The 2017 autumn issue of Blue Light has been distributed to DESUK members.
Following in the steps of the previous issue, it basically has one major article and some more house-keeping ones about DESUK activities and information on concerts with Ellington music in the U.K.
Possibly, this is because of the length of the article on Irving Mills’ Publicity Operation in the 1930s contributed by Steven Lasker. This very interesting and detailed article is highly recommended.
It discusses the four advertising manuals / press books that the Irving Mills organization produced in the 1930s of which the first two were entirely dedicated to promoting Ellington. The article includes a 20 pages facsimile of the 1931 advertising manual for Ellington. It was republished in 1933 together with additionally 26 pages.
Those pages will apparently be published in the next issue of Blue Light together with an article by Carl Woideck, who gave a presentation on the advertising manuals at the 2016 Ellington Study Group Conference in New York.
Another autumn issue of Blue Light – the one from 2015 – is now available to DESS members in the Ellington Archive / Blue Light. It is an issue devoted to Billy Strayhorn.
Andrew Homzy contributes the main article writing about the musical partnership of Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington.
Two other long ones are by Roger Boyes about his personal relationship to Strayhorn’s music over the years and by Willie Ruff on how Strayhorn’s “Suite for Horn and Piano” came about.
These three articles are supplemented by two reprints. One is an article by Martin Gayford originally published in the Wire magazine in 1989. It is called “Duke’s Other Hand” and discusses the eternal question of Strayhorn’s role in Ellington compositions. The other reprint is an article from 1982 by Kevin Whitehead about Strayhorn as a pianist.