The second day of the conference ended with a concert by Doug Richard’s Great American Music Ensemble. It provided the audience with ”A Panorama of Ellington’s Music From The Late 20’s To The Late 50’s”. As an extra bonus, Jimmy Hamilton and Herb Jeffries appeared as guest artists and made the concert a very special and memorable event of the conference.
The orchestra, also known under its acronym GAME, was formed in the mid-80s when Richards was director of Jazz Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. It made a recording of standards from the Great American Songbook in 2001 but it was only released in 2016 on the Jazzed Media label.
Here is the full two-and-a-half hour concert (except for the very end, which will be published on April 29).
Besides the presentations included in the previous article on the conference, there were two more on the second day.
Dr. Ted Hudson – active member of Chapter 90 and much more – gave a presentation on ”Literary Sources For Ellington’s Music”.
It ends with a filmed performance of a song – ”Heart of Harlem” – that Ellington and Langston Hughes apparently wrote together. Ellington copyrighted it in 1945.
And Dr. Joseph McLaren talked about ”Ellington’s Afro-American Heritage”.
Storviks järnvägsstation som den kan ha sett ut vid Ellingtons besök 1939
Många av våra medlemmar kanske är osäkra på var man kan hitta Storvik på världskartan, eftersom orten idag kan tyckas obetydlig. På 1800-talets senare hälft då man byggde stambanorna i Sverige hade man kommit fram till att två viktiga järnvägslinjer skulle korsa varandra här, vilket gjorde att det lilla samhället blev en viktig trafikknutpunkt. Orten är idag en del av Sandvikens kommun och tågen fortsätter att passera här, men stationen är numera knappast i ursprungligt bruk.
Duke Ellington och hans orkester gjorde i april 1939 en månadslång turné i nord- och västeuropa och besökte bl.a. Frankrike, Holland och Belgien, men huvuddelen av turnén tillbringades i Sverige, som tycks ha utgjort huvudmålet för Duke och hans mannar. Den 22 april hade orkestern kommit till Eskilstuna där man hade en konsert och nästa morgon satte man sig på tåget till Storvik, där man skulle ha en konsert kl 14.30 på eftermiddagen för att senare fortsätta med tåg till Uppsala där ytterligare en konsert skulle gå av stapeln. Nedan ses några tidningsnotiser om det kommande evenemanget. (mer…)
Jimmy Jones also took part in the birthday party
The first part of Bob Udkoff’s birthday party ended with Duke at the piano playing New World A-Comin’, an important composition of his from the first part of the 1940’s. After a number of attemped intros, the second part of the celebrations starts with New York City Blues, a sweet little tune that was introduced at Carnegie Hall in 1947 and very seldom played in later years. Jimmy Jones joins Ellington at the piano in Fats Waller’s Just Squeeze Me, and then Johnny Hodges plays in his usual solo style Drag, Prelude To A Kiss and Things Ain’t What they Used To Be, the latter being cut short because the tape ran out.
New York City Blues and birthday chatter
After Johnny Hodges’ performances, it is Cootie Williams’ turn to handle I’m Beginning To See The Light and then Satin Doll is played yet another time as background to Duke’s introduction of Bob Udkoff and his wife Evelyn which is followed by a speech by Udkoff and a joint performance of the band and guests of Happy Birthday. (mer…)
The second issue of the DESS Bulletin is on its way to the DESS members and some might already have got it in their mailboxes.
It is an issue with total focus on Cat Anderson except for some DESS house-keeping information.
It starts with the presentation that the late Ellington specialist and aficinado, Alexandre Rado, made at the Ellington ’94 conference in Stockholm about his friend Cat Anderson. A video with his presentation was published on the DESS website on December 3 last year and can be viewed here.
Bo Haufman, the editor of the DESS Bulletin, contributes an interesting articles about ”The Cat” as a composer and has transcribed an interview with him, which was published in a Facebook group last year.
The Chairman of DESS, Leif Jönsson, writes very personally about ”My Cat”, for which he has a particular fondness and admiration and the new issue of the Bulletin also includes a reprint of an article about Cat Anderson by the late Leif Anderson in the Swedish jazz magazine Orkesterjournalen in April 1963.
It provides also a discography of Cat Anderson’s recordings under his own name and some examples of video- and sound files with Cat Anderson on YouTube.
The second day of the conference also had a very full program.
and the President of Chapter 90 of the Ellington Society, Terrell Allen, guided the audience through it with firm hands but also with a lot of jokes.
It started with the handing over of the Eddie Lambert gavel and some welcoming words.
Then Jerry Valburn asked Sjef Hoefsmit, Klaus Strateman, Gordon Ewing and ”the young man” Steven Lasker to join him at the podium for a discussion on ongoing research about Ellington.
The full video of the panel discussion is in Ellington Archive
Kurt Dietrich from Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin then took the floor. He came to the conference to tell about his PhD work on Lawrence Brown and to get some feed-back from the Ellington specialists gathered at the conference.
Follwing his doctoral dissertation and a number of journal articles, he published in 1999 his book, Duke’s ’Bones: Ellington’s Great Trombonists. It was follwed 10 years later by another book on a similar topic Jazz ’Bones: The World of Jazz Trombone. Both are highly recommended!
Another speaker during the second day was Andrew Homzy from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada – musicologist, arranger, big band leader, Duke Ellington as well as Charlie Mingus specialist and much more. He was a well-known profile at many Ellington Study Group conferences and is still an important part of the international network of Ellington aficionados and specialists.
This time he talked about Ellington’s La Plus Belle Africane.
Two other speakers during the second day were Bruce Kennan, member of the New York Chapter of the Duke Ellington Society, and Martin Williams.
The topic for Kennan’s presentation was ”Spoken Ellington” and he let the the audience listen to excerpts from a number of Ellington interviews.
Martin Williams spoke about ”Stealing from the Duke” and made his point with musical examples.
The other presentations from the second day of the Washington ’89 conference will be included in a later article together with some from the third day.
The day ended with a concert by Doug Richard’s The Great Americ Music Ensemble, which gave a panorama of Ellington’s music from the late 20’s to the late 50’s. Here is a tidbit from the concert. The full one will be included in the next article.