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From 1917 until his death in 1974, Duke Ellington continued to strive for jazz to become a major genre of 20th century music. This pianist, composer and conductor created one of the most reputable orchestras in the history of jazz. Discoverer of talent, he surrounded himself with the best musicians, themselves sometimes considered musical heavyweights. Ellington composed specifically for some of his musicians taking their strong points into account. To promote his soloists, he organised small group recording sessions where he was just accompanying on the piano. When Ellington died from pneumonia at the age of 75, more than 12,000 people attended his burial. He is still admired today for his determination to want to break from the traditional confines of jazz.
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