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Duke at The Hollywood Empire in 1949

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The 1949 band

Harlem Air Shaft

Due to the 1948 recording ban in USA, there is not much of recorded material by Ellington and his orchestra from 1948. In fact, Ellington did not go into a recording studio until September 1, 1949.

Fortunately, some concerts and broadcasts have survived allowing us to hear how the Ellington band sounded in 1948 and early 1949.

In late November 1948, the band played at the Click Restaurant in Philadelphia and material from six different NBC broadcasts from there has survived.

At the end of January 1949, Ellington started to tour the West Coast where he had a three-week engagement from February 1 at The Hollywood Empire located at 1539 Vine Street in Hollywood.

Gene Norman, well-known disc-jockey and impresario, had opened it in December 1948. One reason seems to have been that “the Woody Herman band had no place to work”. Herman was followed by Billy Eckstine at the club

The Hollywood Empire was in an area that in the 1930s and 1940s was known as Radio City due to all the radio studios and radio-themed bars and restaurants located there.

 

During Ellington’s stay at The Hollywood Empire, American Field Radio Service (AFRS) recorded nine  broadcasts from club. Some of them were aired in the Jubilee series and others in the Just Jazz series.

In the Ellington discographies, three of broadcasts have specific recording dates while the others are identified as having been recorded in February. Seven of the broadcasts were originally  issued on AFRS records but two have remained unissued. Approximately 50% of the surviving material has been issued commercially, albeit on rather unusual labels.

This time, DESS members is given the opportunity to listen to one of the unissued broadcasts in the Goodies section of the website.

It is the one identified as DE4909 in NDESOR. (Since the main part  of these broadcasts were dated February 1949, the NDESOR number is a perhaps the best way to distinguish them from each other).

(mer…)

DESS-mötet den 12 feb. 2018

Här kommer en kort rapport från mötet baserad på uppgifter från några av deltagarna och med foton tagna av Bo Haufman och Sonja Svensson. Sonja har också bidragit med en video.

Årsmötet var snabbt avklarat under Håkan Skytts och Lars Björkmans säkra ledning. Anders Asplund, Lars Björkman och Göran Wallén valdes om till styrelsen för en period av 2 år och Leif Jönsson, Claes Brodda, Bo Haufman, och Peter Lee har ytterligare ett år kvar på sina mandat.

Sedan var det dags för kvällens föredragshållare Peter Lee – styrelseledamot i DESS, golfentusiast och mycket annat. Han talade om Wynton Marsalis, hans Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra och deras insatser för att hålla lågan efter Duke Ellington vid liv. Ett formidabelt och intressant föredrag enligt de närvarande!

Efter pausen bjöd DESS de närvarande på  ”superb musik” exekverad av två av Sveriges förnämsta musiker, Fredrik Lindborg  (barytonsax, sopransax och basklarinett) och Martin Sjöstedt (piano/bas), berättar DESS’ ordförande, Leif Jönsson, för webbplatsen.

Publiken fick sig till livs ett rent Ellingtonprogram med bl.a. Sunset and Mockingbird, In a Mellowtone,, Rubber Bottom, Blues in Blueprint och I’ve Got It Bad.

Att höra Fredrik Lindborg på ett så sällan hört instrument som basklarinett var en upplevelse”, säger Leif Jönsson.

Den använde Lindborg bl.a. i kvällens avslutningsnummer, Mood Indigo, som han anser tillhör ”världens vackraste musik”. Martin Sjöstedt ackompanjerade honom lyhört på sin bas.

Duon skiftade flitigt mellan sina olika instrument för att ge publiken prov på olika klanger i sina tolkningar.

Thomas Harne berättar mer om musiken och om kvällen i övrigt i nästa nummer av Bulletinen.

Tyvärr var publik fåtalig också den här gången.

Så en huvudpunkt på nästa möte den 7 maj blir en diskussion om DESS’ mötesverksamhet och hur få fler besökare på mötena, avslutar Leif Jönsson vår korta intervju av honom.

Ellington-serie på Sveriges Radio 1994 (4)

Så är det dags för fjärde programmet i Lars Westins och Jan Bruérs radioserie om Ellington och hans musik.

Den här gången är handlar det framför allt om de gyllene åren 1940-1941 men det finns också lite blickat framåt. Programrubriken är ”Jump for Joy”.

Liksom de föregåendet programmen finns det tillgängligt för DESS-medlemmar i radiodelen av Elllington-arkivet.

Ellington at Cirkus in 1966 – TV Concert set 2

duke-kissing-ella

Ella sings Satin Doll

Around a year ago we wrote, when presenting a copy of a telecast from Cirkus in Stockholm on Feb. 8, 1966: ”The first set of the Cirkus concert was undoubtedly telecasted by Swedish Television (and was also rebroadcasted by the French TV-station M6 around 1990). However, it is more doubtful if the second set was ever broadcasted. The new DESOR lists it as ”Pre-rec for SR telecast” and so far a video copy of a telecast of the second set has not surfaced.” A copy of the second part has now been found to prove that it was in fact telecasted, although the date is not exactly known. The name of the TV programme was ”Ella at Duke’s Place” and it is now presented to the DESS members in the Goodies Room. (mer…)

Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

DESS Bulletin 2016-1

It is now available also to non-DESS members (and to those who joined DESS in 2017 or this year) to read and download. Just go to the tab ”Bulletinen” on the front page.

This issue put the focus on Tyree Glenn. Bo Haufman portraits him in a four-page article.

Other interesting articles are – among others – one by Irving Townsend about Ellington in private and another by Ken Steiner reporting on the 23rd Ellington Study Group conference in Portland, Oregon.

Radio program – Bill Saxonis

Bill Saxonis’ 4 timmar långa Ellington-program på radiostationen WCDB (90.9-FM), Albany, New York finns nu i Ellington-arkivet uppdelat i fyra avsnitt.

Det första avsnittet har fokus på Ella Fitzgerald och det andra på Thelonius Monk. Den tredje delen ägnas åt Svend Asmussen och Dizzy Gillespie och den fjärde åt Buster Cooper och Joe Temperley.

Al Hirschfeld

The famous American caricaturist Al Hirschfeld made several caricatures of Duke Ellington. His most famous is the one he made in 1931 for the Irving Mills organization and which was used in the first of Mills’ ”advertising manual” for Ellington.

Steven Lasker has written a quite detailed article about it for the Al Hirschfeld Foundation. The article is called ”Backstory in Black and White” (http://www.alhirschfeldfoundation.org/spotlight/backstory-black-and-white).

YouTube

The ”Just Jazz” broadcasts on February 9, 1949 from ”The Hollywood Empire” club at 1539 Vine Street in Hollywood is available on YouTube since early January.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2roS9Z1_lds

Thank you to Brian Koller for drawing the attention of the Ellington community to this and to Patricia Willard for her comment to the YouTube posting.

Stockholm 1994 (8)

This is the final part of videos from the Ellington ’94 conference in Stockholm.

At the end of the first day, Professor Ted Hudson, at that time vice-president of the Washington D.C. Chapter of Duke Ellington Society, gave a presentation on Ellington’s childhood in Washington D.C. In it, he depicted the cultural, religious and racial environment, in which Ellington grew up.

On the last day, Walter van de Leur – the Billy Strayhorn specialist and nowadays professor Jazz and Improvised Music at the University of Amsterdam – gave his first Ellington conference presentation on his research work on Billy Strayhorn. He would give presentations on this topic at many other Ellington conferences and academic musicologist gatherings.

Also Dr. John Edward Hasse, Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., took the stage the last day. His topic was ”Ellington Storms Sweden” and he presented press and and public reactions to Ellington’s Swedish and European tour in 1939. He also talked about the work of his department at the Smithsonian to preserve the legacy of Ellington and sold many copies of his book ”Beyond Categories – The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington”, which had been published in 1993.

And then, after three full days of presentations, concerts and social mingling, it was time to thank the organizers, say good-bye and announce Ellington ’95.

 

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