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Happy New Year, Duke!

Bildresultat för Blue Note

In the 1950’s Duke Ellington and his orchestra visited Blue Note in Chicago many times. In particular, it was his main venue for New Year’s celebrations, and he played there every New Year’s Eve from 1951 to 1959, except for 1954 when he visited Basin Street East in NYC. You are duly invited to listen to the festivities as they sounded on December 31, 1957 and Jan 1, 1958, exactly 60 years ago, and if you are a DESS member you will find parts of two broadcasts in the Goodies Room.

Midnight at the Blue Note Dec. 31, 1957

The orchestra members at this time were as follows: Harold Baker, Willie Cook, Cat Anderson, Clark Terry and Ray Nance on trumpets, Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson and John Sanders on trombones, Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope, Paul Gonsalves and Harry Carney on reeds, Ellington, Jimmy Woode and Sam Woodyard in the rhythm section, Jimmy Grissom and Ozzie Bailey vocals. (more…)

Stockholm 1994 (7)

This is the last installment of presentations at the conference – at least for now. They are all presentations from its last day.

Thanks to hard work by Patricia Willard and the generosity of Klaus Strateman, the participants got the opportunity to watch the full TV-version of “A Drum Is Woman”. Unfortunately, because of the copyright issues involved it can not be shared on the website.

However, the showing was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Patricia Willard and you can enjoy it here. The members of the panel were Clark Terry, Willie Cook, Louis Bellson, Joya Sherrill and Jimmy Woode.


After the panel, Joya Sherrill was interviwed by Patricia Willard about her time with Ellington and particularily her participation in “My People”


The last presentation at the conference was given by Sjef Hoefsmit, who spoke about his love for Duke and Billy Strayhorn and shared some of his films of Ellington’s appearances in Europe.


Given that the Ellington 1994 series on the website has been possibly thanks to Hoefsmit’s shooting of seven videos during the conference, it seems appropriate to it in this was. However, there are  still some more presentations to published and this will be done once we have received permission to do so.

Stockholm 1994 (6)

This time we provide three more presentation from the second day of the conference.

First comes one by Phil Schaap, which was actually not in the original program but added to it at a late stage. Schaap talks about “Ellington in Rehearsal” and provides a number of nice examples of this.

He starts his presentation be linking back to one he gave at the Ellington ’93 conference and lets the audience listen a very early (and rare) recording with Jimmy Blanton from 1937.


Then John Lewis talks about his memories from his youth years of Ellington’s music. The title of the presentation is “My Personal Experiences of the Ellington Orchestra during the Blanton Years”.


And finally comes Erik Kjellberg, Professor of Music at the University of Uppsala and a jazz musician. . The topic of his talk was “Harmonious
Conversation or Brisk Competition?

Mercer Ellington Interview 1980

In March 1980, Mercer Ellington visited Chicago and Dick Buckley of radio station WBEZ and an active member of the local Ellington community took the opportunity to make a long interview with him.

The entire interview was used by Buckley in his Jazz Forum program on April 29 1980, which celebrated Ellington’s 81st birthday.

37 years (and some months) later DESS members and other Ellington fans can enjoy this quite personal interview while they prepare for Christmas.


Stockholm 1994 (5)

Here is some more from the Ellington ’94 conference in Stockholm.

One of the afternoon presentations on the second day was by Jan Bruér. He talked about “Duke Ellington in Sweden”.

Later in the afternoon on that day, Andrew Homzy talked about “Duke Ellington in the Avant Garde”.

In the morning of the last day of the conference, Alice Babs and Nils Lindberg sat down together to talk about “There Is Something About Me” – a composition which Ellington gave to Alice Babs on a cassette tape one day in New York and which she later recorded with Nils Lindberg.


DR Ellington Broadcasts (20)

The second ”goodie” for December is program 20 in the Duke Ellington series broadcasted by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. The broadcast is available in the “Goodies” section of the website.

The program was broadcasted on June 7, 1985.

The program starts with music recorded for the English theatre play “The Jay Walker”. After a short excerpt of “The Queen” and a part of a CBC interview from 1967 in which Ellington tells how he came to write the music for the play, we hear “Mac” which is the musical charactarization of the main character in the play also called Mac. Ellington later reused this piece in his Second Sacred Concert as “TGTT”.

The “The Jay Walker” part of the broadcast ends with “Policia” (take 1) and an untitled blues which was never used in the play. In the Ellington discographies it appears as Blues no. 16

Next in the program comes stockpile music recorded on the same date (April 14, 1965) as some of the songs for the “Concert in Virgin Island” album. We hear “Rod la Roque” (take 4), “Love Scene” (take 2) and Rhythm Section Blues (aka “Big Fat Alice’s Blues) (take 1). All three have been issued in the Private Collection series (vol. 8).

The broadcast ends with three selections from the June 15, 1970 stockpile session – “Hard” (aka “Mendoza”) (take , “Ballad” (aka “Mixt”) (take 24) and “Just A-Settin’ And A-Rockin'” (take 42). This session also produced some of the movements for “The River”.





DESS-mötet den 7 december 2017

Här kommer en kort rapport från mötet baserad på uppgifter från några av deltagarna och med foton tagna av Bo Haufman.

Kvällens föredragshållare var Ivan Sundberg, som under många år drev skivbolaget Ad Lib.


Han presenterade en intervju som den amerikanske journalisten Ed Bridges gjorde med Alice Babs vid ett besök i Stockholm och interfolierade den med personligt vald Babs- och Ellington-musik. Det var ett innehålls- och perspektivrikt föredrag framfört med stor elegans. DESS’ chefstekniker (och mycket annat) Göran Axelsson spelade in föredraget som man kan lyssna på i Ellington-arkivet.

Bridges intervju publicerades i Bulletinen 2002:3 men har också lagts upp separat i Ellington-arkivet när vi skrev om den i vår artikel om Alice Babs den 17 november 2016.


Efter pausen tog Stockholm Jazz Trio över och bjöd på ett varierat program som berättade om den moderna pianotrions födelse och utveckling. Daniel Tilling vid pianot, Jan Adefelt på bas och Jesper Kviberg bakom trummorna bjöd publiken på sina tolkningar av bl.a. Moten Swing, Johnny Come Lately, Moonglow, Star-Crossed Lovers, Ellington Sound of Love och Jubilation.


Sammanfattningsvis fick publiken sig till livs ett  högkvalitativt program som få jazzklubbar kan bjuda på. Varför får då inte fler medlemmar ändan ur vagnen och kommer på mötena?

Stockholm 1994 (4)

Richard Wang, director of the jazz ensemble at the University of Illinois, gave the last presentation of the first day. He talked about the 1994 revival in Chicago of Ellington’s Beggar’s Opera.


The second day of the conference included a presentation by the English trumpeter and musicologist, Ken Rattenbury, on Ellington’s method of composition. The result of his research work was later publish in the book, “Duke Ellington, Jazz Composer”.


In the afternoon, Lawrence H. Lawrence talked about Bubber Miley. Unfortunately, only about 30 minutes of his presentation was taped. The beginning part is missing.

Deep South Suite

Vdisk 2

In the 1940’s, from 1943 to 1948, Duke Ellington & His Orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall in NYC no less than on seven different occasions. On each of these occasions newly written extended works were played. In 1943 there were two concerts, one on Jan 23 where Black Brown And Beige was played in its entirety and one on Nov 11 which featured New World A-Comin’.

The 1944 performance included Blutopia and Perfume Suite. Then again, in 1946, there were two concerts, one on Jan 4, where Duke presented A Tonal Group and one on Nov. 23 presenting Deep South Suite.

For the 1947 performance in Dec 26-27, Ellington had been commissioned to write his Liberian Suite, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Liberian republic in Africa. There was one more concert at Carnegie Hall before the end of the decade, in Nov. 1948, which included performances of Symphomaniac and The Tattooed Bride. Billy Strayhorn contributed to most of these works, exceptions being New World A-Comin’ and The Tattooed Bride.

Deep South Suite is highlighting  Ellington’s  interpretation of the racial situation in the South in the forties and earlier, and below you’ll find a presentation of the contents of the suite by Leonard Feather for the subsequent V-Disc issue

Leonard Feather introduces Deep South Suite

The complete suite is available for downloading and listening in the Goodies Room. (more…)

Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

An Irving Mills Advertising Manual for Ellington

To promote Ellington, Irving Mills, amongst other things, had his publicity people prepare advertising manuals with “stories”, quotes and pictures, which newspapers could easily reuse.

According to Steven Lasker in a recent article in Blue Light, the first manual was produced for the six month’s tour which started at the end of October 1931 and had 23 pages incl. the cover. It is reprinted in the 2017 Autumn issue of Blue Light.

A new manual was produced for Ellington’s 1933 tour to England and it apparently exists in different versions. It will be reprinted in the Winter issue of Blue Light.

Thanks to Lars Westin, the DESS website is able to show an example of what an advertising manual looked like. It seems to be a version produced in 1934 since it on page 7 refers to the England tour.

The full manual is available in the Ellington Archive.

DESS-bulletinen 1995-4

Eftersom det nu gått två år sedan numret publicerades är det nu tillgängligt också för icke DESS-medlemmar under fliken “Bulletinen”.

Som framgår av omslaget är det tillägnat Billy Strayhorn med fyra mycket läsvärda artiklar om honom plus en Strayhorn-diskografi. I övrigt presenteras Olle Edströms bok “Duke Ellington och jazz i Sverige” och serieboken om Lena Junoff.

Alice Babs och Maj Ödman

Hösten 1974 startade programserien “Vetandets värld” i Sveriges Radio och i ett av de första programmen samtalade programledaren Maj Ödman och Alice Babs om Duke Ellington. Det var en del av en programvecka om ljud men verkar också ha varit föranlett av att Ellingtons självbiografi “Music Is My Mistress” kommit ut på svenska under namnet “Jag älskar musik”.

Programmet finns tillgängligt på Sveriges Radios webbplats på adressen http://sverigesradio.se/sida/avsnitt/324103?programid=412 men kan också avlyssnas i Ellington-arkivet.

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