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Announcing NDESOR 1994

One of the surprises on the last day of Ellington ’94 was a presentation by Luciano Massagli and Giovanni Volonté of what was to become NDESOR – the totally indispensable tool for any serious Ellington collector.

They were not in the original program but asked for a slot only a couple of weeks before the conference and – of course -the organizers was happy to give them one.

So the last day of the conference started started a little bit earlier than originally scheduled to accomodate their half an hour presentation.

As can be seen and heard in the video below, Massagli talked about what NDESOR would be like and  Volonté presented the just published book ”Duke Ellington : un genio, un mito”, which he had written together with Antonio Berini.


A 12 page handout about the 740 page book was provided to the conference participants. It gives an overview of the chapters of the book plus the foreword by Leonard Feather and the introduction by the authors. It is available in the Ellington Archive.


DR Ellington Broadcasts (22)

The second ”goodie” for March is program 22 in the Duke Ellington series broadcasted by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. The broadcast is available in the ”Goodies” section of the website.


The program was broadcasted on June 21, 1985 and the announcer is once again Bjarne Busk

The program brings the listeners some good sessions from mid-1967 and early 1956. However, it starts with a selection from June 6, 1962. It is the next to last performance of H’ya Sue in Ellington’s discography. Three takes were recorded that day and in the broadcast the second take is played. A month later (or July 8 to be exact), Ellington played it for the last time. It was at the 1962 edition of the the Newport Jazz Festival.

Next, Bjarne Busk turns to the ”stockpile” recording session of July 11, 1967 and features the four songs recorded on this occasion – Rondolet, Mich (or Acht O’Clock Rock), Lady and Lele. It is really a ”rock” session”, as Busk says in the program.

After this, the broadcast continues with what is often called ”The Pentape Session” on March 18, 1956. Busk plays two of the songs – Where’s the Music and Play the Blues and Go Home – recorded by a small group from the the band on that day .

The website wrote about the ”Pentape Session” session on June 16 last year (https://ellington.se/2016/06/16/pentape-originals/).

The program ends with two selections from the ”stockpile session” of January 3, 1956. First, Willie Cook solos in Tea for Two in a way quite similar to what he played at the Newport Jazz Festival half a year later.

Then comes a 11 minute long untitled blues, which ends the program. It is called ”Long Time Blues” in the discographies.




The Duke at The Hollywood Empire in 1949 (2) with Billie Holiday

Duke & Billie

Duke & Billie around 1949

Our next visit to the Empire Hotel in Hollywood brings you music from February 9, 1949, originally issued on AFRS JJ-47 (AFRS=Armed Forces Radio Service). It has not been issued commercially, but one of the numbers, The Tattooed Bride, appears on an LP record presented at the Ellington-90 conference. Our source tape also includes two numbers sung by Billie Holliday, but it is not known whether this was part of the original broadcast material or if the Holiday songs were inserted for a re-broadcast. Be that as it may, it is always a pleasure to listen to her singing.

Billie sings Miss Brown To You

Members will find the complete recording from this occasion in the Goodies Room, the sound quality being acceptable, and hopefully the contents is of interest. (mer…)

Ellington-serie på Sveriges Radio 1994 (5)

Den här gången är det dags för det femte programmet i Jan Bruérs och Lars Westins serie om Duke Ellington.

Titeln på programmet är ”Lush Life” och det handlar naturligtvis om Billy Strayhorn. Det sändes första gången den 7 mars 1994.

Jan och Lars skissar hans karriär och utveckling med många exempel och gör programmet till en perfekt introduktion till Strayhorn.

Liksom de föregåendet programmen i serien finns det tillgängligt för DESS-medlemmar i radiodelen av Elllington-arkivet.

Ellington ’89 in Washington D.C.

In mid-October last year, the DESS website presented the first Ellington Study Group Conference, which took place in Washington D.C. in May 1983.

Six years later the conference was back in Washington D.C. – this time on the occasion of Ellington’s 90th birthday.

At the end of this month. we will publish some articles about the conference. We have quite a lot of video tapes with presentations as a basis for this, but we are still looking for photos, personal memories etc, to give a more full picture. Please contact the web editor if you have material to contribute.

However, to give you a taste of the conference, we already publish today some excerpts from the conference proceedings.

Herb Jeffries was one of the invited guest to perform at the conference and tell about his time with Ellington. He got a very special honor.


On two nights of the conference,  Doug Richard’s and his Great American Music Ensemble presented Ellington’s music from the 1920’s to the 1950’s.


One of the presenter’s the last day was Sjef Hoefsmit and his lecture on ”Ellington’s Trains” should not be missed.



Duke at The Hollywood Empire in 1949


The 1949 band

Harlem Air Shaft

Due to the 1948 recording ban in USA, there is not much of recorded material by Ellington and his orchestra from 1948. In fact, Ellington did not go into a recording studio until September 1, 1949.

Fortunately, some concerts and broadcasts have survived allowing us to hear how the Ellington band sounded in 1948 and early 1949.

In late November 1948, the band played at the Click Restaurant in Philadelphia and material from six different NBC broadcasts from there has survived.

At the end of January 1949, Ellington started to tour the West Coast where he had a three-week engagement from February 1 at The Hollywood Empire located at 1539 Vine Street in Hollywood.

Gene Norman, well-known disc-jockey and impresario, had opened it in December 1948. One reason seems to have been that “the Woody Herman band had no place to work”. Herman was followed by Billy Eckstine at the club

The Hollywood Empire was in an area that in the 1930s and 1940s was known as Radio City due to all the radio studios and radio-themed bars and restaurants located there.


During Ellington’s stay at The Hollywood Empire, American Field Radio Service (AFRS) recorded nine  broadcasts from club. Some of them were aired in the Jubilee series and others in the Just Jazz series.

In the Ellington discographies, three of broadcasts have specific recording dates while the others are identified as having been recorded in February. Seven of the broadcasts were originally  issued on AFRS records but two have remained unissued. Approximately 50% of the surviving material has been issued commercially, albeit on rather unusual labels.

This time, DESS members is given the opportunity to listen to one of the unissued broadcasts in the Goodies section of the website.

It is the one identified as DE4909 in NDESOR. (Since the main part  of these broadcasts were dated February 1949, the NDESOR number is a perhaps the best way to distinguish them from each other).


DESS-mötet den 12 feb. 2018

Här kommer en kort rapport från mötet baserad på uppgifter från några av deltagarna och med foton tagna av Bo Haufman och Sonja Svensson. Sonja har också bidragit med en video.

Årsmötet var snabbt avklarat under Håkan Skytts och Lars Björkmans säkra ledning. Anders Asplund, Lars Björkman och Göran Wallén valdes om till styrelsen för en period av 2 år och Leif Jönsson, Claes Brodda, Bo Haufman, och Peter Lee har ytterligare ett år kvar på sina mandat.

Sedan var det dags för kvällens föredragshållare Peter Lee – styrelseledamot i DESS, golfentusiast och mycket annat. Han talade om Wynton Marsalis, hans Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra och deras insatser för att hålla lågan efter Duke Ellington vid liv. Ett formidabelt och intressant föredrag enligt de närvarande!

Efter pausen bjöd DESS de närvarande på  ”superb musik” exekverad av två av Sveriges förnämsta musiker, Fredrik Lindborg  (barytonsax, sopransax och basklarinett) och Martin Sjöstedt (piano/bas), berättar DESS’ ordförande, Leif Jönsson, för webbplatsen.

Publiken fick sig till livs ett rent Ellingtonprogram med bl.a. Sunset and Mockingbird, In a Mellowtone,, Rubber Bottom, Blues in Blueprint och I’ve Got It Bad.

Att höra Fredrik Lindborg på ett så sällan hört instrument som basklarinett var en upplevelse”, säger Leif Jönsson.

Den använde Lindborg bl.a. i kvällens avslutningsnummer, Mood Indigo, som han anser tillhör ”världens vackraste musik”. Martin Sjöstedt ackompanjerade honom lyhört på sin bas.

Duon skiftade flitigt mellan sina olika instrument för att ge publiken prov på olika klanger i sina tolkningar.

Thomas Harne berättar mer om musiken och om kvällen i övrigt i nästa nummer av Bulletinen.

Tyvärr var publik fåtalig också den här gången.

Så en huvudpunkt på nästa möte den 7 maj blir en diskussion om DESS’ mötesverksamhet och hur få fler besökare på mötena, avslutar Leif Jönsson vår korta intervju av honom.

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