DUKE ELLINGTON SOCIETY OF SWEDEN

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Duke Ellington ”Live” 80 years ago

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Congress Hotel 9 May 1936 Congress Hotel 26 May 1936

It is a well-known fact that Duke Ellington and his orchestra very early had the opportunity to take part in broadcasts from the Cotton Club in New York City, and that this was an important step in launching and popularizing the band to a broader audience.

However, those broadcasts seem  not available for listening, since they in all probability were not recorded or have been lost.

The earliest broadcasts, which are still available (according to NDESOR), are some glimpses from the Congress Hotel in Chicago, where Duke and his men were playing for the main part of May and early June in  1936, some 80 years ago.

Congress Hotel

The radio station WMAQ did half-hour broadcasts with Duke and the orchestra every night from from May 8 till June 4.

The first broadcast, which is available for listening, to is from 9 May 1936 and consists of Stompy Jones, In A Sentimental Mood, My Old Flame (fragments), Cotton and Harlem Speaks.

The second, from 26 May, consists of East St. Louis Toodle-Oo, Stompy Jones, Clarinet Lament and Showboat Shuffle.

The orchestra personell is the normal of this time, without any surprises, and we can hear good solo-performances by among others, Ivie Anderson, Johnny Hodges and Barney Bigard.

The sound quality is unfortunately not that good, but most likely relatively few of the members of DESS have heard these recordings before but now they (and others) will have the opportunity to listen to them.

From the end of the 1930’s, broadcast recordings seem to become more abundant, especially from the Cotton Club 1937-38. Later on, during the recording ban 1942-44, the main sources for recorded music by Ellington are recorded broadcasts. We will return to this topic later.

More information about  Ellington’s Congress Hotel activities can be found at: http://tdwaw.ellingtonweb.ca/TDWAW.html#Yr1936


1 kommentar

  1. goranaxelsson skriver:

    Many thanks for this.

    Please change the typo error (6 May) to (9 May).

    I noted that it is possible to download the two files from the link in the mail, but not directly from the web page.

    A bit strange on the web page that the file 26 May was in fact streaming, but not the file 9 May.

    I found very useful information on Duke Ellington’s sessions at the Congress Hotel in

    http://tdwaw.ellingtonweb.ca/TDWAW.html#Yr1936

    I think it is far better to refer to this website, which is available for everyone, and being frequently updated. New Desor is a 1500 page book from 1999, which seems to be impossible to buy these days.

    Goran Axelsson

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