Duke’s European Tour in 1966 was organized by Norman Granz with Ella Fitzgerald and her trio also taking part.
The format of these concerts were: Duke and his orchestra performed during the first part and Ella with trio in the second, with the orchestra acting as accompaniment only.
In Stockholm, Duke and Ella gave three concerts – two on February 7 at Konserthuset and one at Cirkus the day after. Cirkus was a building constructed in the 1890s for circus performances. In the 1960s it was used a lot for TV-productions.
The February 8 concert was arranged in collaboration with Swedish Television to be broadcasted at a later date.
The video, which is now made available to the members of DESS in the “Goodies Room” is most part of the first of the two “mini-concerts” the concert, which took place on February 8.
It is not complete and not without flaws, but it is certainly one of the rarest videos of Duke Ellington and his orchestra. This particular sequence was donated to DESS by one of its members some years ago.
The second concert was like-wise televised and broadcasted at a later date. The exact dates for the two telecasts are not known at this stage.
The concerts were about 40 minutes long to fit Swedish TV’s programming.The proceedings start, of course, with Take The A Train but because of a major flaw in this video copy we are immediately thrown right into to some real action, where we see and hear Paul Gonsalves soloing in West Indian Pancake.
A fine performance of Rockin’ In Rhythm is followed by La Plus Belle Africaine, a new tune for this season (like West Indian Pancake). The Ellington only part ends with The Opener, also a fairly recent addition to the repertoire. The audience is obviously enjoying every minute of the performance as the band reaches a screaming crescendo with The Opener.
Next, the Duke presents the First Lady of Jazz – Ella Fitzgerald. She is accompanied by a trio consisting of Jimmy Jones on piano, Joe Comfort on bass and Gus Johnson on drums.
Ella sings Wives And Lovers, Sweet Georgia Brown, So Danco Samba, How High The Moon (rather like a medley) and Imagine My Frustration. The whole thing ends with a few bars of Duke’s Place which of course is C-Jam Blues with lyrics.
To make the video more complete, here is the uninterrupted opening part of the concert and Duke’s Place in its entirety from a Swedish radio broadcast.
And as you will see in the video at the end of the concert there is a lot of hugging and kissing between Duke and Ella.
We sincerely hope the DESS-members will enjoy this video, despite its flaws.