"Fate is being kind to me. Fate doesn't want me to be too famous too young." - Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington is one of the United States' most important musicians and is regarded today as a jazz legend. This reputation is more than earned, with Ellington making great strides in defining jazz music as we know it today. Ellington himself embraced the phrase "beyond category" when it came to defining exactly what kind of musician he was, and indeed, he was in a league of his own. Duke composed and recorded over a thousand songs or "shorts" for the roughly three minute duration of the 78 rpm recording format common at the time. Many of these compositions have become jazz standards, and many of the members of Ellington's jazz orchestra went on to become big names in the jazz scene.