Concerts in Sweden 1963

Kalmar Sporthall Feb. 9 1963


The Kalmar Castle

Duke Ellington’s Nordic tour in February 1963 ended with two concerts in Kalmar in the southeast of Sweden on February 9, The band had arrived in England on January 11 to return to USA on March 15 from Paris. During this time more than 30 concert venues had been visited and also some visits to recording studios. Kalmar was one of the lesser towns on this tour, but there was obviously great local interest in this event. Following is part of an article in the local newspaper Barometern on February 11, 1963.

Kalmar 2

There  were two concerts that evening in Kalmar, and a fair part of the the first has survived and also the opening of the second. Below you’ll find a sound example from the first concert

Jimmy Hamilton in Caliné (Silk Lace)

All the recorded material can be found in the Goodies Room.


Concerts in Sweden 1963

Telecast from Cirkus, Stockholm, Feb. 7 , ”INDIGO”

As was previously pointed out, this telecast was presented on the website on Nov. 24, 2016, but it has not been available for viewing for quite some time. We however want it to come in chronological context with the other Swedish Ellington concerts  we are currently presenting, so here it is again. Just click on start and you will be able to see the full telecast.

In November 2106, we wrote:


This very word makes you think about Duke Ellington’s music.

It has been used in some of his song-titles but in 1963, Swedish Television used this word as a title of a telecast from the famous concert venue in Stockholm, Cirkus. It was to be Alice Babs’ first appearance and collaboration with Duke Ellington and his orchestra.

The telecast was the brain-child of program producer Arne Arnbom, one of the creative and innovative producers at Swedish Television at that time.

He had a strong interest in ballet and jazz and had already produced some program merging them together like “Sax Appeal” from 1960 with music by the pianist/composet Nils Lindberg. Arnbom had also produced TV programs for Swedish Television with the Swe-Danes. Arne Arnbom was also a child-hood friend of Alice Babs.

Towards the end of 1962, Arnbom went to New York to present the project to Duke’s organization. He told them that he wanted to have a Swedish singer included in the program and that this singer should be Alice Babs.

To give a sense of her singing to his Ellington counterparts, he presented them with the LP album “Alice & Wonderband”, which Babs had recorded with Arne Domnérus’ orchestra in mid-1959 and which included three Ellington songs – “Prelude To A Kiss” among them.

The project and Babs were accepted and the program was recorded on February 7, 1963 following Ellington’s concert at the Stockholm Concert Hall the night before. It was broadcasted on April 6, 1963.

“Indigo” is undoubtedly one of the best telecasts with Ellington and his band. Bringing in Alice Babs to sing and adding ballet performances choreograph by the famous Swedish choreographer Birgit Cullberg makes it very special. Arne Arnbom’s direct and almost ascetic pictorial language contributes also a lot to this.

It is a great pleasure to be able to offer our members to share it by viewing it in its totality.


The opening, as well as the concluding theme is Mood Indigo, hence the name of the telecast, Indigo.

Alice Babs takes part in three numbers, Take The ”A” Train, Take Love Easy and Come Sunday and it is obvious that Duke is quite impressed by her performance, a fact that would lead to the famous recording sessions with Duke three weeks later in Paris.

In Take The ”A” Train which is partly dedicated to Babs, we also hear a nice solo by Paul Gonsalves. It is reported that Georg Riedel is responsible for arranging vocal part.

The songs played in the program are mostly from Ellington’s concert repertoire at the time and the list of them gives a strong hint of who the solosists are:

Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me (Lawrence Brown), The Blues (Milt Grayson), The Eighth Veil (Cat Anderson), Star-Crossed Lovers (Johnny Hodges), Sophisticated Lady (Harry Carney), Honeysuckle Rose (Jimmy Hamilton), Take Love Easy (Alice Babs), Dancers In Love (Duke), I Got It Bad (Johnny Hodges), Guitar Amour (Ray Nance), Tootie For Cootie (guess who), Come Sunday (Alice Babs), Boola (Sam Woodyard).

The Royal Opera ballet dancers Marianne Orlando and Conny Borg perform the Birgit Cullberg choreography to the music of Star-Crossed Lovers (Romeo and Juliette) and Willy Sandberg and members of the Royal Opera Ballett the one to Boola.

There are quite some familiar and prominent jazz and Ellington fans in the audience, e.g. Leif Anderson, Olle Helander, Putte Wickman and others.

Be sure to enjoy this video!


Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

New issue of  Blue Light

The 2019-2020 Winter issue of Blue Light was published recently. This time, the journal particularly recognises the passing of clarinetist, saxophonist and orchestra leader Bob Wilber. He died August 4 at his home in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, England at the age of 91.

Elaine Marsh (nee Norsworthy), who was very much involved in the organisation of the Ellington ’85 and ’88 conferences, shares her memories of Wilber from those conferences.

Wilber was the musical director of both conferences and in the ’88 one, he also did a presentation on Johnny Hodges. It was originally published by the DESS’ website on 24 June 2018 but we republished it now in a better resolution.

The new Blue Light has a six and a half page transcription of the presentation and the BL team has also created a Spotify playlist with the music Wilber played in his presentation.

Quite appropriately, the two Bob Wilber articles are  followed by a (rather lukewarm) review of Con Chapman’s biography of Johnny Hodges.

The Winter issue also has the second installment of Roger Boyes’ article Cabin In The Sky, which deals with Ellington’s activities in California ibetween mid-September and mid-October 1942. The first part was published in the Autum 2019 issue of Blue Light. A related article by Roger – Sherman Shuffle – was published in the Summer 2019 issue of Blue Light. It covers Ellington’s stay in Chicago and the Midwest in the summer of 1942.

Radiojazz Køpenhavn

Detta är radiostationen att lyssna på alla dagar i veckan för den verkligt jazzintresserade. Den drivs av en stor skara entusiaster och har ett imponerande programutbud. Den erbjuder djuplodande program om enskilda jazzmusiker eller jazzstilar, jazzkonserter framplockade ur privata arkiv eller inspelade på dagens klubbar och festivaler, nyheter om nyutgivna skivor och mycket annat.

Vid lunchtid varannan lördag låter Bjarne Busk lyssnarna ta del av konserter från 50, 60 och 70-talen – ofta med Ellington). Nästa lördagskonsert sänds den 28 mars.

Sedan en tid tillbaka har Ole Matthiessen en serie om Rudy van Gelder Den 18:e delen av den kan höras den 19 mars kl 22:00. Tom Buhman har precis en serie om Coleman Hawkins – (Self) Portrait of the Bean – och det andra programmet sänds den 23 mars kl. 23:00.

För vänner av Duke Ellington är programserien The Wonderful World of Duke Ellington av Henrik Wolsgaard-Iversen ett måste. Program 116 i serien sänds den 18 mars.

Äldre program i serien finns i bloggdelen av Radiojazz tillsammans med många andra tidigare sända program.

Internetadressen till Radiojazz är http://www.radiojazz.dk

Till sist: Varför finns det inte tillräckligt många jazzentusiaster i Sverige intresserade av att erbjuda något liknande i Sverige?







A mix from Ellington ’90

We will finish our series of articles from Ellington ’90 in Ottawa with another three selections from the rich program of the conference.

Our first selection is the presentation of Kurt Dietrich on Joe ”Tricky Sam” Nanton. He did a presention on Ellington’s trombonists at the Ellington ’89 in Washington D.C. and his presentation in Ottawa was in a sense a follow-up to it.

His two books Ellington’s Trombonists and Jazz Trombonists are highly recommended.

By the time of the Ottawa conference, John E. Haase had been Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for six years. In this capacity, he was leading the work to turn the big collection of Duke Ellington documents and papers, which were transferred to the Smithsonian in 1988, into the Ellington Archive.

On the first day of the conference he chaired a panel of key members of his team, who presented different aspects of the Ellington Archive. On the last day of the conference, Haase put on his research cloths and gave a presentation titled Ellington Storms Europe, 1939 on Ellington’s second visit to Europe.

As in some earlier Ellington Study Group conferences, there was also a panel with mostly Ellington alumni. Harold Ashby, Butch Ballard, Bobby Boyd, Kenny Burrell, Wild Bill Davis and John Lamb was part of it and Patricia Willard was the moderator.



Ellington interview 1968

In the beginning of February 1968, Duke Ellington made a short visit to French-speaking Canada with his orchestra. They performed at the Capitol Theatre in Ottawa on February 2 and in Montreal the day after.

Mildred MacDonald, a broadcasting pioneer and role model for women in the field of broadcasting, who worked for CBC for almost 50 years, decided that she should get an interview with Ellington. Without an appointment, she went to the dressing area behind the stage and managed to get the attention of the Duke, who agreed to an short interview before he had to get dressed for the concert.

In the final end, MacDonald managed  to get a 25 minutes interview and she focused it  on his recent tour in Asia.

22 years later. she talked about the interview at the Ellington ’90 conference in Ottawa and let the conference participants listen to it. Sjef Hoefsmit filmed it and this is why the DESS website another 20 years later can share it with its readers.

Unfortunately, the picture quality of the video is so and so but the sound quality is fairly acceptable.

Using sound editing tools, it has been possible to make the sound of the presentation a little bit better and the result is available to DESS members in the Goodies area.







DESS-mötet 17 februari 2020

Den här gången bestod mötet av tre delar. Först var det årsmötet med val och annat. Sedan höll John ”Jonte” Högman ett föredrag om sin relation till Ellington och hans musik och därefter spelade Joakim Falk Blue Devils lite Ellington och annat.

Håkan Skytt och Lars Björkman skötte årsmötet med sedvanlig bravur.

Styrelsen fick ansvarsfrihet för sin skötsel av föreningen under 2019. Valet av styrelseledamöter fick sin karaktär av att Leif Jönsson avsagt sig uppdraget som ordförande och Anders Asplund lämnar som DESS’ kassör efter 15 år på posten.

Bo Ahnegård hade lett valberedningen.

På dess förslag valde årsmötet Bo Haufman till ny ordförande. Han har ett år kvar på sitt styrelsemandat. Lars Björkman, Thomas Harne och Owe Persson utsågs till styrelseledamöter på två år. Claes Brodda, Leif Jönsson och Peter Lee sitter kvar i styrelsen ytterligare ett år.

Bo tackade för förtroendet

och avtackade sedan Leif Jönsson och Anders Asplund för deras stora arbete för DESS och främjandet av intresset för Duke Ellington.

Efter årsmötet var det dags för kvällens föredragshållare saxofonisten m.m. John ”Jonte” Högman att ta över scenen.

Han höll ett föredrag präglat av kunskap och hans kärlek till Ellingtons musik.

Det var mycket uppskattat och publiken önskade Högman välkommen tillbaka.

Efter den sedvanliga pausen med mingel och förtäring tog Joakim Falk Blue Devils över.

Gruppen, som bestod av Joakim Falk, kornett, Adam Falk, klarinett och tenorsax, Gunnar Åkerhielm, piano och Nicklas Wennström, bas, ingår i normala falll i den lite större gruppen Spicy Advice Ragtime Band.

Spelstilar och melodival hämtar man från förra seklets tidigare decennium, dvs 10-, 20- och 30-talen. Vi fick, säger Thomas Harne i sin rapport till webbplatsen, lyssna till en hel del Ellingtonmusik, men också till låtar  förknippade med andra ledande jazz-personligheter under denna tid.

Snibor och The Mooche i två ganska bokstavstrogna versioner inledde programmet. I det senare numret presenterade sig alla musikerna i tur och ordning, en growlande klarinett, sordinerad kornett, raka baslinjer i en klassisk ”walking bass” med mjuk stor ton, tenorsolo i den äldre skolan samt välvalda pianotoner.

Ensemblespelet var i början något ruffigt, men ju längre tiden led, desto bättre lät samspelet och soloinslagen. ”Jonte” Högman hoppade in i Dinah och smälte väl in i bandet. Samtliga levererade smakfulla solon.

Mood Indigo bjöd på ett längre, läckert pianosolo samt ett kornett-solo i den högre skolan. Oriental Man, med en hänvisning till Johnny Dodds, lät  oss höra ett tidstypiskt pianospel.

I Singin´ the Blues, som bl a ingick i Bix Beiderbeckes repertoar, briljerade Nicklas Wennström i långa melodilinjer med sin stråkbas. You Always Hurt the One You Love, var en trevlig bekantskap med refrängsång av Joakim på klassiskt manér. Black and Tan Fantasy följde därefter.

In the Gloaming, med rötter så långt tillbaka som 1877, blev en ny bekantskap för de flesta, medan slagdängan I´m Confessing that I Love You fick flera att gnola i refrängen. The Chant med referens till Jelly Roll Morton kom sedan och spelades med inspirerande hastighet och fantasi. Konserten avslutades med Creole Love Call.

De flesta välkända ansikten var på plats men mer publik är alltid att önska.


Ellington DR Broadcasts (37)

The fourth ”goodie” in February is program 37 in the Duke Ellington series of broadcast 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 24 November 1985 and provide materials from three stockpile sessions in 1962 and from one in 1967.

It starts with four selections from the 25 May, 1962 session – Black And Tan Fantasy (take -3), Boo-Dah (take -2), One More Twist (listed as Once More Once in NDESOR) and The Feeling Of Jazz (take -3) sung by Milt Grayson with Ellington at the piano. Black And Tan was issued in the Famous 5 LP box (M.F.D. G4RS-2536) while the other three are unissued.

Then the broadcast picks songs from the 3 July 1962 session – again The Feeling Of Jazz but this time in a small band version  and the rather odd Drinking Again (nc) sung by the specialist in romantic ballads Jimmy Vale. The full version of The Feeling Of Jazz is take -4, which has been issued on Bob Thiele‘s Doctor Jazz label.

The next three selections are from 24 May 1962 – Flirtibird (take -4), Smada (take -1) and What am I Here For? (take -2). They are all in the ”Famous 5 LP” box.

The broadcast ends with The Shepherd Who Watches Over The Night Flock (take -2) and Salome (take -1) both recorded at a stockpile session on 23 June 1967 in Los Angels, not New York as the presenter says. Both of them are included in Storyville’s The Jaywalker CD.





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