An underrated but very talented all-round musician, Juan Tizol was an indispensable part of Duke Ellington's Orchestra for 15 years. He was taught music by his uncle, Manuel Tizol, and worked locally with the Municipal Band of San Juan. After moving to the U.S. in 1920, Tizol played in Washington, D.C., with the Marie Lucas Orchestra, and worked with Bobby Lee's Cottonpickers and the White Brothers' Band. After joining Duke Ellington in August 1929, Tizol (who rarely soloed) became an important ensemble player. His fluidity on valve trombone (he was the first significant jazz player on that instrument) allowed him not only to bolster the trombone section but to fill in for absent saxophonists. In addition, Tizol composed "Caravan" and "Perdido," two songs that would always be associated with Ellington.