So what do jazz and soda pop have in common? Perhaps quite a few things, but today we thought we’d share an interesting story that combines the two - from right here in the nation’s capital.
Born in Washington, D.C., in 1899, jazz legend Duke Ellington began studying piano at the age of 7. With a career that spanned more than 50 years, he composed more than 3,000 songs over his lifetime. Many recognize Ellington tunes such as "It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing" or “Mood Indigo.” But not everyone may know his first composition – “Soda Fountain Rag.”
At the age of 14, Ellington was working as a soda jerk at the Poodle Dog Café on Georgia Avenue. As the story goes, the piano player was occasionally too drunk to play and Ellington’s boss would have him take over as the entertainment. Thus, “Soda Fountain Rag” was born.
Many visitors come to the District to walk the streets of Ellington’s youth, visit the music halls where he performed, or even take in a performance at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. If you’re a fan of jazz and are planning a visit to the nation’s capital, you just may want to take in a refreshing beverage (of which our member companies make a wide array of choices) and take in a Duke Ellington walking tour.