Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, and other jazz greats at Gjon Mili’s Studio in New York in 1940… Pictured: The great pianist Mary Lou Williams appears satisfied with the way the night is proceeding, 1942. (Gjon Mili—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Sarah Vaughan plays the piano as Duke Ellington and Billy Eckstine look on, circa 1950. The Newark, NJ-born Ms. Vaughan studied piano as a child and went on to win first prize at the Apollo Theater’s famous Amateur Night competition. Billy Eckstine was in the audience that night and before long, Ms. Vaughan would sing with Mr. Eckstine in his band. Her recording of “The Duke Ellington Songbook, Vol. 1 and 2,” is still unmatched for its beauty and brilliance. Photo by Gilles Pet
Duke Ellington. - ELLINGTON called his music "American Music" rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as "beyond category." These included many of the musicians who were members of his orchestra, some of whom are considered among the best in jazz in their own right, but it was Ellington who melded them into one of the most well-known jazz orchestral units in the history of jazz.
Kay Davis: Singer who worked with Duke Ellington Although she was a classically trained soprano, Kay Davis established her name with the busiest, most famous jazz orchestra of the time, as one of three female singers in the Duke Ellington band. The fact that they were all very talented came first, but Ellington, the great charmer, loved to be in the company of beautiful women.