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DESS-mötet 18 feb. 2019

Det blev en trevlig och intressant kväll för de DESS-medlemmar som hade sökt sig till Franska Skolan.

Den inleddes med Sällskapets årsmötet. Det sköttes med sedvanlig bravur av Håkan Skytt

Foto: Bo Haufman

Styrelsen fick ansvarsfrihet och Leif Jönsson, Bo Haufman, Claes Brodda och Peter Lee valdes om till styrelsen för en period av två år. Anders Asplund, Lars Björkman och Göran Wallén har ett år kvar på sina mandat.

Rune Sjögren stod för kvällens föredrag, som han kallade Jazzatmosfär.

Foto Bo Haufman

Foto Sonja Svensson

Han berättade om sitt liv liv med jazzen från ungdomsåren till långt upp i livet och flätade ihop sitt kåseri med 12 väl valda inspelningar från 20-, 30-, 40- och 50-talet. Publiken fick bl.a. höra Slave to the Blues (Ma Rainey), Dippermouth Blues (King Oliver), The Sheik of Araby (Benny Goodman), Oh, Lady be Good (Count Basie), The Things We Did Last Summer (Fats Navarro) och Black and Tan Fantasy (Duke Ellington).

Tack vare DESS’ allstäddes närvarande it-stjärna Göran Axelsson kan de DESS-medlemmar, som inte kunde vara på plats, höra eller se föredraget på sin dator. Det finns i avdelningen DESS-möten på webbplatsen i video-, ljud och textversioner Där kan man också höra alla låtar som Rune spelade.

Efter pausen med mingel och tugg var det så dags för kvällens konsert, som Davor Kajfes stod för. Och det blev verkligen en höjdpunkt.

Foto Bo Haufman

“Det var en upplevelse att höra honom”, sade Sonja och Conny Svensson efter konserten. Och många höll med.

För de, som var med på Ellington ’94 i Stockholm, framkallade konserten också minnet av Davor Kajfes’ framträdande på Konserthuset med John Lewis. Det var en stark upplevelse!

Den här gången bjöd Davor på en bred kavalkad av godbitar förknippade med Ellington och Billy Strayhorn som Take The ’A’ Train, In A Sentimental Mood, I Got It Bad, Satin Doll, Caravan, Lotus Blossom, Isfahan, C Jam Blues.

Han avslutade konserten med en hyllning till Alice Babs och publiken fick höra Come Sunday, Heaven och All Mighty God.

Paris Blues, Prerecording Session, July 21, 1960

Bildresultat för Paris Blues

Paul Newman and Duke Ellington

In this film from 1960, Paul Newman acted in the role of a trombone player, but the one who was actually playing this horn was Murray McEachern, a well known instrumentalist, who in the past had played with Paul Whiteman and with the Casaloma Orchestra.

Billy Strayhorn and Murray McEachern play Paris Blues

One wonders why Ellington chose to use Murray McEachern for this event, when Lawrence Brown obviously was available too. Anyway, this recording session is a mixture of small and big band performances, with “Duke Ellington Group” starting off with one version of Paris Blues.

This group consists of Murray McEachern trb, Paul Gonsalves ts, Ellington p, Aron Bell b and Sam Woodyard dr.

The regular big band with an unknown guitarist then plays Big Bash, with solos by  Ray Nance, Lawrence Brown, Paul Gonsalves and the unknown guitarist. This is the only known recording of this title, although similar to later works by Duke.

A duo, Murray McEachern and Billy Strayhorn, plays another version of Paris Blues, before Duke sits down at the piano to play a solo rendition of Clothed Woman.

The regular big band, with Murray McEachern added and Billy Strayhorn replacing Duke at the piano then performs a third version of Paris Blues. (more…)

At The Piano: Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn

Bildresultat för Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn

From the early Fifties we have a privately recorded performance from a Fraternity Party in Madison, Wisconsin, believed to be from the end of 1953. Despite a bit of distorsion in the recording, this is quite an enjoyable performance by the two piano players. Duke is the main player, but in the middle of the tape, Billy Strayhorn plays three tunes, which makes possible an interesting  comparison  between the two piano styles. If they sometimes are are difficult to distinguish from each other when composing or arranging music, they are much simpler to keep apart when playing the piano. Click on the arrow below and you’ll be listening to Duke, playing one of his originals called Falling Like A Raindrop, a rarely played composition, only encountered three times in the New Desor discography.

Timner attributes the first few piano chords of the number starting the session, Deep Purple,  to Jimmy Hamilton, before Duke takes over at the piano to play Deep Purple, Falling Like A Raindrop and Sophisticated Lady. (more…)

Ellington DR Broadcasts (34)

The second ”goodie” in February is program 34 in the Duke Ellington series broadcast by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. The broadcast is available in the “Goodies” section of the website.

This program was broadcasted on October 13, 1985 and presented by Bjarne Busk.

It starts with a snapshot from Ted O’Reilly’s interview of Ellington in Toronto on March 17, 1970 in which Ellington talks about his stockpile of unreleased recording.

Next comes New Concerto For Cootie recorded on September 13, 1962. The day before Cootie Williams had rejoined the Ellington orchestra and recorded Ellington’s welcoming piece for him – Tutti For Cootie.

The broadcast then moves on to the February 1957 stockpile recording session, from which Busk let the listeners hear C-Jam Blues and In A Sentimental Mood with Paul Gonsalves soloing. He shares this role with Clark Terry in “C Jam Blues”.

After this, Busk features in the program an Ellington’s medley of French songs recorded on February 27, 1962 – My Heart Sings, My Man and No Regrets.

The last two are Edit Piaf songs –  Mon Homme and No Je Ne Regret Rien – and the first one an early 1940’s song Ma Mie written by the team Henri Herpin and Jamblan and first recorded by Jean Sablon.

However, “My Heart Sings” and “No Regrets” included in the Midnight In Paris album are from the recording session June 26, 1962. (more…)

Ellington DR Broadcasts (33)

The first ”goodie” in February is program 33 in the Duke Ellington series broadcast by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. The broadcast is available in the “Goodies” section of the website.

This program was broadcasted on September 29, 1985 and was presented by Bjarne Busk.

It is totally dedicated to the stock pile recording session December 28-29, 1966. The session took place in the RCA Studios in New York.

Busk starts with what transpired on the second day, which was Tony Watkin’s day.

He recorded three Ellington songs – I’m Just A Lucky So And So, Blues At Sundown and The Lonely Ones. The first one was originally a number for Al Hibler and the second one sung by Jimmy Grissom on a couple of occasions in 1952 and in My People.

Before Watkins, “The Lonely Ones” had been recorded by Johnny Ray and the Ellington band for Columbia on September 26, 1958.  and by Milt Grayson in a stockpile session on September 13, 1962.

None of the songs recorded by Watkins and played in the broadcast have been issued on K7, LP or CD so far.

Next in the broadcast , Ellington sits down at the piano for some meditation. On the tape box, the number is simply called Piano Track 1. Later it became Meditation.

Busk says that Ellington sat down at the end of the second day. However, according to Ellington discographies he actually did this at the start of the first day when he played a total of four songs for himself. (more…)

The Mercer Ellington donation

The program of the Ellington ’92 conference also included a presentation on the Mercer Ellington donation to Danish Radio. It was delivered by Erik Wiedemann, Bjarne Busk and Flemming Sjølund Jensen.

Photo: Bjarne Busk

First Erik Wiedemann spoke about Mercer Ellington’s donation of 781 Ellington tapes to Danish Radio on the condition that it would properly mixed onto new tapes.

Then Bjarne Busk and Flemming Sjølund Jensen followed up by letting the audience listen to examples from the archive.

Busk talked among other things about his excitement when he listened to the first tape, which started with what turned out to be Pastel from the Degas Suite. He also gave some figures on the donation. 443 tapes were studio recordings from 128 dates. There was also 69 tapes with live recordings from 35 occasions and 53 tapes with interviews of Ellington.

Photo: Bjarne Busk

Busk finished his presentation by playing a recording from the Aug. 18, 1966 session “which will never be issued” but also other examples from the tapes were included in it.

Sjølund Jensen focused his presentation on an untitled blues recorded on Nov. 23, 1968 and used it to demonstrate “how Ellington and the band developed their material”. He very much featured Lawrence Brown in his clips.

Brian Priestly on Duke – The Pianist

Brian Priestly was also one of the speakers at the Ellington ’92 conference in Copenhagen.

Photo Bjarne Busk

He talked about “Ellington The Pianist”.

During the 45 minutes presentation, Priestly played eight Ellington recordings with the piano at the centre and used them to highlight different aspects of Ellington’s piano playing. From time to time, he also sat down at the piano to give emphasis to his comments.

The music played in the program was Rockin’ in Rhythm (1937), Melancholia (1953), See See Rider (1972), (I’m Riding On the Moon and) Dancing on the Stars (1938), Band Call (1954), The Clothed Woman(1947), Bang Up Blues(1950) and Body and Soul (1961)




Smått och gott /Bits and pieces

Nästa DESS-möte

Det äger rum den 18 februari. Efter sedvanligt årsmöte kåserar konstnären Rune Sjögren på temat Jazzatmosfär. Efter mingel och förtäring blir det konsert med pianisten Davor Kajfes. Som Leif Jönsson skriver i senaste Bulletinen. “Förbered er på ett elegant pianospel som Ni inte får höra varje dag.”

Slut upp mangrant!!

New CD from Maison du Duke

La Maison du Duke has now provided its members with CD no. 11 in its series of rare Ellington material.

The particular focus of the new CD is the music that Ellington wrote and recorded for a production of the 18th century comedie Turcaret at La Comédie Francaise in Paris in 1960. But the CD has several other “goodies” like the soundtracks of  two TV shows  and the American Airlines “Astrofreight” film.

The full details of the can be found at http://maison-du-duke.com/c7j8vr2v58/fichiers/MDD011.pdf.

Brian Koller – the Ellington and film specialist – has provided the discographical details of the CD in a post to the LYM-Duke mailing list and we are happy to have his permission to make it available also to DESS members. It can be read here.

The Turcaret recordings have earlier been issued  on the DEMS K7 Eleven Years Later but the CD has of course better sound and seems to provide two more takes of Frontin. On the CD, the master takes have also been edited together into Turcaret Suite and it is welcome to hear it like this rather than in small snippets.

Those, who would like to get the CD, get it automatically as member of La Maison du Duke. It is easyyp become one. Just go to http://maison-du-duke.com/espace-membres/adherer-2/, fill in the form on this page and pay 20 EUR plus 5 EUR for postage.

New issue of Blue Light

DESUK members received the Winter issue 2018/2019 of Blue Light quite some time ago. It came with another CD produced in collaboration between DESUK and DESS.

The main feature in this final issue of Blue Light with Ian Bradley as editor is a very substantial article by Professor Anna Celenza about Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and the Adventures of Peer Gynt in America. She holds the Thomas E. Caestecker Chair of Music at Georgetown University and the article is a developed from a paper on “Duke Ellington’s Late Extended Works” she presented in 2010.

In the article, Professor Celenza places the Ellington/Strayhorn Peer Gynt Suite in its American cultural context and takes the contrarian view that the work is “one of the most innovative examples of program music in the Ellington/Strayhorn repertoire”.

It is obvious that the Ellington legacy is more and more in the hands of academic musicologist. They will present the result of their work in academic conference papers and in articles in academic journals. As a result, it will be difficult for a more general audience interested in Ellington follow the discussion on Ellington’s work and life. Hopefully, Professor Celenza’s article will set an example to be followed by other musicologists and researchers.

Possibly, this could be a topic for discussion at the next Ellington Study Group Conference, which take place next year in Washington D.C. at the initiative of Anna Celenza (!).

The second article in the latest issue of Blue Light is also intersting. It is a reprint from an 1940 issue of Detroit Free Press Sunday Magazine of an interview with Duke Ellington in his appartement in New York.


Copenhagen Sep. 30, 1959 corrected

The file with the Copenhagen Sep. 30, 1959 concert made available to DESS members on Jan. 26 turns out to be something totally different. It brings together selections from Ellington’s concert in Paris on Sep.20, 1959 (both first and second concerts) and the second concert in Stockholm on Sep. 26, 1959.

We apologize for having put it on the website and thank Bjarne Busk for bringing the issue to our attention.

However, when the file was published, it was believed to be a genuine recording of the Copenhagen concert.

It was found by the DESS group charged with cataloguing Benny Åslund’s tape collection, which had been donated to DESS.

In the fall of 2011, the group sent the file together with a number of files of Ellington concerts in Sweden to Sjef Hoefsmit, who wrote about them in the 2012-1 issue of the DEMS Bulletin.

Under the headline A lot of Swedish NEW FINDS, he reported what the group had found. Amongst other things Hoefsmit said “A totally unknown (to us) concert is from Copenhagen, 30Sep59, K.B. Hallen”.

He followed this up by publishing a correction sheet (1107) to NDESOR with the “new” information.

So, not surprisingly, the DESS group thought that they had found an unknown recording of the Copenhagen concert.

However, what Hoefsmit forgot when he said “a totally unknown concert to him  was that 20 years earlier at the Ellington conference in Los Angeles in 1991, he had said and written that the concert was “a fake” in a review of the 3rd edition of the Willie Timner’s Ellingtonia”. He repeated this in comments on Timner’s 4th edition in the DEMS Newsletter 2001-3.

Hoefsmit built his view on a presentation Erik Wiedemann made at the Ellington conference in Washington D.C. in 1989. Wiedemann had by then published a very detailed paper on Ellington’s visits to Denmark and recordings made of the concerts there. As regards the 1959 concert, he says: “There seems to be no recordings of the concerts.”


The source of the “fake” file is not known to us but it was apparently rather widely circulated among Ellington collectors. Benny Åslund had it, Willie Timner had it and it is also listed in the catalogue for the auction of more than 100 reel-to-reel tapes belonging tho the French Ellington collector André Mahus, which Sjef Hoefsmit (!) organised for his widow.

The Jan. 26 article on the website has been deleted. However, the file in the Goodies Room will stay there for the time being and a list of its contents is here.





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