Born: March 11, 1919 | Died: February 8, 1996 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
Mercer Ellington was born in Washington, D.C., the only child of Duke and Edna Ellington. He received formal music training and eventually led his own band as a trumpet player. Joining his father in Los Angeles in 1940 he began a period of study with the Duke Ellington Orchestra that lasted until he went into the service; this would be Mercer’s most productive period with regard to jazz standards.
In Duke Ellington in Person: An Intimate Memoir, Mercer states,
There is nothing like practical experience, and when the band played arrangements I had written under [Duke’s] supervision, like “Moon Mist,” “Blue Serge,” “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be,” and “The Girl in My Dreams,” it was as instructive as gratifying....
1958: Black and Tan Fantasy
1958: Steppin' into Swing Society
1959: Colors in Rhythm
1984: Hot and Bothered
1987: Digital Duke
(reached number three on the Billboard Top Jazz Album chart)
1989: Music Is My Mistress
1992: Take the Holiday Train
1996: Only God Can Make a Tree
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