Home » 2016 » August (Page 2)

Monthly Archives: August 2016

Categories for posts

Blue Light – A Presentation

Blue Light is the 24 pages quarterly magazine of The Duke Ellington Society UK (DESUK) and is distributed to members of The Duke Ellington Society UK who pay an annual subscription of £25.00.

It offers an eclectic mix of news, reviews and articles written by members of DESUK and international Ellington and Strayhorn experts.

The magazine also promotes the release of recordings by Duke Ellington and his orchestra, radio and television broadcasts on Ellington-related themes as well as supporting the vibrant scene of newly recorded and live performances today of the music of Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington.

Over the years, Blue Light has published major retrospectives on and many accounts of on Ellington’s tours of the UK written by Ellington scholars or by who saw the Orchestra perform live or who, indeed, worked with Ellington.

Blue Light aims to reflect a truly international perspective. In recent years, in particular, we have developed close ties with Ellington aficionados the world over.

With regard to future developments, we have one or two exciting projects in hand for the next twelve months, taking to heart the motto of Billy Strayhorn:  Ever onward and upward. (more…)

Blue Light tillgänglig för DESS-medlemmar

DESS har ett nära och bra samarbete med vår systerorganisation i Storbritannien, DESUK. Som en följd av detta kommer DESS-medlemmar från och med nu att ha tillgång till äldre årgångar av DESUKs kvartalstidskrift Blue Light i pdf-format. Det handlar om nummer, som är äldre än två år, och med början från nummer 2011:1. De kommer att finnas tillgängliga i Ellington-arkivet.

Blue Light 2011-1 front

DESS has a close and good cooperation with our fellow organization in the U.K. DESUK. Thanks to this, from now on members of DESS will have access to older issues of DESUK’s quarterly magazine Blue Light in pdf format. It will be issues older than two years and the arrangement starts with issues 2011:1.  They can be accessed in the Ellington Archive.

Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, 2 juli, 1956


Duke Ellington framträdde vid åtminstone tre olika tillfällen i Ann Arbor, Michigan. Första gången var den 15 november 1951, då han uppträdde tillsammans med Sarah Vaughan och Nat King Cole i en radiosänd show. Senaste gången var den den 16 januari 1974 då han framträdde vid en presskonferens vid University of Michigan.

Det enda kända tillfället då han uppträdde med hela orkestern var den 2 juli 1956, endast några dagar före det epokgörande framträdandet vid Newportfestivalen.Konserten ägde rum i Hill Auditorium, University of Michigan.

Hill Auditorium

Med tanke på hur Ellington och Strayhorn arbetade, och med den uppgift de hade att komma med något nytt till Newport, skulle man lätt kunna tänka sig att man här skulle ha någon slags generalrepetition av materialet för festivalen, men så icke! En del alster blev inte klara förrän efteråt!

Första halvan av konserten den 2 juli var inkluderad i arikeln “Heading for Newport” den 3 juli 2016. Men nu finns den också som Månadsgodis i Ellingtonrummet för att underlätta nedladdning.

Innehållet består av Ellington-standards varvade med några mera sällan spelade nummer, som t. ex. Clarinet Melodrama, Theme For Trambeam, La Virgen De Macarena och Day In, Day Out.

Författare: Anders Asplund

New CD from Maison de Duke

Ellington ended the extensive European tour in January-February 1963 with taking on his role as artistic director of Reprise Records. He did so by supervising five recording sessions in Paris. One of them featured Svend Asmussen together with Stephan Grappeli and Ray Nance.

The result was only issued in 1976 by Atlantic Records. There are also some CD issues and the best in terms of sound is the one issued by Mosaic Records.

violin sessions

Tapes with the complete recording session, which took place February 22, 1963, has long circulated between collectors but now La Maison de Duke has taken the step to issue a CD with almost all the takes of the session.

Complete jazz violin session

Thanks to this, one can both enjoy the music on the original LP and get an insight into the creative process between an extraordinary group of musicians and how Ellington guided them to get the result he wanted. Asmussen is of course at the center but there is also good playing by in particular Stephan Grappelli.

The CD comes with a booklet written by Claude Carrière, which is thorough and enlightening in his usual detailed style. Unfortunately it is only in French.

The CD is a must for friends of Ellington, Svend Asmussen and violin jazz. However, it is only available to members of La Maison de Duke but a membership is equal to the price of a quality CD.

More on Duke Ellington Treasury Shows Series.


The release of the radio program “Your Saturday Date with the Duke” is a fascinating project. In 1981 the first LP in a series of 49  was issued and it took most of the 1980s before the whole series was available.  After a break of more than 10 years, a re-release on CD started and as said in yesterday’s article, there are at least three more volumes to come.

So the project will have lasted more than 35 years before it is finished but then the worldwide community of Ellington fans and others will have access to a gold mine of Ellington music from 1943-1953 with excellent sound.

The DESS Bulletin 2011:4 includes a long and detailed article by Bo Haufman on the “Your Saturday Date with the Duke” broadcasts and the “Duke Ellington Treasury Shows” series.  It is highly recommended.

DETS-artikel Bulletinen 2011:4

The first ”Your Saturday Date with the Duke” was broadcasted live with an audience on April 7, 1945 and then every Saturday until October 5, 1946.

The broadcasts were promotions to buy war bonds. Duke Ellington was a true patriot and spoke convincingly about the need to support the country and its war efforts.

Some broadcasts were released already in the 1950s but the quality of the sound was not very good.

The American Ellington scholar, record producer, record engineer and much more, Jerry Valburn, manage to collect all the transcriptions of the broadcasts and issued the whole series of them as the “Duke Ellington Treasury Shows” on LP in the  1980s.

Valburn announced this ambitious project to the members of his record club, Merritt Record Society, in December 1980 and the first three records were distributed in March-April 1981.


In the beginning there were new records almost every month but then there were longer and longer intervals between them and the last volumes became available only towards the end of the 1980s.

For the subscribers, it was not always easy to get the records delivered, possibly because of financial problems of the project. In the end, the best way to get the records was to call Valburn when one was in New York and go and get them. One of the last sets he delivered to me (Ulf) during a lunch at Eddie Condon’s Jazz Club on the last day of the club’s existence.

The sound engineer behind the LP series was Jerry Valburn’s close friend Jack Towers.He was responsible for the transfer of the transcriptions to tape and for the sound editing. In a fascinating interview with Rob Bamberger, Towers described his work which often meant to scrape magnetic particles off the tapes.

The interview is available to DESS members in the Ellington Archive

Already when the project was launched, Valburn announced that a book on the ”Your Saturday Date with the Duke”-broadcasts was to be published. It was to be co-written by Valburn and Benny Aaslund available to subscribers of the DETS-series at half price.

In mid-1982 Valburn reported that the book was more or less finished


However, this was apparently not the case because more than ten years later Valburn announced in DEMS 1994/2: “Duke Ellington and the Treasury Series: This 85 page book is completed and awaiting publishing later this year.”

But the years went on and no book appeared. There are some rumours that it was seen in one form or the other in the offices of Storyville in Copenhagen at the end of the 1990s.

Storyville Records started to issue the  DETS-series (with a lot of bonuses added) in 2000. Valburn himself was involved in the beginning as was Jack Towers and he wrote the some of the first CD booklets.

But then this task was taken over by different members of the inner circle of Ellington scholars and collectors. The booklets are very well written and rich in information. If one has got all of them, there is really no reason to hope for a book as well.

The DETS series are available from several sources. The price for a new CD is about 17-18 EUR (Storyville, Amazon, JazzMessengers, Plugged Records) but one can find second-hand ones in shape as new for about 11-13 EUR (Amazon). The most expensive way is to download from iTunes, which charge 20 EUR.

Another way is to listen to the series at Spotify or Apple Music. Both of these streaming audio services offers most of the series but which ones seems to vary from time to time.

Authors: Ulf Lundin / Göran Wallén

Duke Ellington Treasury Shows volym 21

Storyvilles utgivning av serien Duke Ellington Treasury Shows serien har nu kommit till volym 21. Totalt skall det bli 24 dubbla CD-volymer.


Den här volymen innehåller vad som fanns på de ursprungliga LP-utgivningarna DETS 40 (6 juli 1946) och LP DETS 41 (27 juli 1946). LP-serien  omfattade 49 skivor men redan med LP DETS 46 med material från den 5 oktober 1946 avslutas radioprogrammet ”A Date with Duke”.

De sista tre skivorna I LP-serien innehåller material från juni 1953 (fyra sidor), 1 juli 1953 och 14 april 1945.

Bonusmaterial i volym 21 är dels tre nummer från Lakeside Park, El Patio Ballroom i Denver, Colorado den 14 juli 1942 (som DESS-medlemmar fick som månadsgodis i maj) och tre nummer från Trianon Ballroom i South Gate, Californien den 2 maj 1942.

Noterbart i denna utgåva är att man hyllar Tricky Sam Nanton med tal och orkestern spelar hans favoritnummer i ett medley. Nanton avled natten mellan den 19 och 20 juli 1946.

Cat Anderson framför på sitt speciella sätt ett fint nummer i ”A Gathering in a Clearing” och visar att han inte bara var en höjd specialist.

Författare Göran Wallén / Ulf Lundin

%d bloggers like this: