The fourth “goodie” for September is program 18 in the Duke Ellington series broadcasted by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s.
As usual, it is available in the ”Goodies of the Month” section of the DESS Lobby (DESS-rummet).
The program was broadcasted on March 29, 1985 and the presenter is Erik Wiedeman. It is – like the broadcast on March 22, 1985 – entirely devoted to the music of the ballett “The River”. Together, the two programs includes all the movements of “The River” in different stages of development.
The program starts with the piano version of “The River” from May 25, 1970. It is followed by “The Meander” – also a piano version – from May 11, 1970. It was meant to be played in Program 17 but because of a mix-up “The Lake” was played instead. “The Meander” is the third movement
The orchestral version of “The Lake” (May 25, 1970) comes next. It is the fifth movement of the suite.
The third “goodie” for September is program 17 in the Duke Ellington series broadcasted by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s.
As usual, it is available in the ”Goodies of the Month” section of the DESS Lobby (DESS-rummet).
The program was broadcasted on March 22, 1985 and the presenter is Erik Wiedeman.
It is – like the following broadcast on March 29, 1985 – entirely devoted to the music of the ballett “The River”. There will be a separate article about this ballett on the website in November.
Wiedeman has chosen the music to make it possible to follow how the music for the different scenes (or movements) were developed by Ellington. The program gives (or was meant to give) both piano versions and full orchestral versions of the music for three of the scenes of the ballett.
The broadcast starts with the orchestral version of “The Giggling Rapids” (aka “Grap”) recorded on June 3, 1973. It is the fourth movement of the suite.
It then moves on to two piano versions of “The River”. The first one recorded on May 11 has an extra piano line dubbed in. It is kept also in the second version recorded two weeks later when Joe Benjamin, bass was added. “The River” is the opening and closing movement of the suite.
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Dick Buckley was a well-known radio presenter in Chicago, who for many years hosted “Jazz With Dick Buckley”. One day in May 1981, he started his program by saying:
What Buckley refers to is a lunch meeting with a small group of eminent American Ellington specialists that took place on a Saturday in May 1981.
It was organized by Donald (Don) Miller – a leading figure on the Ellington scene in Chicago and the founder of the Ray Nance Chapter of the Duke Ellington Society.
He was well connected in the American and international network of Ellington specialists and was very focused on how to preserve the Ellington legacy.
In a report from the meeting published in the DEMS Bulletin 1982/1, Miller sketched the task(s) ahead for what he saw as an Ellington Study Group.
“We are a privileged generation for having personally known and experienced Ellington. This provides us with the opportunity to maximize the record for posterity’s experience of Ellington.”
The guest speaker at the four-hour lunch was the musicologist, composer and author Gunther Schuller.
He was just on his way to start to write the second volume of his work on the history of jazz and it was one of the topics he talked about at the lunch. But he covered many more. Here is one example of what he (and others) said during the lunch.
Miller taped the lunch meeting and in total there are three and a half hour of talks and conversation to listen to. Unfortunately, the recording was not done in the best of ways and the tapes have deteriorated with time. As a result, the sound quality of the tapes varies quite a lot.
However, another 21 minutes of what Schuller and others had to say have been edited together and the result is available in the Ellington Archive.
Last year, the 24th Duke Ellington Study Group conference took place and this time in New York City. And in May this year, DESUK organized a one day mini-conference using a format similar to the Study Group ones.
The Study Group Conferences have had a tremendously important role in building an international network of Ellington scholars and aficionados and a solid knowledge base of Ellington’s work, life and music.
The network of Ellington clubs and societies has been crucial for the conferences. Without them, they would never have taken place. The first one – “The Duke Ellington Jazz Society (DEJS)” – was founded in Los Angeles, California with Bill Ross as President and Patricia Willard as Vice-President. It not only wanted to bring together Ellington fans locally but also build an international network of Ellington clubs.
Unfortunately, DEJS disappeared in the early 1960s but by that time The New York Chapter had been formed. It started in 1959 and with its large membership, it soon had a leading role among Ellington fans. It change its name to The Duke Ellington Society (TDES) at the request of Duke Ellington himself in the 1960s and later it became TDES only.
In 1993, the Duke Ellington Society of Sweden was formed.
Another key factor behind the conferences was the existence of a network of Ellington experts, who worked together to increase the knowledge about Ellington’s work and life.
Are Ellington and Strayhorn studying the UMMG Score?
Upper Manhattan Medical Group
In April and May 1954 Ellington and his orchestra were touring in western USA. This has been documented in a concert from Embassy Auditorium in Los Angeles on April 13, and from a dance date at McElroy’s Ballroom in Portland on April 29. In addition, songs from a Capitol Recording session on April 26 have been issued on the Capitol label.
On May 1, Duke and the orchestra were performing at a dance date at Trianon Ballroom in Seattle and the first part of this is rather interesting due to the the fact that the tunes played are not so common in the band’s repertoire. DESS members can enjoy this by logging into the Goodies Room.
The third issue of the Bulletin is now on its way to the DESS members. As usual, it is full of interesting articles within a broad range of Ellington subjects. The fact that the editor and his team manage to do this quarter after quarter is really impressive.
This time, the cover article is about Russell Procope – the clarinet and alto sax player, who was a solid part of the Ellington orchestra for more than 25 years.
In a four-page article, Bo Haufman – the Bulletin editor – let us follow the career of Procope from his early days on the New York big band scene in the 1920 and 1930s to the John Kirby Sextet and military service before focusing on his years with Ellington, whom he joined in 1946. Of course, the author goes more into detail as regards the Ellington period and separately deals with Procope – the altosaxophonist and Procope – the clarinettist.
The article lists many of the recordings in which Procope participated both with Ellington but also other bands like Clarence Williams, Fletcher Henderson and John Kirby. They can be listened to in the (right) music player of the website. Details of the songs are listed in a comment to this article.
The Swedish readers of the Bulletin can also enjoy a reprint from Orkesterjournal of a review by Bo Scherman of the concert by Cootie Williams and Russell Procope in the Stockholm jazz club Fasching on February 22, 1978. (more…)
The summer issue of Blue Light arrived in my mailbox in early July. It is marked by the sad passing away of DESUK chairman Geoff Smith in March last year but also provides some good Ellington reading.
The key feature is a 10 pages long article on Ellington at the piano. It is written by Jack Chambers – a regular contributor to Blue Light.
He guides us through Ellington’s stylistic development as a pianist from someone being firmly anchored in the stride piano tradition to a man open to venture into post bop styles.
Chambers singles out the two LP albums – The Duke Plays Ellington (aka Piano Reflections) on Capitol and Money Jungle on United Artists – as highlights in Ellington’s pianist career. His reason: they are major advances in his way of dealing with the piano.
However, his choice for the ONE piano performance is the spontaneously played Lotus Blossom at the end of one of the recording sessions for the “…And His Mother Called Him Bill” album.
Chambers also considers that the recital at the Whitney Museum in New York in 1972 – eternalized in the “Live at the Whitney” CD album – “might be the most comprehensive view of Ellington as a piano player”.
The original article was apparently written some years ago and even if it has been revised and updated there are a couple of mistakes.
On page 7 Chambers writes about the Paramount recording of Jig Walk which for almost 2o years is considered as a non-Ellington recording. He also says (page 11 and 15) that the recital at the MOMA in 1962 is unissued but Maison de Duke made it available on CD almost 10 years ago.
In addition to Chamber’s article, Blue Light provides us with reviews of recently issued Ellington CDs and concerts with Ellington music.
Duke in front of the band in Bergen
Early this summer, NRK – Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation – published a video file with an Ellington concert from Bergen on November 3, 1969 on its web site. This concert was said to have been telecast only once (June 1970), which is a long time ago.
Probably only a few people outside Norway had the opportunity to watch it. Because of this and the good quality of the video, we decided to make this available to the DESS members in the Goodies Room.
The content of the programme is what can be expected from this tour, with the exception of the the closing number Acht O’Clock Rock with Tony Watkins performing a strange show as a dancer. In this number, Cat Anderson plays a very nice solo trumpet, mainly in the lower and medium registers.
Otherwise, Cootie is the soloist in Take The A Train and Paul Gonsalves in Cottontail.
What we see in the video is obviously the second part of the concert; the first part was probably not recorded, judging from its absence in discographies and Duke’s introductory remark about Cootie returning to the solo microphone.. The full programme is as follows:
*Take The A Train*Cottontail*Up Jump*La Plus Belle Africaine*Come Off The Veldt*El Gato*Medley*Acht O’Clock Rock*
Below is a sound recording of Up Jump from the concert:
We hope you will enjoy the show!
Today is September 1 and as promised the DESS website is back after its summer break. As before, we will continue to do our best to provide members of DESS and others interested in Ellington with music, photos, videos, articles etc related to Il Maestro. Possibly we will do this less frequently than before but at the same time the website has now at its disposal a lot of quite unique material of interest to Ellington connoisseurs. This includes radio programs about Ellington, photos never published and the video and radio taped proceedings of the 24 Ellington Study Group Conferences.
The conference tapes in the Sjef Hoefsmit Collection, which have been made available to the website, are currently being digitized and excerpts of the result will be published on the website during the year.
It seems appropriate to start the season by doing this. Here is the Swedish pianist Berndt Egerbladh and Alice Babs improvising at the opening session of the 1994 Study Group Conference in Stockholm.