The first issue of the DESS Bulletin for 2020 has just been published.
Its cover story is about Al Hibbler, who the editor of the Bulletin Bo Haufman calls Duke’s tonal pantomimist is his four-page biography of him. Read the article to understand why!
The song Gypsy Without A Song is also featured in the new issue. First, there is a reprint of an article by Mike Zirpolo about the song on his website Swing & Beyond (swingandbeyond.com) and then Bo Haufman discusses the song in a separate article.
There are several mystery issues about it. First there is the question of the title. Is it A Gypsy Without A Song or Gypsy WithoutA Song. His conclusion is that the correct title is Gypsy Without A Song (as given in NDESOR).
It is apparently a Juan Tizol composition but credited to Ellington. He was also credit for the arrangement of the song when it was recorded for Brunswick on June 20th, 1938 but in reality is was done by Lou Singer, who was working for Irving Mills at the time. NDESOR has the correct credits and Steven Lasker elaborates on it further in his liner notes to the Mosaic’s Ellington issue “The Complete 1932-1940 1932-1940 Brunswick, Columbia and Master Recordings”.
In the new Bulletin, Bo Haufman also follows up his article in the winter issue of the Bulletin on what he calls “occasional vocalists”, e.g. singers who appeared on records by the Ellington Orchestra or small groups of Ellingtonians. This time he covers six vocalists – Buddy Clark, Scat Powell, Leon LaFell, Jerry Kruger, Mary McHugh and Jean Eldridge.
Other articles in the new issues are about the Crystal Ballroom recording in Fargo, North Dakota (Anders Asplund), the new book on Johnny Hodges (Peter Lee), Duke Ellington i Uppsala 1971 (Bo Haufman) and Aaron Bell’s memories of Duke Ellington (reprint).
Of course there is also a report by Thomas Harne from DESS’ November meeting.