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Black, Brown and Beige


Duke Ellingtons introduktion till Black, Brown and Beige

Den 23 januari 1943, alltså för i dagarna 75 år sedan, gjorde Duke Ellington och hans orkester sitt första framträdande i New Yorks välkända Carnegie Hall i vad som skulle bli en serie av årliga händelser under 1940-talet. Denna konsert har blivit legendarisk av flera skäl, men det kanske främsta var att här presenterades Ellingtons kanske viktigaste komposition, Black, Brown and Beige, för första gången och i sin helhet.

Den kompletta kompositionen lär har framförts endast tre gånger, förutom vid detta tillfälle också i Boston den 28 januari samt i Cleveland den 20 februari. Konserterna från NYC och Boston finns bevarade, men ljudkvaliteten är inte direkt överväldigande, särskilt inte vad gäller Black.

Någon studioinspelning av det kompletta verket gjordes aldrig, varför det tog många år innan det gick att lyssna på live-inspelningen från Carnegie Hall som utgavs på Prestige 1977. Däremot skapades en svit som likaledes kallades Black, Brown and Beige, och senare gavs ut fyra 78-varvssidor, med utvalt och något omarbetat material jämfört med originalkompositionen. Senare kom Ellington att ”låna” åtskilliga avsnitt ur B, B & B för t. ex. My People, Sacred Concerts etc. och vissa av scenerna i samband med konserter senare under åren. Dessutom gjordes 1965 en studioinspelning av Black som hamnade  i Ellingtons berömda ”stockpile” och sedermera gavs ut på ”The Private Collection” (mer…)

Mercer Ellington with Marian McPartland

For many years, the jazz pianist Marian McPartland – once married to the trumpeter Jimmy McPartland – had a weekly program – ”Piano Jazz” – on National Public Radio in the United States.

In the program she interviewed follow pianists (and sometimes other instrumentalists) and performed music related to them. McPartland stayed with the program for 23 years from 1978 to 2011.


Mercer Ellington was the guest on the program broadcasted on May 21, 1994.

In a relaxed atmosphere, Mercer talks about  Duke Ellington but also Billy Strayhorn and share thoughts with McPartland on their approach to music. In-between, McPartland gives personal interpretations of some of their songs like ”Things Ain’t What They Used to Be”, ”Chelsea Bridge” and ”In My Solitude”.

They also sits down together at the piano to play a version of ”C Jam Blues”.




Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

Next Ellington Study Group Conference

The next Ellington Study Group Conference will take place in Birmingham, England on 25-27 May 2018.

The conference is organized jointly by the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the Birmingham City University in cooperation with DESUK. The main conference venue will be the  Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Details about the conference is in the announcement (attached) in the latest issue of DESUK’s Blue Light.

Member CDs

Maison du Duke has issued a new CD – ”Mingus Chez Duke” – to the benefit of its members. It has 20 tracks from the appearance of the Duke Ellington orchestra at Bandbox in New York Jan. 30-Feb. 9, 1953. To get the CD, one only has to pay the 20 EUR membership fee plus 5 EUR to cover the postage. Follow this link http://maison-du-duke.com/espace-membres/adherer-2/ to learn how to do it.

With the new issue of Blue Light, also DESUK provides its members with a CD. It is a copy of the CD of Hurricane airshots from the Timme Rosenkrantz collection, which Frits Schjøtt put together for the benefit of the participants at the 2016 Ellington conference.

Ellington article

In its August 17, 2017 issue, The New Yorker published an Ellington article by the pianist and composer Ethan Iverson, which is highly recommended for reading.

It is titled ”Duke Ellington, Bill Evans and A Night in New York” and can be found at this link:


It is also available to DESS members in the Ellington Archive.


Ellington-serie på Sveriges Radio 1994 (3)

Så är det dags för tredje programmet i Lars Westins och Jan Bruérs radioserie om Ellington och hans musik.

Den här gången är handlar det om den svängiga delen av Ellingtons musik och programrubriken är följaktligen ”It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing”.

Liksom det föregåendet programmet finns det tillgängligt för DESS-medlemmar i radiodelen av Elllington-arkivet.

Happy New Year, Duke!

Bildresultat för Blue Note

In the 1950’s Duke Ellington and his orchestra visited Blue Note in Chicago many times. In particular, it was his main venue for New Year’s celebrations, and he played there every New Year’s Eve from 1951 to 1959, except for 1954 when he visited Basin Street East in NYC. You are duly invited to listen to the festivities as they sounded on December 31, 1957 and Jan 1, 1958, exactly 60 years ago, and if you are a DESS member you will find parts of two broadcasts in the Goodies Room.

Midnight at the Blue Note Dec. 31, 1957

The orchestra members at this time were as follows: Harold Baker, Willie Cook, Cat Anderson, Clark Terry and Ray Nance on trumpets, Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson and John Sanders on trombones, Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope, Paul Gonsalves and Harry Carney on reeds, Ellington, Jimmy Woode and Sam Woodyard in the rhythm section, Jimmy Grissom and Ozzie Bailey vocals. (mer…)

Stockholm 1994 (7)

This is the last installment of presentations at the conference – at least for now. They are all presentations from its last day.

Thanks to hard work by Patricia Willard and the generosity of Klaus Strateman, the participants got the opportunity to watch the full TV-version of ”A Drum Is Woman”. Unfortunately, because of the copyright issues involved it can not be shared on the website.

However, the showing was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Patricia Willard and you can enjoy it here. The members of the panel were Clark Terry, Willie Cook, Louis Bellson, Joya Sherrill and Jimmy Woode.


After the panel, Joya Sherrill was interviwed by Patricia Willard about her time with Ellington and particularily her participation in ”My People”


The last presentation at the conference was given by Sjef Hoefsmit, who spoke about his love for Duke and Billy Strayhorn and shared some of his films of Ellington’s appearances in Europe.


Given that the Ellington 1994 series on the website has been possibly thanks to Hoefsmit’s shooting of seven videos during the conference, it seems appropriate to it in this was. However, there are  still some more presentations to published and this will be done once we have received permission to do so.

Stockholm 1994 (6)

This time we provide three more presentation from the second day of the conference.

First comes one by Phil Schaap, which was actually not in the original program but added to it at a late stage. Schaap talks about ”Ellington in Rehearsal” and provides a number of nice examples of this.

He starts his presentation be linking back to one he gave at the Ellington ’93 conference and lets the audience listen a very early (and rare) recording with Jimmy Blanton from 1937.


Then John Lewis talks about his memories from his youth years of Ellington’s music. The title of the presentation is ”My Personal Experiences of the Ellington Orchestra during the Blanton Years”.


And finally comes Erik Kjellberg, Professor of Music at the University of Uppsala and a jazz musician. . The topic of his talk was ”Harmonious
Conversation or Brisk Competition?

Russell Procope Plays

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