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Ottawa Ellington ’90 Concert 1 part 4

The final part of the concert brought Alice Babs back on stage.

She starts with a couple of selections from Elington’s Sacred Concerts in arrangements by Andrew Homzy. First Alice sings The Lord’s Prayer: My Love from Third Sacred Concert and then Freedom from Second Sacred Concert.

Then she moves on to There’s Something About Me – the song Duke gave her back in 1967 and which she recorded in 1974 for an album which got the same name. Babs also sung the song at the Ellington concert in Malmö in 1973.

After this number the mood in the concert changes.

Introducing what was to come Alice said: “Sometimes the Maestro wrote only a few chords and said to me now you do what you want with them. And now Andrew has done something similar for me but with a little bit more of melody.” And then she and the orchestra jumped into The Duality of the Blues.

The concert ends with another swinging number which Babs learnt from a 78 when she was a teenager – I’m Checkin’ Out – Goom Bye.

When it was over, the conference audience had been treated to a fantastic concert and the DESS website is happy to be able to share it with DESS’ members and other visitors to the website.

With it, we – Ulf and Anders – wish you A HAPPY NEW YEAR and hope that you will continue to come back here. It is all for the love of Duke as Alice Babs often said.


Ottawa Ellington ’90 – Concert 1 part 3

After the break, Andrew Homzy Jazz Orchestra was back at the stage – this time for strong swinging session.

“For the second set, Homzy’s orchestra dug up some unusual material: “Royal Garden Blues, ADDI, Rock Skipping at the Blue Note and Battle Royale”, says Susan Markle in her report from the conference to the Chicago Chapter of Duke Ellington Society.

Royal Garden Blues is of course not a song associated with Ellington repertoire but he recorded this Spencer Wiiliams song with the full orchestra for RCA-Victor in 1946 and for Capitol Transcriptions in 1947. It also appeared on the Back to Back album with Johnny Hodges in 1959.

ADDI is part of the Togo Brava Suite and was performed quite frequently in Ellington concerts in 1971-1973. Billy Strayhorn’s Rock Skippin’ At The Blue Note made its debut on the Masterpieces album in 1951 but lived a quite obscure life after that until it was revived in the And His Mother Called Him Bill album. Battle Royal was a joint feature for the Ellington and Basie bands on First Time album.

The arrangements of Andrew Homzy bring them to life with a personal twist at the concert.


Ottawa Ellington ’90 – Concert 1 part 2

In part 2 of the concert, Alice Babs joins the orchestra.

She sings four songs and starts approprietly with I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart, which is  the title of the whole concert.  Then follows three songs from the early 1940 period – Warm Valley, I Don’t Mind and Me and You. They seems all to be in arrangements by Andrew Homzy.

Warm Valley got words by the lyricist Bob Russell. It must have been no later than mid-fifties since the first vocal of Warm Valley was recorded by Abbey Lindcoln in 1956. Babs recorded it with Nils Lindberg for the Alice Babs Serenading Duke Ellington (1975) and Far Away Star (1958) albums.

I Don’t Mind was recorded by Ellington and Ivie Anderson at the last Ellington session for RCA-Victor in 1942. In 1945, it was a feature for Marie Ellington. Billy Strayhorn set the words to the Ellington melody.


Ottawa Ellington ’90 – Concert 1 part 1

The first day ended with a concert by Andrew Homzy Jazz Orchestra with Alice Babs featured in two parts of the concert.

The first part was two extended works by Duke Ellington – The Queen’s Suite and Suite Thursday.

From the first, the orchestra played Northern Lights “inspired by Duke’s experience near Ottawa of the Aurora Borealis”. And when it was played, the Northern Lights shimmered on a big screen while the auditorium was totally in darkness.

Suite Thursday, which followed, was played in its entirety and without any breaks.

We should all be grateful to Sjef Hoefsmit for doing his best with his video camera to preserve this magnificent concert for us.

It will be brought to DESS members and other visitors to the website in four parts and Alice Babs sings with the orchestra in part 2 and 4. The split in four parts is done provide the best quality possible with a reasonable size of the videos.

Here is the first part:


Ellington ’90 in Ottawa

The 8th Ellington Study Group conference took place in Ottawa on May 17-20, 1990. It was the second one organized in Canada. The first one there was in Toronto in 1986 (5th).

Lois K. Moody was the general co-ordinator of the conference and she had an effective organizing committee at her side. Andrew Homzy was one of the members of the committee and responsible for the musical program of the conference.

The conference was well attended and it had the biggest number of participants at an Ellington conference so far.

The conference opened on May 18 following an evening reception on May 17. Ann Ledgister – co-ordinator of Ellington ’89 – passed the Eddie Lambert gavel to Lois Moody, who welcomed the participants and presented the members of the organizing committee.

Many stalwarts of the Ellington conferences were of course in Ottawa like Jerry Valburn, Sjef Hoefsmit, Jack Towers, Alice Babs, Patricia Willard and others. They gave presentations, led panels and shared generously their knowledge on Ellington.


But there was also those who were fairly new to the conferences. One of them was Lee  Farley, who flew in from Germany where he lived at that time.

“One feature of the conference I remember is how incredibly well organized it was. Everything occurred when it was supposed to, and no one seemed flustered about anything.

The conference orchestra was well rehearsed, well led (by Andrew Homzy) and well received. Their performance with the group of Ellington alumni and Kenny Burrell was a standout that was scheduled for a later national broadcast on CBC radio. I particularly remember Alice Babs in a duet with Kenny Burrell, although I don’t remember at which of the conference concerts that occurred.”

The musical program was no doubt a strong point of the conference. Andrew Homzy Jazz Orchestra from Montreal played two concerts – one in the evening of the first day and one as the last event of the conference. It regaled the audience with music from some Ellington suites, some more “pop” tunes , some seldom-heard Ellington and Sacred Concert music. Alice Babs shared the stage with the orchestra in both concerts and got an enthusiastic response to her performance.

The second night belonged to a small group of Ellingtonians – Harold Ashby, Wild Bill Davis, John Lamb, Butch Ballard – to which Kenny Burrell was added. It was apparently a concert “wild and wonderful”.

There were a total of 18 presentations and three panels.

Program (full version)

One group of the presentations was about key figures in the Ellington band like Sonny Greer, Ray Nance, Tricky Sam Nanton and Harry Carney. Another group shared memories of meetings with the Duke. A third group covered specific events in Ellington’s life like Ellington’s tour of Europe in 1939 or when he got on the cover of Time Magazine. A Tone Parallel to Harlem was subject of a very substantial presentation and A Drum Is A Woman was shown on the screen. There was also a set of presentation related to the work done to unveil and consolidate information about Ellington’s career and whereabouts.

The three panels were about the Ellington collection at the Smithsonian, the Sacred Music Concerts and playing in  the Ellington orchestra.

All this will be available on the DESS’ website in one form of the other during the next three weeks.









Smått och gott i december 2019

Grace Cathedral 16 april 1970

Nyligen gjorde Ellington- och filmspecialisten Brian Koller ännu ett av sina fynd. Han fann på eBay ett rullband med en inspelning av en konsert i Grace Cathedral i San Francisco den 16 april 1970 och lyckades köpa det.


Det har visserligen varit känt länge att Ellington med en mindre grupp gav två konserter med i Grace Cathedral i San Francisco i april 1970 men det är först nu som det finns en inspelning att lyssna på.

Konserterna i Grace Cathedral den 15 och 16 april föregicks av en liknande konsert i Crockett nära San Francisco.

I Grace Cathedral framträdde Ellington tillsammans med Wild Bill Davis på orgel, Tony Watkins sång, Joe Benjamin bas och Rufus Jones trummor. Möjligen var det samma grupp som spelade i Crocket

Grace Cathedral program pdf

Konserten på bandet är knappt 1 timma och 23 minuter lång och det är möjligt att det inte är hela konserten. Stratemann säger att de två konserterna var c a 2 timmar långa men detta måste bygga på tidningsuppgifter. Om man tittar på sidan av bandboxen, som finns avfotograferad i eBayannonsen, tycks det stå “part” i slutet av raden och det skulle möjligen peka på att slutet av konserten saknas. Men vem vet?

Ellington och hans grupp spelar totalt 21 melodier.

Konserten inleds med  ett avsnitt där Wild Bill Davis. spelar musik ur Second Sacred Concert och avslutar med Dear Old Southland. Den upprepas av hela gruppen innan Ellington tar över och spelar fyra Strayhornkompositioner – den sista – Satin Doll – tillsamans med hela gruppen. Ellington fortsätter sedan med att prata om “The River” och spela två ännu inte identifierade melodier. Avdelningen avslutas med New World A-Comin’.

Därefter förenar sig Watkins med gruppen och sjunger I Like The Sunrise, My Mother, My Father And Love och In The Beginning.

Den sista avdelningen är Strayhorn på nytt men den här gången spelad av Wild Bill Davis innan Ellington förenat sig med honom i avslutningen Take The A Train.

Koller har generöst gjort det möjligt för alla vänner av Ellington att lyssna till hans fynd. Det är bara att gå till http://filmsgraded.com/grace för att kunna avnjuta konserten.

Den som vill lyssna på konserten sammanhängande kan göra det här

På Youtube

Brian Koller följer också noga vad som dyker upp på YouTube och låter Ellingtonvänner veta det via gruppen DUKE-LYM.

Här är några av hans senaste upptäckter.

Duke Ellington Orchestra Rehearsal Paris 1950

Många har kommenterat den här videon i DUKE-LYM. Den tycks ha filmats någon gång mellan den 12-16 april 1950  i La Ferme d’Auteuil i Paris’ utkanter i samband med ett pressevenemang för Ellingtons Europaturné. I filmen syns bl.a. Shorty Baker, Harry Carney, Jimmy Hamilton, Alvin “Bo” McCain, Billy Strayhorn, Al Killiian, Johnny Hodges, Quentin Jackson, Al Celley, Nelson Williams, Russell Procope, Kay Davis and Odessa “Chubby” Kemp.

Duke Ellington on the Ed Sullivan Show 1959

Videon är ett PR-framträdande av Elington för Anatomy of A Murder i Ed Sullivans TV-show 1959. Också Otto Preminger får ta emot publiken applåder.

Duke Ellington at Palermo Pop 70

Ellington framträdde på Palermo Pop Festival den 20 juli 1970. I videon spelar orkestern “Aristocracy a La Jean Lafitte” från New Orleans Suite med den kanadensiske trumpetaren Fred Stone som solist på flygelhorn.


Concerts in Sweden 1963

Stockholm, February 6, 1st concert, part 2

Bildresultat för Duke Ellington in 1963

The Duke in 1963

The above picture of Duke Ellington is from a TV interview, by Sven Lindahl carried out on January 1, 1963 at Croydon in England, where Ellington is asked questions about his pending tour in Sweden for the TV program Aktuellt-Apropå. The interview was the result of a co-operation between BBC and SRTV. It is available here.

Bildresultat för Cootie Williams in 1963

Cootie is back!

DESS members will find the second part of this concert in the Goodies Room. (more…)

Concerts in Sweden 1963

Stockholm, February 6, 1st concert, part 1

Relaterad bild

The Duke in 1963

The Duke Ellington band in 1963 was one of the outstanding ones. The first European tour that year started in England on January 12 with the last performance being that in Paris on March 1. There were numerous concerts in England and on the continent and bearing in mind that Ellington and his men were coming back in June and embarking on  a Middle East tour later in the same year, this must have been one of the busiest years ever for the band. This has resulted in a great many recordings available from this period, especially from performances in Sweden.

Listen to Jimmy Hamilton in Silk Lace

It was now more than three years after Duke’s previous visit to Sweden, and the band personnel had been subject to a number of  changes, the most important had taken place in the brass section, with Cootie Willams and Lawrence Brown returning after a long absence, whereas the sax section was 100% intact. On the above date, there were two concerts from the Stockholm Concert Hall.  We here present the first of these, but due to the length of it we have to divide in two parts, so here is the first part. You’ll find all this music in the Goodies section. (more…)

Blue Light 2019-3

Höstnumret av Blue Light har just nått medlemmarna av Duke Ellington Society UK (DESUK)

Blue Lights nye redaktör Patrick Olsen har valt “to give something back” som tema för det nya numret.

Det innehåller substantiella artiklar med högt läsvärde.

Brian Priestly – pianist, arrangör, radioröst och mer – bidrar med en artikel om musiken Ellington komponerade för en uppsättning i Paris av skådespelet Turcaret som skrevs i början av 1700-talet. Han använder sig flitigt av material från en fransk radiodokumentär från 2004, Duke au TNP (Théâtre National Populaire) och från den CD med musiken till Turcaret som La Maison du Duke gav ut förra året (MDD 011). Dokumentären kan höras här men den är naturligtvis på franska.

Roger Boyes  – Ellingtonspecialist och DESUKs vice ordförande – fortsätter där han slutade i förra numret av Blue Light i sin artikel Sherman Shuffle. Den handlade om Ellington i Chicago och Mellanvästern sommaren 1942. Den nya har rubriken Cabin in the Sky men handlar inte om filmen utan om Ellingtons engagemang av Shorty Baker i mitten av september 1942 och utvecklingen av trumpetsektionen från tre till fyra medlemmar.

Men Boyes’ sätt att ta en liten tråd och låta den bli en matta av insikter och associationer ger oss en artikel med vidare utblickar än så. Det skall bli intressant att se hur han använder det i andra delen av artikeln som skall handla om filmen Cabin in the Sky.

Frank Griffit – musiker, musiklärare och kompositör – bidrar till det nya numret av Blue Light med en längre recension av The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington som kom ut för nästan fem år sedan. Essäsamlingen fick mycker blandade recensioner, de flesta kritiska. En orsak till det var den filosofiska ram som huvudredaktören Edward Green gav boken.

Griffits recension är välkommen därför att den bidrar till att nyansera bilden av boken, som innehåller många bra artiklar med starkt forskningsinnehåll av en kvalificerad grupp av Ellingtonspecialister och musikforskare.

Eftersom DESS har en överenskommelse med DESUK att nummer av Blue Light äldre än två år kan göras tillgängliga för DESS’ medlemmar finns nu också de fyra numren för 2017 tillgängliga i Ellingtonarkivet

Ellington DR Broadcasts (35)

The first ”goodie” in December is program 35 in the Duke Ellington series of broadcast by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. The broadcast is available in the “Goodies” section of the website.

The program was broadcasted on October 27, 1985 and presented by Jørgen Frigård.

He had decided to focus on selections from 1967.

The program starts with two selections from the stockpile session March 15, 1967. In the recording session they are simply called No. 1 and No. 3. Later they were issued as The Intimacy Of The Blues and Tell Me ‘Bout My Baby. The latter is listed as I Don’t Want Nobody But You in NDESOR

Unfortunately, it is not possible to say if Tell Me ‘Bout My Baby is take 3 or 4 since it is faded out in the broadcast before the end.

Then Frigård lets us hear the first of three selections from The Jaywalker recorded on April 4, 67. Frigård gives the title as WARR but in the discographies and on the Storyville Jaywalker CD it is called The Biggest (WARR).

Later in the program he features Ego and The Little Purple Flower from the same session.

The next stockpile session in the program is the one from June 23, 1967.

First we hear Swamp Goo. According to Benny Åslunds discographical notes on the DR Ellington Broadcasts, it is take 5 but it can also be take 6 issued on the Musicmasters 5041 CD. Then comes Girdle Hurdle and Blood Count. For some reason Frigård has inserted an excerpt of an interview with Harry Carney between the two songs.

The program ends with two more selections from June 23, 1967 – Up Jump (take 4) and Rue Bleu (take 2) – and My Little Brown Book from a RCA recording session on August 30, 1967.


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