Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was a prolific American jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader. Based in New York City from the 1920s, he gained fame through his orchestra's performances at the Cotton Club. With over a thousand compositions, his work is a cornerstone of jazz history. Notable for his miniatures on 78 rpm records, he also crafted extended compositions in collaboration with Billy Strayhorn. Ellington's orchestra reached creative heights in the late 1930s with musicians like Ben Webster and Jimmy Blanton. An iconic figure, his "beyond category" approach transcended genre, earning him the Pulitzer Prize Special Award and a lasting legacy.