A 22-Cent commemorative stamp honoring Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was issued April 29, 1986, in New York City. It was the ninth stamp of the Performing Arts Series. Music critics called Duke Ellington "the master." Jazz critic and historian Ralph J. Gleason said he was "the greatest composer this American society has produced . . . a master musician, master psychologist, master choreographer."
Ellington has been credited with creating the single most durable body of original jazz compositions in the history of music. He brought listening and dancing pleasure to millions with compositions such as "Satin Doll" and "Mood Indigo." The Ellington band's five-year association with Harlem's The Cotton Club and its national, nightly broadcasts brought the band widespread fame.
Jim Sharpe of Westport, Connecticut, designed the stamp, which features a profile of Duke Ellington superimposed over the partial image of a piano keyboard. The stamps were printed in the photogravure process by the American Bank Note Company, with panes of fifty.
Postal Bulletin (March 27, 1986).