Duke Ellington (1899-1974) was one of New York's most successful bandleaders, resident at Harlem's Cotton Club - a nightspot catering to whites only but featuring the best in black talent Ellington's unique gifts as composer-arranger-pianist were coupled with equally outstanding leadership abilities. From 1927 to 1941, with very few exceptions and occasional additions, his personnel remained unchanged - a record no other bandleader (except Guy Lombardo, of all people) ever matched Ellington's music constitutes a world within the world of Jazz. One of the century's outstanding composers, he wrote over 1,000 short pieces, plus many suites, music for films, the theater and television, religious works and more. He must be ranked one of the century's foremost musicians, regardless of labels. His uninterrupted activity as a bandleader since 1924 has earned him a high place in each successive decade, and his achievement is a history of Jazz in itself "Jazz and freedom," Monk said, "go hand in hand. That explains it. Jazz, a music born in slavery, has become the universal song of freedom Music - it art, reflecting validity in sound art images, one of the forms of public ideology. It’s had powerful force, direct emotional effect. During of all history of mankind music plays a huge social, cultural and educational role.