The new issue of the DESS Bulletin is on its way the subscribers=DESS members. They can look forward to some good reading.
Wild Bill Davis is the featured artist this time. His career and his collaboration with Ellington is covered in three articles – one by Bo Haufman, one by T.C. Pfeiler from his Wild Bill Davis website and one by Steve Voce from The Independant. There is no WBD discography in the Bulletin but readers can find one at http://www.wildbilldavis.com.
Another main feature is an 1965 interview with Johnny Hodges originally published in Jazz Journal. In it, Hodges talks among other things about how he learned from Sidney Bechet and worked with him, how he got set up in New York and joined Ellington in 1928 and the challenges running one’s own band. An extensive comment by Bo Haufman gives further value to the interview.
Mike Zirpolo, who runs the Swing and Beyond website (/swingandbeyond.com), has this time contributed an article on Harlem Airshaft. Also highly recommended!
In the new issue, Bo Haufman also contribute an article on Ellington’s lyricists as well as one how the Ellington songs Bensonality and Jam With Sam got their names.
Another theme of the Copenhagen conference was “Remembering Duke”, which allowed speakers to share the memories of Duke and experiences from working with him.
The first speaker on this theme was Leonard Feather, who of course had a lot to tell about his memories of Duke but also about himself.
Feather’s presentation also gave those, who has never heard Ellington sing, the opportunity to do so and also to hear Cootie Williams play trombone.
After his presentation, Feather called Clark Terry and Rolf Ericson onto stage to be interviewed about their times in the Ellington orchestra. It is a relaxed interview which gave the audience many laughs.
The presentation of the Ellington biographer Austin H. Lawrence on Ellington’s England 1933 tour also falls in the category of “remembering”.
At one point Luis Russell – the small big band leader – had told him that one of the most important things that happened to Duke was when he went to England. “He was a different man when he came back”, Russel said.
So for Lawrence “the trip to England helped Ellington grow” and this is the focus of his presentation.
För några år sedan gav DESS ut en CD till sina medlemmar med material från The Panther Room, Hotel Sherman, Chicago. inspelat från radioutsändningar i september/oktober år 1940. Två år senare var Duke Ellington och hans orkester tillbaka igen, med i huvudsak samma musiker, dock hade Barney Bigard, Cootie Williams och Jimmy Blanton ersatts av respektive Chancey Haughton, Ray Nance och Alvin “Junior” Raglin.
Orkesterns engagemang påbörjades den 13 juli och varade till den 13 augusti 1942 Denna period sammanföll med Ellingtons sista inspelningar innan det mer än två år långa inspelningsförbudet trädde i kraft. Från sistnämnda period finns inte lika mycket material bevarat, och ljudkvaliteten på för oss tillgängliga bandkopior, lämnar faktiskt en hel del att önska och det mesta därför outgivet. Det som presenteras här har alltså aldrig kommit ut på skiva.
Joya Sherrill i Manhattan Serenade
Detta är Joya Sherrills (ännu ej fyllda 18) debut som vokalist med Duke Ellington.Tråkigt nog är denna sekvens allt som vi har med Joya från det här tillfället. Hon skulle på allvar etablera sig som sångerska med orkestern ett par år senare.
I Godisrummet hittar DESS’ medlemmar en halv timmas musik i samma stil. (more…)
The Danish bass player and radioman Erik Moseholm was another speaker on this theme. His topic was the Danish bass tradition and the inspiration of Ellington’s basists on it. He talked about the guitarist/basist Niels Foss the first major Danish bass player, Oscar Pettiford, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and of course about himself. The classical bass teacher Oscar Hegner and his 4-finger-technique features also prominently in the presentation.
Moseholm’s presentation was followed by a live demonstration by two – at that time – young Danish bass players, Jesper Lundgaard and Mads Vinding. Unfortunately, the performance was not recorded, presumably for copyright reasons.
Another major theme for the conference was “The Passing on of The Ellington Tradition“.
Stanley Crouch was the first speaker on this theme. In his presentation “The Temporary Significance of Duke Ellington” he talked a lot about the early roots of jazz and placed Ellington in this context.
It was followed by a panel discussion, in which Crouch participated together with Andrew Homzy, Peter Watrous and Erik Wiedeman. The topic of the panel was Recreating Ellington – Problems and Rewards.
The chairman of the panel, Dan Morgenstern, asked it to focus on “to what extent is it possible to create/recreate Ellington’s music”. He also brought in the issue: “How can Ellington’s legacy best be used in today’s jazz”.
This led to an interesting discussion with comments with relevance also today.
The 10th Ellington Study Group Conference took place in Copenhagen May 28-31, 1992.
The lead organisers of the conference were Arnvid Meyer, Niels Toft and Karl Emil Knudsen – three leading figures in the Danish jazz and Ellington community. They organised the conference together with the recently founded “The Scandinavian Duke Ellington Society – Danish Chapter”.
It followed in the path of previous Ellington conferences and offered an ambitious program mixing musical events and presentations.
Unfortunately only recordings of the presentations are available and they are sound recording made by the organisers. It seems as if Benny Åslund, who attended the conference, did some filming but the videos have not been found so far.
Photo Bjarne Busk
Bjarne Busk was one of the participants in the conference. He remembers it as “a serious one, with a lot of information, and a lot of music”.
“On the first day of the conference, nine jazzclubs in Copenhagen had organized concerts and sessions linked to the conference and the conference participants had got 2 tickets to use how they liked.
At one of the places Mercer Ellington conducted a fine Danish big band. I also remember the closing dance with groups of musicians, including Buster Cooper and Clark Terry, and some with the great swedes Rolf Billberg, Arne Domnerus and Rolf Ericson.”
Bo Haufman was another participants. He was one of the first to register for the conference. “I was actually the third one to do so”, he says. “The Falconer Center in Copenhagen was the conference venue and it was absolutely perfect for this.
Leonard Feather is one of the presenters Bo remembers particularly well. “He started his presentation by saying “Duke is not dead”
“It was also very interesting to hear Erik Moseholm presentation about the inspiration of Ellington’s bass player to the Danish Bass Tradition bearing in mind that Denmark is known for its excellent bass player.”
“Among the many musical events, I remember in particular a concert by Arne Domnérus och Bengt Hallberg, says Bo also. “They had composed a special number called ”Jazz Å Du”.
Arnvid Meyer chaired the first session of the conference.
One angle in the program was Ellington in Denmark. Erik Wiedemann – Mr. Jazz in Denmark – was the first presenter on this theme. He talked about four Danish jazz recording with a strong Ellington influence.
The first one was Copenhagen Rhapsody played by the leading Danish big band in the early 30’s led by Erik Tuxen. Then Wiedemann gave the audience first a recording by a piano-bass combo with Borge Roger Henrichsen and Niels Foss, which played Preludium in C followed by Donkey Party played by a band led by Leo Mathisen. Both of them from the early 1940’s when Denmark was under occupation.
Wiedeman’s last example was actually a 1990 recording of an Ellington composition – The Mooche – but played in avant-guard way by Pierre Dørge & New Jungle Orchestra.