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Towne Casino, Cleveland, September 1952


The Towne Casino was a local jazz bar situated in Cleveland. During its short years of existence (1951-53) it featured many great musicians such as Duke Ellington, JJ Johnson, Sarah Vaughan and Coleman Hawkins. The club (like some other similar venues) suffered bomb attacks, thought to be racially motivated, and therfore hade to close down its activity on August 1, 1953.

Betty Roché sings All Of Me

Duke Ellington and His Orchestra played at the Towne Casino for a week (17 -25 September) in 1952. As far as known this was the only occasion Duke and his men played there. The New Desor has one session dated September 1952, from a local broadcast and numbered DE5217a-d, and furthermore, Amazon offers an on demand produced CD-R which is dated 17 September 1952 (Link:https://www.amazon.com/Duke-Cleveland-1952-Ellington/dp/B01LTHY7ME). The latter is likewise from a broadcast, but not to be found in the New Desor. You’ll find both recordings in the Goodies Room. (more…)

Wolfram Knauer on BB&B

Wolfram Knauer, Director of the Jazzinstutut Darmstadt, did his first appearance at an Ellington Study Group Conference in Copenhagen in 1992.

He had chosen to talk about Simulated Improvisation in Black, Brown and Beige. The presentation built on an article Dr. Knauer had published in the journal The Black Perspective in Music in 1990.

In a 1986 article, André Hodier used the term “simulated improvisation” to described an element in his compositions from the 1950s and Knauer considers that Ellington’s Black Brown and Beige is an early example of a comparable technique.

He gives several examples of this from the first part of the suite but starts his talk with some background on BB&B.

To help the audience to follow the presentation, Dr. Knauer had prepared a two-page handout, which is available here.

It is very good to have it at hand when listening to the talk.




Duke Ellington’s Shakesperean Suite – SUCH SWEET THUNDER

Duke Ellington - live at Ravinia 1957

We have at hand a tape with a recording of Duke Ellington’s second public performance of his complete Shakespearean Suite, which took place at Stratford, Ontario in Canada on September 5, 1957 during that year’s Stratford Shakespearean Festival. The first recorded live performance is from April 28 at New York City’s Town Hall, studio recordings were made in April-May 1957. Curiously enough, the two different live recordings were not fully complete, the Town Hall recording omitting Circle Of Fourths and the Stratford one missing Half The Fun. Parts of the suite had also been performed at the Ravinia Park Festival at Highland Park, Ill on July 1, 1957

Half The Fun, Studio Recording

The Stratford concert was broadcast by a Toronto radio station, and the recording we present in the Goodies Room is from this radio broadcast. A complication with that is a non-scheduled interruption due to technical problems. The break occurs between Circle Of Fours and Sonnet In Search Of A Moor, perhaps adding a little 50ies-flavour to the recording. (more…)

The Duke and The Tiger

Duke Ellington recorded Tiger Rag for the first time on January 8, 1929 for Brunswick. It was an extended version, which was issued on a 12 inch 78 (Brunswick 6510)

At the Ellington ’92 conference in Copenhagen, Dan Morgenstein – Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University for more than 30 years – spoke about Ellington’s performances of Tiger Rag and how he used the Tiger Rag themes in many imagitative ways.

He had spoken on this topic already at the Ellington ’83 conference in Washington D.C. but only a very short excerpt of that presentation has been preserved.

Strayhorn-serie på Sveriges Radio (2)

Det andra programmet i Jan Bruérs serie om Billy Strayhorn sändes den 13 september 1977 och har fokus på 50-och 60-talen. Det slutar med Strayhorns sista komposition Blood Count.

Dessförinnan låter Jan lyssnarna höra bl.a. Drawing Room Blues, Watch Your Cue, Strange Feeling, Star-Crossed Lovers, Grace Valse och Blue Bird of Delhi

Under sommaren planerar vi att låta DESS’ medlemmar lyssna till en annan Ellingtonserie av Jan Bruér medan de kopplar av i hängmattan. Serien heter Hertigens spelmän och som namnet säger handlar den om olika medlemmar av Ellingtons orkester.

Strayhorn-serie på Sveriges Radio (1)

Förra året publicerade webbplatsen Jan Bruérs och Lars Westins programserie på Sveriges Radio om Duke Ellington och hans musik. Alla tio programmen finns tillgängliga för DESS’ medlemmar här.

Idag presenterar vi det första av två program om Billy Strayhorn, som Jan Bruér ställt samman. Programmet sändes den 6 september 1977.

Det första programmet har naturligtvis fokus på Strayhorns tidiga samarbete med Ellington men ger också exempel på när de sitter ner vid pianot tillsammans.

Musiken i program är bl.a. Something To Live For, Blues A-Poppin’, Flamingo, Chelsea Bridge, Passion Flower, Midriff och Lotus Blossom. Tyvärr är bandet med radioinspelningen skadat mot slutet av Midriff.

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