Borlänge in the center of Sweden was one of the stops during Ellington’s long tour of Sweden in June 1963. On the 12th June, the band played in the amusement park there. The day before it had performed in Gävle and the night thereafter it was going to be in Norrköping. A local Ellington fan, Olle Lindholm, was busy with his camera and here are four of his photos from the evening.
In Borlänge, Duke also handed out a prize. Here is the story behind this (as told by DESS-member Villy Bergström almost 50 years later). A young reporter, Tord Lönnqvist, at the local newspaper, Dalademokraten), had a bright idea. He got the newspaper to arrange a quiz competition on Ellington’s music. A young woman from a neighboring town won the competition.
The reporter then called the tour manager and asked to meet Ellington. This was arranged. and he met with Ellington backstage half an hour before the concert. The reporter told Ellington about the competition and asked if the maestro could consider to hand out the prize – an Ellington LP – to the young woman.
Ellington readily agreed and asked for the name of the newspaper. He quickly tried to learn to pronounce Daalademokrataaten and asked to have the written down in capital letters.
When the concert started (it was an outdoor concert), the Duke entered the stage and started by saying “There has been a contest organized by Daalademokraaten–“. Then he asked the young woman to join him on the stage to receive the prize. Duke gave her a chair to be seated on the right side of the band during the concert and then asked her to request the opening tune of the night.
Unfortunately, the story does not tell which tune the young lady requested.