Ellington’s 1965 European tour lasted from January 25 to February 28. It started in France where Duke and the orchestra performed in Paris, and Lyon. They then went north, first to Copenhagen (Denmark) and then to Sweden for concerts in Lund, Malmö and Stockholm. After stops in Germany and Switzerland, the tour ended with two weeks of concerts (and a telecast) in England from February 13 to February 28
Ellington’s concerts in Stockholm took place on February 2 and the venue was Konserthuset (Stockholm Concert Hall).
Photo and copyright: Roland Sterner
The two concerts – one at 7 pm and one at 9pm – were well attended but the critics were rather negativ.
Orkesterjounalen’s Bertil Sundin seems to have had his opinion formed already before the concerts started. “One can not expect that this group of older gentlemen will sound particularly inspired and in Stockholm on February 2 they didn’t ” he wrote. Sundin only had positiv comments on Johnny Hodge’s performance of “Come Sunday” and Paul Gonsalves’ of Chelsea Bridge. However, Leif Anderson reviewing the Ellington concerts in Copenhagen, Lund and Malmö also in Orkesterjournalen was much more positiv.
The two reviews are available in the Ellington Archive
One of the concerts were broadcasted by Swedish Radio, most likely the second one, and DESS members can listen to it and download it in the Goodies Room. Here is a short excerpt from the broadcast.
The broadcast is not a full concert but an edited version. Hence the station announcement in Swedish in the beginning of the recording, followed by an introduction by Olle Helander. He was responsible for jazz programs on Swedish Radio since the early 1950’s and a well-known voice presenting them.
After the theme & intro (Take The A Train), Afro-Bossa (AKA Boola) is played. This is a carry-over from 1963, which was often played 1963-66, but disappeared after that from the concert repertoire. The Opener follows with the familiar line-up of soloists: Paul Gonsalves, Buster Cooper and Cat Anderson, whereafter Paul Gonsalves is featured in the beautiful Chelsea Bridge. On the 1965 European tour, Ellington re-introduced the 1st movement of Black, Brown & Beige, with the parts Worksong, Come Sunday and Light (Montage). He had also introduced a new work, Ad Lib On Nippon (in four parts), but this is unfortunately not included in this broadcast. Passion Flower and Things Ain’t, which are solo numbers for Johnny Hodges, are played next before Cootie Williams gets into the lime-light in Tutti For Cootie
The Swedish cinematographer and cinema teacher, Roland Sterner, attended one of the concerts and took a lot of pictures, which have been made available to DESS. More of his pictures will be published in a following article.