jazz elements to their music.
After a decade of popularity during the 1970s, fusion expanded its improvisatory and experimental approaches through the 1980s in parallel with the development of a radio-friendly style called smooth jazz. Experimentation continued in the 2000s. Fusion albums those that are made by the same group or artist, may include a variety of musical styles. Rather than being a codified musical style, fusion can be viewed as approach. In 1967 John Coltrane died, because rock was the most popular genre of music in America, DownBeat magazine declared in a headline that "Jazz as We Know It Is Dead". Guitarist Larry Coryell, sometimes called the godfather of fusion, referred to a generation of musicians who had grown up on rock and roll when he said, "We loved Miles but we loved the Rolling Stones." In 1966 he started the band the Free Spirits with Bob Moses on drums and recorded the band's first album. Out of Sight and Sound was released in 1967, the same year DownBeat began to report on rock music. After the Free Spirits, Coryell was part of a quartet led by vibraphonist Gary Burton, releasing the album Duster with its rock guitar influence.
Burton produced the album Tomorrow Never Knows for Count's Rock Band, which included Coryell, Mike Nock, Steve Marcus, all of them former students at Berklee College in Boston. The pioneers of fusion emphasized exploration, electricity, intensity and volume. Charles Lloyd played a combination of rock and jazz at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1966 with a quartet that included Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette. Lloyd adopted the trappings of the California psychedelic rock scene by playing at the rock venue the Fillmore, wearing colorful clothes, giving his albums titles like Dream Weaver and Forest Flower, which were bestselling jazz albums in 1967. Flautist Jeremy Steig experimented with jazz in his band Jeremy & the Satyrs with vibraphonist Mike Mainieri; the jazz label Verve released the first album by rock guitarist Frank Zappa in 1966. Rahsaan Roland Kirk performed with Jimi Hendrix at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London. AllMusic states that "until around 1967, the worlds of jazz and rock were nearly separate".
As members of Miles Davis's band, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock played electric piano on Filles de Kilimanjaro. Davis wrote in his autobiography that in 1968 he had been listening to Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone; when Davis recorded Bitches Brew in 1969, he abandoned the swing beat in favor of a rock and roll backbeat and bass guitar grooves. The album "mixed free jazz blowing by a large ensemble with electronic keyboards and guitar, plus a dense mix of percussion." Davis played his trumpet like an electric guitar -- pedals. By the end of the first year, Bitches Brew sold 400,000 copies, four times the average for a Miles Davis album. Over the next two years the aloof Davis recorded more worked with many sideman, appeared on television, performed at rock venues. Just as Davis tested the loyalty of rock fans by continuing to experiment, his producer, Teo Macero, inserted recorded material into the Jack Johnson soundtrack, Live-Evil, On the Corner. Although Bitches Brew gave him a gold record, the use of electric instruments and rock beats created consternation among some jazz critics, who accused Davis of betraying the essence of jazz.
Music critic Kevin Fellezs commented that some members of the jazz community regarded rock music as less sophisticated and more commercial than jazz. Davis's 1969 album In a Silent Way is considered his first fusion album. Composed of two side-long improvised suites edited by Teo Macero, the album was made by pioneers of jazz fusion: Corea, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, John McLaughlin. A Tribute to Jack Johnson has been cited as "the purest electric jazz record made" and "one of the most remarkable jazz rock discs of the era". According to music journalist Zaid Mudhaffer, the term "jazz fusion" was coined in a review of Song of Innocence by David Axelrod when it was released in 1968. Axelrod said. Miles Davis dropped out of music in 1975 because of problems with drugs and alcohol, but his sidemen took advantage of the creative and financial vistas, opened. Herbie Hancock brought elements of funk and electronic music into commercially successful albums such as Head Hunters and Feets, Don't Fail Me Now.
Several years after recording Miles in the Sky with Davis, guitarist George Benson becam
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than fifty years. Born in Washington, D. C. Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward and gained a national profile through his orchestra's appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem. In the 1930s, his orchestra toured in Europe. Although considered to have been a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington embraced the phrase "beyond category" as a liberating principle and referred to his music as part of the more general category of American Music rather than to a musical genre such as jazz; some of the jazz musicians who were members of Ellington's orchestra, such as saxophonist Johnny Hodges, are considered to be among the best players in the idiom. Ellington melded them into the best-known orchestral unit in the history of jazz; some members stayed with the orchestra for several decades. A master at writing miniatures for the three-minute 78 rpm recording format, Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions.
Ellington recorded songs written by his bandsmen, for example Juan Tizol's "Caravan", "Perdido", which brought a Spanish tinge to big band jazz. In the early 1940s, Ellington began a nearly thirty-year collaboration with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his writing and arranging companion. With Strayhorn, he composed many extended compositions, or suites, as well as additional short pieces. Following an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, in July 1956, Ellington and his orchestra enjoyed a major revival and embarked on world tours. Ellington recorded for most American record companies of his era, performed in several films, scored several, composed a handful of stage musicals. Ellington was noted for his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, for his eloquence and charisma, his reputation continued to rise after he died, he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize Special Award for music in 1999. Ellington was born on April 29, 1899, to James Edward Ellington and Daisy Ellington in Washington, D.
C. Both his parents were pianists. Daisy played parlor songs and James preferred operatic arias, they lived with his maternal grandparents at 2129 Ida Place, NW, in the West End neighborhood of Washington, D. C. Duke's father was born in Lincolnton, North Carolina, on April 15, 1879, moved to Washington, D. C. in 1886 with his parents. Daisy Kennedy was born in Washington, D. C. on January 4, 1879, the daughter of a former American slave. James Ellington made blueprints for the United States Navy; when Ellington was a child, his family showed racial pride and support in their home, as did many other families. African Americans in D. C. worked to protect their children from the era's Jim Crow laws. At the age of seven, Ellington began taking piano lessons from Marietta Clinkscales. Daisy surrounded her son with dignified women to reinforce his manners and teach him to live elegantly. Ellington's childhood friends noticed that his casual, offhand manner, his easy grace, his dapper dress gave him the bearing of a young nobleman, began calling him "Duke."
Ellington credited his friend Edgar McEntree for the nickname. "I think he felt that in order for me to be eligible for his constant companionship, I should have a title. So he called me Duke."Though Ellington took piano lessons, he was more interested in baseball. "President Roosevelt would come by on his horse sometimes, stop and watch us play", he recalled. Ellington went to Armstrong Technical High School in Washington, D. C, he gained his first job selling peanuts at Washington Senators baseball games. In the summer of 1914, while working as a soda jerk at the Poodle Dog Café, Ellington wrote his first composition, "Soda Fountain Rag", he created the piece by ear, as he had not yet learned to write music. "I would play the'Soda Fountain Rag' as a one-step, two-step, waltz and fox trot", Ellington recalled. "Listeners never knew. I was established as having my own repertoire." In his autobiography, Music is my Mistress, Ellington wrote that he missed more lessons than he attended, feeling at the time that playing the piano was not his talent.
Ellington started sneaking into Frank Holiday's Poolroom at the age of fourteen. Hearing the poolroom pianists play ignited Ellington's love for the instrument, he began to take his piano studies seriously. Among the many piano players he listened to were Doc Perry, Lester Dishman, Louis Brown, Turner Layton, Gertie Wells, Clarence Bowser, Sticky Mack, Blind Johnny, Cliff Jackson, Claude Hopkins, Phil Wurd, Caroline Thornton, Luckey Roberts, Eubie Blake, Joe Rochester, Harvey Brooks. Ellington began listening to, imitating ragtime pianists, not only in Washington, D. C. but in Philadelphia and Atlantic City, where he vacationed with his mother during the summer months. He would sometimes hear strange music played by those who could not afford much sheet music, so for variations, they played the sheets upside down. Henry Lee Grant, a Dunbar High School music teacher, gave him private lessons in harmony. With the additional guidance of Washington pianist and band leader Oliver "Doc" Perry, Ellington learned to read sheet music, project a professional style, improve his technique.
Ellington was inspired by his first encounters with stride pianists James P. Johnson and Luckey Roberts. In New York he took advice from Will Marion Cook, Fats Waller, Sidney Bechet. Ellington started to play gigs in cafés and clubs in and aro
Fred Astaire was an American dancer, actor and television presenter. He is regarded as the most influential dancer in the history of film, his stage and subsequent film and television careers spanned a total of 76 years, during which he starred in more than 10 Broadway and London musicals, made 31 musical films, 4 television specials, issued numerous recordings. As a dancer, he is best remembered for his uncanny sense of rhythm, his perfectionism, his innovation, as the dancing partner and on-screen romantic interest of Ginger Rogers, with whom he co-starred in a series of ten Hollywood musicals. Astaire was named by the American Film Institute as the fifth greatest male star of Classic Hollywood cinema in 100 Years... 100 Stars. Gene Kelly, another renowned star of filmed dance, said that "the history of dance on film begins with Astaire." He asserted that Astaire was "the only one of today's dancers who will be remembered." Beyond film and television, many dancers and choreographers, including Rudolf Nureyev, Sammy Davis Jr. Michael Jackson, Gregory Hines, Mikhail Baryshnikov, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Madhuri Dixit and Bob Fosse, who called Astaire his "idol" acknowledged his influence.
Fred Astaire was born Frederick Emanuel Austerlitz on May 10, 1899 in Omaha, the son of Johanna "Ann" and Frederic "Fritz" Austerlitz. Astaire's mother was born in the United States, to Lutheran German emigrants from East Prussia and Alsace. Astaire's father was born in Linz, Austria, to Jewish parents who had converted to Roman Catholicism. Astaire's father, "Fritz" Austerlitz, arrived in New York City at the age of 25 on October 26, 1893, at Ellis Island.'"Fritz" was hoping to find work in the brewing trade and moved to Omaha, where he landed a job with the Storz Brewing Company. Astaire's mother dreamed of escaping Omaha by virtue of her children's talents, after Astaire's sister, Adele Astaire, revealed herself to be an instinctive dancer and singer early on in her childhood. Johanna planned a "brother and sister act", common in vaudeville at the time, for her two children. Although Fred refused dance lessons at first, he mimicked his older sister's steps and took up piano and clarinet; when their father lost his job, the family moved to New York City in 1905 to launch the show business career of the children who began training at the Alviene Master School of the Theatre and Academy of Cultural Arts.
Despite Adele and Fred's teasing rivalry, they acknowledged their individual strengths, his durability and her greater talent. Fred and Adele's mother suggested they change their name to "Astaire," as she felt "Austerlitz" was reminiscent of the Battle of Austerlitz. Family legend attributes the name to an uncle surnamed "L'Astaire." They were taught dance and singing in preparation for developing an act. Their first act was called Juvenile Artists Presenting an Electric Musical Toe-Dancing Novelty. Fred wore a top hat and tails in a lobster outfit in the second. In an interview, Astaire's daughter, Ava Astaire McKenzie, observed that they put Fred in a top hat to make him look taller; the goofy act debuted in Keyport, New Jersey, in a "tryout theater." The local paper wrote, "the Astaires are the greatest child act in vaudeville."As a result of their father's salesmanship and Adele landed a major contract and played the famed Orpheum Circuit in the Midwest and some Southern cities in the United States.
Soon Adele grew to at least three inches taller than Fred and the pair began to look incongruous. The family decided to take a two-year break from show business to let time take its course and to avoid trouble from the Gerry Society and the child labor laws of the time. In 1912, Fred became an Episcopalian; the career of the Astaire siblings resumed with mixed fortunes, though with increasing skill and polish, as they began to incorporate tap dancing into their routines. Astaire's dancing was inspired by John "Bubbles" Sublett. From vaudeville dancer Aurelio Coccia, they learned the tango and other ballroom dances popularized by Vernon and Irene Castle; some sources state that the Astaire siblings appeared in a 1915 film titled Fanchon, the Cricket, starring Mary Pickford, but the Astaires have denied this. By age 14, Fred had taken on the musical responsibilities for their act, he first met George Gershwin, working as a song plugger for Jerome H. Remick's music publishing company, in 1916. Fred had been hunting for new music and dance ideas.
Their chance meeting was to affect the careers of both artists. Astaire was always on the lookout for new steps on the circuit and was starting to demonstrate his ceaseless quest for novelty and perfection; the Astaires broke into Broadway in 1917 with Over the Top, a patriotic revue, performed for U. S. and Allied troops at this time as well. The Astaires followed up with several more shows, of their work in "The Passing Show of 1918," Heywood Broun wrote: "In an evening in which there was an abundance of good dancing, Fred Astaire stood out... He and his partner, Adele Astaire, made the show pause early in the evening with a beautiful loose-limbed dance."By this time, Astaire's dancing skill was beginning to outshine his sister's, though she still set the tone of their act and her sparkle and humor drew much of the attention, owing in part to Fred's careful preparation and strong supporting choreography. During the 1920s, Fred and Adele appeared on Broadway and on the London stage in shows such as Jerome Kern's The Bunch and Judy and Ira Gershwin's Lady, Be Good, Funny Face and later