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Fler foton från Cirkus 1966

Den här gången är det DESS’ ordförande Leif Jönsson som står för dem.

“Det var den 8 februari 1966. Jag kom till Cirkus vid lunchtid och hittade en liten sidodörr genom vilken jag kom in i byggnaden. I en axelväska hade jag med mig kamerautrustning, framför all min Minolta SR-7 med blixtaggregat.

I ett omklädningsrum bakom scenen uppehöll sig alla musikerna samt några utomstående. Duke syntes dock inte till där och inte heller Ella. Jag förenade mig med dem och packade upp mina kameragrejor.

Stämningen var tidvis uppsluppen och det var lätt att få kontakt.”

Så Leif började klicka på sin kamera och ingen protesterade, säger han.


Duke Ellington at Birdland, June 30, 1951, part 1


Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid & broadcast intro

Ellington had a rather busy schedule in June 1951, with Meadowbrook and Birdland  being the most important engagements, the latter lasting from June 21 to June 30. We have an existing WMCA broadcast from June 30, with the same orchestra members as earlier in June. The first half of this broadcast can be found in the Goodies Room. The sound quality is not the best but some of the music was issued on record, long time ago (Stardust 202, 1975), and can probably be heard to better advantage with this record available. In this first part of the broadcast, the following numbers are included:

Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid*Take The Train*Midriff*Warm Valley#*Eighth Veil*The Hawk Talks*Flamingo*Boy Meets Horn#                                                                               # Stardust 202 (more…)

DESS Bulletin 2015-1

Since two years has passed since its publication, the first issue of the DESS Bulletin in 2015 is now available in pdf-format to anyone interested in Duke Ellington and his music – DESS member or not. It can be downloaded from the Bulletin section of the DESS website http://www.ellington.se.

The cover feature in this issue is Freddy (Freddie) Jenkins.


In an five-page article about this Ellington trumpeter in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Bo Haufman gives the reader a detailed account of his life and career. The article includes some nice photos of the Ellington orchestra from early 1930s.

Other things to read is an article by Bo Scherman about Cootie Williams’ European tour in 1959 complete with a discography of all the music from the tour, which has been issued and another one is Fred Glueckstein’s about Ruth Ellington.

In his series “Other Duke’s Places”, Claes Englund writes in this issue of the Bulletin about Nat Hentoff’s perspective on Ellington and Bo Haufman contributes also an article about Accordion Joe.

Friends of comic strips can also enjoy a three page one about Ellington published in 1948.

Thank you to Göran Axelsson for having scanned the issue and provided a short summary of its content.

Smått och Gott / Bits and Pieces

This time the topics of “Bits and Pieces” are the DESS-meeting last Monday, an interview with Alice Babs in Musiktidningen in 1975 about her and Ellington and some more on Ellington’s apperance at the Grinnel College Jan. 10, 1957.

DESS-mötet den 13 feb. 2017

Det var en trevlig och ganska välbesökt tillställning. Årsmötet med styrelseval och annat som hör till klarades av snabbt. Anders Asplunds filmvisning bjöd på Count Basie, Woody Hermann och – naturligtvis – Ellington. Konserten med duon Mårten Lundgren och Kjell Fernström blev mycket uppskattad. En längre rapport med bilder finns i avdelningen DESS-möten. Där finns också information om nästa möte som äger rum den 27 april.

Jan Falk hedersmedlem

Vid årsmötet meddelades att styrelsen utsett DESS’ tidigare ordförande Jan Falk till hedersmedlem i Sällskapet. Han var ordförande från september 2005 till början av 2011 då han avgick på egen begäran.


Alice Babs och Ellington i Musiktidningen 1974

Musiktidningen var ett av dessa djärva initiativ utan vilken världen skulle vara mycket fattigare. Initiativtagaren var DESS-medlemmen Torgil Rosenberg och det första numret kom ut 1973. Med hårt arbete och stora personliga uppoffringar lyckade han hålla tidningen gående till 1978 till stor glädje för många svenska musikälskare, webbredaktören inkluderad.

“Musiktidningen kostade mig mitt hus men jag ångrar det inte. Det gav mängder med lärdom och möten med personligheter (André Previn, Nelson Riddle, Sixten Ehrling, André Kostelanetz, Eubie Blake, Earl Hines, Lena Horne m fl)” sade Torgil nyligen när vi intervjuade honom.

I samband med Ellington’s bortgång bad tidningen Ragnvi Gylder att göra en intervju med Alice om hennes samarbete med Duke ackompanjerat med bra bilder. Tack Torkels generositet finns artikeln nu i Ellington-arkivet men kan också läsas direkt via den här länken.

Omslaget var naturligtvis en bild på Ellington tagen av den berömde fotografen Gai Terrell.


More about Grinnell

The “goodie” in January with Ellington’s concert at the Grinnell College January 10, 1957 has been much appreciated. For those, who would like to learn more about this appearance and about the record, we recommend the Villes Ville blog run by Blue Light editor Ian Bradley. In 2014 he published there an article about the event and the LP. It has several photos and one of them is this one (published with the permission of Ian).


The address to the blog article is http://villesville.blogspot.fr/2014/01/grinnell-and-bear-it.html

An Ellington debate in 1943

In 1942, the English jazz journalist and author Max Jones founded together with Albert McCarthy and Charles Fox the English jazz magazine Jazz Music. Its issue no. 8/1943 was  focused on Duke Ellington and called Special Ellington Number.


Among the many articles in the issue were two very critical of Ellington’s recent development at the time – some might even call them vicious. One was by Stanley Dance entitled Jazz On And Off  The Track and another by Charles Fox called He’s Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good.

Discussing the two articles in the winter issue of Blue Light in 2014, Roger Boyes says that they “reveal that the writers could not engage with Ellington’s new music”.

And this is certainly obvious.

Dance starts his article by saying “Judging from the records we have heard recently the Ellington Orchestra was never worse” and later on he says about Billy Strayhorn that “he will have originality at the expense of beauty. His work is entirely to be deplored.” Fox’ article is less condemning but its title summarizes very well what he has to says.

However, not everybody agreed with in particular Dance. One of them was a young man by the name of Vic L. Belleby – later in life DESUK chairman – and he provided a rebuttal, which was published in the October 1943 issue of Jazz Music.


The three articles were reprinted in Blue Light in 2002 and a further reprint in new typeset were planned for Blue Light 2014/4 together with the summarizing article by Roger Boyes quoted above. However, in the end only Boyes’ article was published.

Ian Bradley, the current editor of Blue Light, has kindly made the refreshed versions of the articles in pdf format available to the website and they are now in the Ellington Archive together with Roger Boyes´2014 article.

It might be true, as Boyes says in his article, that “there are better things to reprint” but the three articles provides an interesting read of clashing views on Ellington at one of his career peaks but also from a historiography point of view.


DR Ellington Broadcasts (13)

The 13th Ellington program broadcasted by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s based on the Mercer Ellington donation is the third “Goodie” for the month of February.


As usual, it is available in the “Goodies of the Month” section of the DESS Lobby (DESS-rummet).

It was broadcasted on February 22, 1985 and this time the program presenter was Bjarne Busk. He use the program to bring the listerners more of the interviews he had done with Mercer Ellington and composer/arranger Billy Moore when preparing the Danish Radio Ellington broadcasts.

The program starts with a section on “Take The “A” Train”. After a short excerpt of the first take of tune from the “stockpile session” on March 29, 1966, Billy Moore tells Busk a little story on how  “Take The “A” Train” come about. Then take 3 from the stockpile session is played.

Next, Mercer Ellington has some interesting things to say about Duke as a piano player before Moore and Mercer tells Busk about Billy Strayhorn and “Portrait of Pea” from January 5, 1966 is heard.

The program ends with five selections from the January 14, 1964 broadcast from Basin Street East, including Strayhorn playing and singing “Lush Life”.




Duke Ellington at Birdland, June 23, 1951



A little more than a week after his stay at Meadowbrook, we find Ellington and the orchestra playing at Birdland, the famous jazz spot in Manhattan. Their stay there was from June 21 to 30 in 1951. They had played there for one week in early May,(May 3 to 9), following Count Basie and his orchestra . The band personell had not changed, except that Norma Oldham is no longer present.

In the Goodies Room, DESS members will find a nearly complete version of the a broadcast from June 23 as far as the melodic contents go. Some of the numbers have been issued commercially before on Session Disc 107 and Stardust 202, both in 1975. The contents are as follows:

*Take The A Train*Fancy Dan#*The Hawk Talks#*Swamp Drum#*Rockin’ In Rhythm#*Happy Bithday To You*Aberdeen*Caravan*All Day Long*Ol’ Man River*Harlem Air Shaft##*Things Ain’t What They Used To Be*Take The A Train

# Session Disc 107, ## Stardust 202


Ellington gör entré

Alf Arvidsson, professor vid Institutionen för kultur- och medievetenskaper vid Umeå universitet, har gjort tillgänglig för DESS’ medlemmar en rapport med de första artiklarna om Duke Ellington i svensk press. Den finns upplagd i Ellington-arkivet – här


Rapporten ingår i en serie undersökningar i projektet “Svenska jazzdiskurser 1919-1969” om olika sätt att skriva om jazz i Sverige, från de första omnämnandena 1919 och in på 60-talet. Tanken är att projektet, som pågår till slutet av 2018, ska utmynna i en kommenterad antologi.

Alf har också skrivit nedanstående sammanfattning av rapporten för DESS’ webbplats. Han tar gärna emot kommentarer och hans epost-adress är alf.arvidsson@umu.se


DR Ellington Broadcasts (12)

The 12th Ellington program broadcasted by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s based on the Mercer Ellington donation is the first “Goodie” for the month of February.


As usual, it is available in the “Goodies of the Month” section of the DESS Lobby (DESS-rummet).

The program was broadcasted on February 15, 1985 and the program presenter was Bent Schjarff.

It starts with two tracks – Jam With Sam and Caravan – from the stockpile recording session on May 1, 1962. On both of them, Paul Gonsalves has a central role. The presenter says that it is recordings made in Karachi in Pakistan in 1963 but this is not correct. They were made in New York on May 1, 1962.

More of stockpile recordings follows next. First comes a complete version of “The Blues” sung by Tony Watkins from May 6, 1971, which was cut short in the previous broadcast. It is followed by “Rocks In My Bed” sung by Nell Brookshire (aka Bobbie Gordon). Quite a different version from Ivie Anderson’s.


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