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Ellington ’92 in Copenhagen (1)

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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.

The full program is here.

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.

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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.

 

 


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