Day of Remembrance for victims of Chemical Warfare

The Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare takes place annually on April 29 as a “tribute to the victims of chemical warfare, as well as to reaffirm the commitment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to the elimination of the threat of chemical weapons, thereby promoting the goals of peace, security, and multilateralism.” April 29 was chosen as the date for the event’s celebration because the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force 29 April 1997. It is officially recognised by the United Nations (UN) and has been celebrated since 2005. On the 2013 observance day, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Urged the international community to intensify efforts to rid the world of chemical weapons, along with all other weapons of mass destruction and also urged them to work together to bring all States under the Convention and promote its full implementation to honour past victims and liberate future generations from the threat of chemical weapons.

In 2005, during the last day of the United Nations’ Tenth Session of the Conference of the State Parties, the members of the UN officially recognised the Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare, following a suggestion by Rogelio Pfirter, Director-General of the Secretariat and proposed the erection of a monument at the Hague commemorating all victims of chemical warfare

Although the majority of the world has either given up or destroyed their stockpiles of chemical weapons as of 2013, several nations have yet to do so. Five of these, Angola, Burma, Egypt, Israel, and North Korea, have not ratified the Convention and are suspected to possess chemical weapons. Syria is also known to possess a sizeable stockpile and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted this in his 2013 speech, condemning the nation for its alleged exploitation of chemical weapons in its ongoing civil war. On September 14, 2013 the United States and Russia announced in Geneva that they reached a deal whereby Syria would ratify the treaty and give up its chemical weapons. The Syrian government has been cooperating and as of November 2013, all but one of Syria’s 23 publicly declared chemical weapon sites have been visited by international inspectors that are dismantling the Syrian chemical weapons program.

  • More International and National Events and Holidays happening on April 29
  • National Hairball Awareness Day – 2016
  • Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare
  • International Dance Day
  • National Arbor Day
  • National Peace Rose Day
  • National Shrimp Scampi Day
  • Viral Video Day
  • World Wish Day
  • Zipper Day

Zipper day commemorates the anniversary of the date of 29 April 1913 when Gideon Sundback patented a “hookless fastener,” which became the first widely marketed zipper.

International Dance Day

International Dance Day is celebrated annually, on April 29. It was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Council (CID, Conseil International de la Danse), a UNESCO partner NGO. The date is not linked to a particular person or a particular form of dance, although it’s also the day when the French dancer and ballet master Jean-Georges Noverre was born. The main purpose of Dance Day events is to attract the attention of the wider public to the art of dance, which being a part of every culture, constitutes the ideal means for bringing together people from different countries and to address people who do not follow dance events. The president of the International Dance Council also sends the official message for Dance Day to every country around the world and it is posted at the official website for Dance Day.

The International Dance Council considers  dance to be an integral part of human culture, however it is less prioritized by official establishments in the world. Professor Alkis Raftis, president of the International Dance Council, said in his 2003 Dance Day Message that In more than half of the 200 countries in the world, dance does not appear in legal texts and There are no funds allocated in the state budget to support this art form.

The focus of Dance Day for 2005 was on primary education. International Dance Council urged dance establishments to contact the Ministries of Education with the proposals to celebrate this day at all schools with writing essays about dance, drawing dance pictures, dancing in the streets, etc. The 2006 message addressed the reluctance of dancers to join collective organizations, expresses an opinion that this is a major reason of the lack of the due recognition (legislation, financing, visibility) of dance in society, and calls: “Dancers of the world, unite!” The 2007 Dance Day was dedicated to children. Many Individual Dancers struggle to approach Government, Sponsors and the media and often achieve poor results, so in 2008, Alkis Raftis circulated an e-mail aimed at Governments (national, regional or local), sponsors (private or public) and the media (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV) stating that they are the three most important factors affecting the practice of Dance and proposed a better way to advertise dance through CID Sections representing all forms of dance, all levels, all functions”

The United Nations proclaimed 2010 as International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures and designated UNESCO as lead agency, having regard to its experience of more than 60 years in advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples. The new Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, proposed a universal vision, which she called the “new humanism” – a vision open to the entire human community, providing a humanist response to globalization and crisis, aiming at the safeguarding of social cohesion and the preservation of peace. Dance Festivals also promote reciprocal knowledge and respect of diversity in the most lively manner.

Teachers offering classes in foreign countries provide immediate bridges of understanding ingrained into the bodies of dancers; there are tens of thousands of dance teachers crossing national borders yearly. Many people also attend dance festivals yearly Congresses and open conferences also provide opportunities to showcase one’s work to an audience of peers; there are dozens of international meetings of dance researchers, historians and critics in any given year. Attending festivals, classes or conferences and watching a dance from a foreign country is another way to vividly illustrate cultural diversity, Also In 2014, a flashmob of around 50 classical dancers also got together to perform.

Alfred Hitchcock

Often “referred to as the “Master of Suspense”, the Prolific British film director and Producer, Alfred Hitchcock KBE, Alfred Hitchcock sadly passed away 29 April 1980. He was born 13 August 1899 in Leytonstone, London and He pioneered many elements of the suspense and psychological thriller genres during a career which spanned more than half a century, Having a successful career with both silent films and early talkies and he became renowned as England’s best director.

During his career Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films, many of them psychological thrillers such as North by Northwest, the man who knew too much, Pshycho, Marnie, Rear Window, Rebecca, Jamaica inn, Notorious, Rope, The Birds and, Vertigo. Gradually Hitchcock became a highly visible public figure through interviews, movie trailers, cameo appearances in his own films, And he also hosted the television programme Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1965) and Created a recognisable directorial style. Hitchcock’s stylistic trademarks include the use of camera movement that mimics a person’s gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. In addition, he framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative forms of film editing. His work often features fugitives on the run alongside “icy blonde” female characters.

Hitchcock also developed many pioneering techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres during which he created a distinctive and recognisable directorial style. He pioneered the use of a camera made to move in a way that mimics a person’s gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. He framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative film editing. His stories frequently feature fugitives on the run from the law alongside “icy blonde” female characters. Many of Hitchcock’s films have twist endings and thrilling plots featuring depictions of violence, murder, and crime, although many of the mysteries function as decoys meant only to serve thematic elements in the film and the extremely complex psychological examinations of the characters. Hitchcock’s films also borrow many themes from psychoanalysis and feature strong sexual undertones. Through his cameo appearances in his own films, interviews, film trailers, and the television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he became a cultural icon.

He has left a long lasting legacy in the form of some fantastic films including Rebecca, Notorious, Saboteur, Spellbound, Psycho, Rope, The Birds, North by Northwest, Marnie, Vertigo, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Frenzy. Hitchcock also received his knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II In the 1980 New Year Honours and He also came first in a 2007 poll of film critics in The Daily Telegraph, which said of him: “Unquestionably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from these islands, Hitchcock did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. His flair was for narrative, cruelly withholding crucial information (from his characters and from us) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else.” The magazine MovieMaker also described him as the most influential filmmaker of all time, and he is widely regarded as one of cinema’s most significant artists. Many of his films still remain popular today and are often shown on television.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

The Austrian-born philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, sadly died 29 April 1951. He was born 26th April 1889 and worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language, and was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947. During his lifetime he published just one book review, one article, a children’s dictionary, and the 75-page Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. In 1999 his posthumously published Philosophical Investigations was ranked as the most important book of 20th-century philosophy, standing out as “…the one crossover masterpiece in twentieth-century philosophy, appealing across diverse specializations and philosophical orientations”. He was Born in Vienna into one of Europe’s wealthiest families, he gave away his entire inheritance. Three of his brothers committed suicide, with Ludwig contemplating it too.

He left academia several times: serving as an officer on the frontline during World War I, where he was decorated a number of times for his courage; teaching in schools in remote Austrian villages, where he encountered controversy for hitting children when they made mistakes in mathematics; and working during World War II as a hospital porter in London, where he told patients not to take the drugs they were prescribed, and where no-one knew he was one of the world’s most famous philosophers. He described philosophy, however, as “the only work that gives me real satisfaction.” His philosophy is often divided between his early period, exemplified by the Tractatus, and later period, articulated in the Philosophical Investigations. The early Wittgenstein was concerned with the logical relationship between propositions and the world, and believed that by providing an account of the logic underlying this relationship he had solved all philosophical problems. The later Wittgenstein rejected many of the conclusions of the Tractatus, arguing that the meaning of words is constituted by the function they perform within any given language-game.

Wittgenstein’s influence has been felt in nearly every field of the humanities and social sciences, yet there are widely diverging interpretations of his thought. In the words of his friend and colleague Georg Henrik von Wright: “He was of the opinion… that his ideas were generally misunderstood and distorted even by those who professed to be his disciples. He doubted he would be better understood in the future. He once said he felt as though he were writing for people who would think in a different way, breathe a different air of life, from that of present-day men.” He is buried at the Ascension Parish Burial Ground in Cambridge. his legacy lives on and In 1999 the Investigations was ranked as the most important book of 20th-century philosophy, standing out as “…the one crossover masterpiece in twentieth-century philosophy, appealing across diverse specializations and philosophical orientations”.

Willie Nelson

American musician, singer, songwriter, author, poet, actor, and activist Willie Hugh Nelson was born April 29, 1933 in Abbott, Texas. Nelson wrote his first song at age seven and joined his first band at ten. The Nelsons, who taught singing back in Arkansas, started their grandchildren in music. Nelson’s grandfather bought him a guitar when he was six, and taught him a few chords, and with his sister Bobbie, he sang gospel songs in the local church. He wrote his first song at age seven.

Nelson attended Abbott High School, where he was a halfback on the football team, guard on the basketball team and shortstop in baseball. He also raised pigs for the Future Farmers of America organization. While still at school he sang and played guitar in The Texans, a band formed by his sister’s husband, Bud Fletcher. He also earned money by singing in dance halls, taverns, and honky tonks from age 13, and also played guitar for the local band Bohemian Polka with whom, he toured locally during high school as a singer and guitar player. Nelson’s musical influences were Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell, Ray Price, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Django Reinhardt, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong.

After graduating from high school in 1950, he joined the Air Force but was later discharged due to back problems. After his return, Nelson attended Baylor University for two years. In 1952, he married Martha Matthews, and from 1954 to 1956 studied agriculture at Baylor University. Nelson joined the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, but dropped out to pursue a career in music. He worked as a bouncer for a nightclub, as a partsman in an autohouse, saddle maker and again tree trimmer. He later joined Johnny Bush’s band. Nelson moved with his family to Pleasanton, Texas, where he auditioned for a disc jockey job in KBOP. The owner of the station, Dr. Ben Parker, gave Nelson the job despite his lack of experience working on radio With the equipment of the station, Nelson made his first two recordings in 1955: “The Storm Has Just Begun” and “When I’ve Sung My Last Hillbilly Song”. He recorded the tracks on used tapes, and sent the demos to the local label SARG Records. SARG rejected the recordings.

Nelson then had stints working for KDNT in Denton, Texas, KCUL and KCNC in Fort Worth, Texas, where he hosted The Western Express, taught Sunday school and he played in nightclubs. He then decided to move to San Diego. He was unable to find a job, and decided to go to Portland, Oregon, where his mother lived. Nelson tried to hitchhike, but after nobody picked him up, he slept in a ditch. He then found a nearby railroad yard and boarded a freight train that left him in Eugene. A truck driver then drove Nelson to a bus station and loaned him $10 for a ticket to reach Portland. He also worked as a disc jockey in Texas radio stations and a singer in honky-tonks. In 1956 Nelson moved to Vancouver, Washington, and was hired by KVAN in Vancouver, Washington and appeared frequently on a television show. he wrote “Family Bible” and recorded the song “Lumberjack” in 1956. He released his first record, “No Place For Me”, which included “Lumberjack” on the B-side

After his son Billy was born In 1958, he moved to Houston, Texas, where he signed a contract with D Records. He sang at the Esquire Ballroom weekly and he worked as a disk jockey. In 1960 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, Where he often spent time at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, a bar near the Grand Ole Opry frequented by the show’s stars and other singers and songwriters. There Nelson met Hank Cochran, a songwriter who worked for the publishing company Pamper Music, owned by Ray Price and Hal Smith. Cochran heard Nelson during a jam session with Buddy Emmons and Jimmy Day. He subsequently signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music which allowed him to join Ray Price’s band as a bassist. He also wrote “Funny How Time Slips Away”, “Hello Walls”, “Pretty Paper”, and “Crazy”.
Nelson signed with Liberty Records and was recording by August 1961 at Quonset Hut Studio And released “Willingly” (a duet with his soon-to-be second wife, Shirley Collie, and “Touch Me”. In 1962, he recorded his first album, …And Then I Wrote. Following this success, Nelson signed in 1964 with RCA Victor and joined the Grand Ole Opry the following year. He was one of the main figures of outlaw country, a subgenre of country music that developed in the late 1960s as a reaction to the conservative restrictions of the Nashville sound

Following hits in the late 1960s and the early 1970s, Nelson retired in 1972 and moved to Austin, Texas. The ongoing music scene of Austin motivated Nelson to return from retirement, performing frequently at the Armadillo World Headquarters. In 1973, Nelson turned to outlaw country, And recorded albums such as Shotgun Willie and Phases and Stages in 1974, including “Bloody Mary Morning.” This was a concept album about a couple’s divorce, inspired by his own experience. Side one of the record is from the viewpoint of the woman, and side two is from the viewpoint of the man. he also produced and starred in PBS’ Austin City Limits. In 1975, he switched to Columbia Records, where he recorded the critically acclaimed and popular album Red Headed Stranger, which included a cover of Fred Rose’s 1945 song “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”. In 1975, Willie Nelson collaborated With Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser to record another outlaw country album, Wanted! The Outlaws. Next Nelson released The Sound in Your Mind and his first gospel album Troublemaker. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie (1973), with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger (1975) and Stardust (1978), made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music.

In the summer of 1977, Nelson discovered that Reshen had been filing tax extensions and not paying the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Nelson was arrested. The charges were later dropped, when Reshen’s assistant, Mark Rothbaum stepped in and took the charges. Rothbaum was sentenced to serve time in jail. Impressed by his attitude, Nelson fired Reshen and hired Rothbaum as his manager. In 1978, Nelson released two more platinum albums. One, Waylon & Willie, was a collaboration with Jennings that included “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”, a hit single written and performed by Ed Bruce. Nelson released more hit songs during the late 1970s, including “Good Hearted Woman”, “Remember Me”,”If You’ve Got the Money I’ve Got the Time”, and “Uncloudy Day”.

During the 1980’s, while creating hit albums like Honeysuckle Rose and recording hit songs like “Midnight Rider”, “On the Road Again”, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” (with Julio Iglesias) and “Pancho and Lefty”, with Merle Haggard. To All the Girls I’ve Loved before won three awards during the 25th Annual Grammy Awards: Song of the Year, Best Country Song and Best Male Country Vocal Performance. The single was certified platinum; while Honeysuckle Rose was certified quadruple-platinum, and later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008. Two collaborations with Waylon Jennings were also released; WWII in 1982, and Take it to the Limit,in 1983. He also joined the country supergroup The Highwaymen, along with fellow singers Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson.

Willie Nelson also became more involved with charity work, such as singing on We are the World in 1984. In 1985, Nelson had another success with Half Nelson, a compilation album of duets with Ray Charles and Neil Young. In 1980, Nelson performed on the south lawn of the White House. The concert of September 13 featured First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Nelson in a duet of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother”. Nelson moved to Austin, Texas, where the burgeoning hippie music scene (see Armadillo World Headquarters) rejuvenated the singer. His popularity in Austin soared as he played his own brand of country music marked by country, folk and jazz influences. he performed at the Dripping Springs Reunion, the concept of this festival inspired Nelson to create the Fourth of July Picnic.

In 1990, Nelson’s assets were seized by the Internal Revenue Service, which claimed that he owed US$32 million. The difficulty of paying his outstanding debt was aggravated by weak investments he had made during the 1980s. In 1992, Nelson released The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?; the profits of the double album—destined to the IRS—and the auction of Nelson’s assets cleared his debt. During the 1990s and 2000s, Nelson continued touring extensively, and released albums every year including 1998’s Teatro and performed and recorded with other acts including Phish, Johnny Cash, and Toby Keith on the song, “Beer for My Horses”, which won an award for “Best Video” at the 2004 Academy of Country Music Awards. A USA Network television special celebrated Nelson’s 70th birthday, and Nelson released The Essential Willie Nelson as part of the celebration. Nelson also appeared on Ringo Starr’s 2003 album, Ringo Rama, as a guest vocal on “Write One for Me”.

Nelson was featured on the album True Love by Toots and the Maytals, which won the Grammy Award in 2004 for Best Reggae Album. Which also featured Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Trey Anastasio, Gwen Stefani/No Doubt, Ben Harper, Bonnie Raitt, Manu Chao, the Roots, Ryan Adams, Keith Richards, Toots Hibbert, Paul Douglas, Jackie Jackson, Ken Boothe, and The Skatalites. In 2005, Nelson released a reggae album entitled “Countryman” featuring Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals on the song “I’m a Worried Man”. In 2005 Nelson headlined the Tsunami Relief Austin to Asia concert to benefit the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. A live performance of the Johnny Cash song “Busted” with Ray Charles was released on Charles’ duets album Genius & Friends. In 2007 Willie Nelson performed with jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis at the Lincoln Center, which was released as the live album Two Men with the Blues in 2008, Nelson also recorded the album Moment of Forever.

Nelson also duetted with Kenny Chesney on his album “That Lucky Old Sun”. In 2009 Nelson and Marsalis joined with Norah Jones in a tribute concert to Ray Charles, released as “Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles”. In 2010, Nelson released Country Music, a compilation of standards produced by T-Bone Burnett, which was nominated for Best Americana Album at the 2011 Grammy Awards. In 2011 Nelson participated in the concert Kokua For Japan, a fund raising event for the victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In 2012 Nelson released the album Heroes featuring his sons Lukas and Micah of the band Insects vs Robots, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Billy Joe Shaver and Sheryl Crow. In 2013 he released To All the Girls…, a collection of duets with all female partners, featured among others Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Mavis Staples, Norah Jones, Emmylou Harris, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. In 2014 he released the album Band of Brothers, and duetted with Rhonda Vincent on the song, “Only Me”. He also worked with Haggard Django and Jimmie. In 2017 Nelson released the album God’s Problem Child.

Nelson has also acted in over 30 films. Nelson’s acting debut was in the 1979 film, The Electric Horseman, followed by appearances in Honeysuckle Rose, Thief, and Barbarosa. He played the role of Red Loon in Coming Out of the Ice in 1982 and starred in Songwriter two years later. He portrayed the lead role in the 1986 film version of his album Red Headed Stranger. Other movies that Nelson acted in include Wag the Dog, Gone Fishin’ (as Billy ‘Catch’ Pooler), the 1986 television movie Stagecoach (with Johnny Cash), Half Baked, Beerfest, The Dukes of Hazzard, Surfer, Dude and Swing Vote.He has also made guest appearances on Miami Vice (1986’s “El Viejo” episode), Delta, Nash Bridges, The Simpsons, Monk, Adventures in Wonderland, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, King of the Hill, The Colbert Report, Swing Vote and Space Ghost Coast to Coast. He also makes a cameo appearance in Woody Harrelson’s live film, Lost in London and appeared alongside Merle Haggard in the documentary The American Epic Sessions directed by Bernard MacMahon Performing, “The Only Man Wilder Than Me”,and Bob Wills’ classic “Old Fashioned Love

In 1988 Willie Nelson published his first book, Willie: An Autobiography, was published. The Facts of Life: And Other Dirty Jokes, a personal recollection of tour and musical stories from his career, combined with song lyrics, followed in 2002 In 2005 he co-authored Farm Aid: A Song for America, a commemorative book about the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of Farm Aid. His third book, co-authored with long-time friend Turk Pipkin, The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart, was published in 2006. In 2007 he published a book advocating the use of bio-diesel and the reduction of gas emissions, On The Clean Road Again: Biodiesel and The Future of the Family Farm. His next book, A Tale Out of Luck, was published in 2008 and co-authored by Mike Blakely. In 2012 Nelson released a new autobiography entitled, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road. Which contained further biographical details, as well as family pictures and stories about Nelson’s political views, as well as his advocation for marijuana, plus artwork by his Son Micah. In 2015, a second Nelson autobiography was published entitled It’s a Long Story: My Life co-authored with David Ritz.

In 2002, Nelson became the official spokesman of the Texas Roadhouse, a chain of steakhouses and In 2008, Nelson reopened Willie’s Place, a truck stop in Carl’s Corner, Texas. In 2010, Nelson founded with the collaboration of producers and filmmakers Luck Films, a company dedicated to produce feature films, documentaries and concerts. In 2011 he created Willie’s Roadhouse, as a result of the merger of his two other channels The Roadhouse and Willie’s Place. In 2014 Nelson hosted the thirteen-episode television series Inside Arlyn, shot at Arlyn Studio in Austin, Texas Featuring artists being interviewed by Nelson and Dan Rather, followed by a performance.

Nelson is a major liberal activist and the co-chair of the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), which favours the legalization of marijuana. Following the legalization of marijuana in different states, Nelson announced in 2015 the establishment of his own marijuana brand, Willie’s Reserve. On the environmental front, Nelson owns the bio-diesel brand Willie Nelson Biodiesel, which is made from vegetable oil. Nelson is also the honorary chairman of the Advisory Board of the Texas Music Project, the official music charity of the state of Texas. Nelson has also co-authored several books, and has been involved in activism for the use of biofuels

Duke Ellington

American composer, pianist, and big-band leader Duke Ellington was Born 29th April in 1899. During his life he wrote over 1,000 compositions. In the opinion of Bob Blumenthal of The Boston Globe “In the century since his birth, there has been no greater composer, American or otherwise, than Ellington.” A major figure in the history of jazz, Ellington’s music stretched into various other genres, including blues, gospel, film scores, popular, and classical. His career spanned more than 50 years and included leading his orchestra, composing an inexhaustible songbook, scoring for movies, composing stage musicals, and world tours. Several of his instrumental works were adapted into songs that became standards.

Due to his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and thanks to his eloquence and extraordinary charisma, he is generally considered to have elevated the perception of jazz to an art form on a par with other traditional genres of music. His reputation increased after his death and the Pulitzer Prize Board bestowed on him a special posthumous honor in 1999. 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.

He often composed specifically for the style and skills of these individuals, such as “Jeep’s Blues” for Johnny Hodges, “Concerto for Cootie” for Cootie Williams, which later became “Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me” with Bob Russell’s lyrics, and “The Mooche” for Tricky Sam Nanton and Bubber Miley. He also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, such as Juan Tizol’s “Caravan” and “Perdido” which brought the “Spanish Tinge” to big-band jazz. Several members of the orchestra remained there for several decades. After 1941, he frequently collaborated with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his “writing and arranging companion.” Ellington recorded for many American record companies, and appeared in several films. Ellington led his band from 1923 until his death in 1974. His son Mercer Ellington, who had already been handling all administrative aspects of his father’s business for several decades, led the band until his own death in 1996. At that point, the original band dissolved. Paul Ellington, Mercer’s youngest son and executor of the Duke Ellington estate, kept the Duke Ellington Orchestra going from Mercer’s death onwards