We will finish our series of articles from Ellington ’90 in Ottawa with another three selections from the rich program of the conference.
Our first selection is the presentation of Kurt Dietrich on Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton. He did a presention on Ellington’s trombonists at the Ellington ’89 in Washington D.C. and his presentation in Ottawa was in a sense a follow-up to it.
His two books Ellington’s Trombonists and Jazz Trombonists are highly recommended.
By the time of the Ottawa conference, John E. Haase had been Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for six years. In this capacity, he was leading the work to turn the big collection of Duke Ellington documents and papers, which were transferred to the Smithsonian in 1988, into the Ellington Archive.
On the first day of the conference he chaired a panel of key members of his team, who presented different aspects of the Ellington Archive. On the last day of the conference, Haase put on his research cloths and gave a presentation titled Ellington Storms Europe, 1939 on Ellington’s second visit to Europe.
As in some earlier Ellington Study Group conferences, there was also a panel with mostly Ellington alumni. Harold Ashby, Butch Ballard, Bobby Boyd, Kenny Burrell, Wild Bill Davis and John Lamb was part of it and Patricia Willard was the moderator.
In the beginning of February 1968, Duke Ellington made a short visit to French-speaking Canada with his orchestra. They performed at the Capitol Theatre in Ottawa on February 2 and in Montreal the day after.
Mildred MacDonald, a broadcasting pioneer and role model for women in the field of broadcasting, who worked for CBC for almost 50 years, decided that she should get an interview with Ellington. Without an appointment, she went to the dressing area behind the stage and managed to get the attention of the Duke, who agreed to an short interview before he had to get dressed for the concert.
In the final end, MacDonald managed to get a 25 minutes interview and she focused it on his recent tour in Asia.
22 years later. she talked about the interview at the Ellington ’90 conference in Ottawa and let the conference participants listen to it. Sjef Hoefsmit filmed it and this is why the DESS website another 20 years later can share it with its readers.
Unfortunately, the picture quality of the video is so and so but the sound quality is fairly acceptable.
Using sound editing tools, it has been possible to make the sound of the presentation a little bit better and the result is available to DESS members in the Goodies area.
Den här gången bestod mötet av tre delar. Först var det årsmötet med val och annat. Sedan höll John “Jonte” Högman ett föredrag om sin relation till Ellington och hans musik och därefter spelade Joakim Falk Blue Devils lite Ellington och annat.
Håkan Skytt och Lars Björkman skötte årsmötet med sedvanlig bravur.
Styrelsen fick ansvarsfrihet för sin skötsel av föreningen under 2019. Valet av styrelseledamöter fick sin karaktär av att Leif Jönsson avsagt sig uppdraget som ordförande och Anders Asplund lämnar som DESS’ kassör efter 15 år på posten.
Bo Ahnegård hade lett valberedningen.
På dess förslag valde årsmötet Bo Haufman till ny ordförande. Han har ett år kvar på sitt styrelsemandat. Lars Björkman, Thomas Harne och Owe Persson utsågs till styrelseledamöter på två år. Claes Brodda, Leif Jönsson och Peter Lee sitter kvar i styrelsen ytterligare ett år.
Bo tackade för förtroendet
och avtackade sedan Leif Jönsson och Anders Asplund för deras stora arbete för DESS och främjandet av intresset för Duke Ellington.
Efter årsmötet var det dags för kvällens föredragshållare saxofonisten m.m. John “Jonte” Högman att ta över scenen.
Han höll ett föredrag präglat av kunskap och hans kärlek till Ellingtons musik.
Det var mycket uppskattat och publiken önskade Högman välkommen tillbaka.
Efter den sedvanliga pausen med mingel och förtäring tog Joakim Falk Blue Devils över.
Gruppen, som bestod av Joakim Falk, kornett, Adam Falk, klarinett och tenorsax, Gunnar Åkerhielm, piano och Nicklas Wennström, bas, ingår i normala falll i den lite större gruppen Spicy Advice Ragtime Band.
Spelstilar och melodival hämtar man från förra seklets tidigare decennium, dvs 10-, 20- och 30-talen. Vi fick, säger Thomas Harne i sin rapport till webbplatsen, lyssna till en hel del Ellingtonmusik, men också till låtar förknippade med andra ledande jazz-personligheter under denna tid.
Snibor och The Mooche i två ganska bokstavstrogna versioner inledde programmet. I det senare numret presenterade sig alla musikerna i tur och ordning, en growlande klarinett, sordinerad kornett, raka baslinjer i en klassisk ”walking bass” med mjuk stor ton, tenorsolo i den äldre skolan samt välvalda pianotoner.
Ensemblespelet var i början något ruffigt, men ju längre tiden led, desto bättre lät samspelet och soloinslagen. ”Jonte” Högman hoppade in i Dinah och smälte väl in i bandet. Samtliga levererade smakfulla solon.
Mood Indigo bjöd på ett längre, läckert pianosolo samt ett kornett-solo i den högre skolan. Oriental Man, med en hänvisning till Johnny Dodds, lät oss höra ett tidstypiskt pianospel.
I Singin´ the Blues, som bl a ingick i Bix Beiderbeckes repertoar, briljerade Nicklas Wennström i långa melodilinjer med sin stråkbas. You Always Hurt the One You Love, var en trevlig bekantskap med refrängsång av Joakim på klassiskt manér. Black and Tan Fantasy följde därefter.
In the Gloaming, med rötter så långt tillbaka som 1877, blev en ny bekantskap för de flesta, medan slagdängan I´m Confessing that I Love You fick flera att gnola i refrängen. The Chant med referens till Jelly Roll Morton kom sedan och spelades med inspirerande hastighet och fantasi. Konserten avslutades med Creole Love Call.
De flesta välkända ansikten var på plats men mer publik är alltid att önska.
The fourth ”goodie” in February is program 37 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 24 November 1985 and provide materials from three stockpile sessions in 1962 and from one in 1967.
It starts with four selections from the 25 May, 1962 session – Black And Tan Fantasy (take -3), Boo-Dah (take -2), One More Twist (listed as Once More Once in NDESOR) and The Feeling Of Jazz (take -3) sung by Milt Grayson with Ellington at the piano. Black And Tan was issued in the Famous 5 LP box (M.F.D. G4RS-2536) while the other three are unissued.
Then the broadcast picks songs from the 3 July 1962 session – again The Feeling Of Jazz but this time in a small band version and the rather odd Drinking Again (nc) sung by the specialist in romantic ballads Jimmy Vale. The full version of The Feeling Of Jazz is take -4, which has been issued on Bob Thiele‘s Doctor Jazz label.
The next three selections are from 24 May 1962 – Flirtibird (take -4), Smada (take -1) and What am I Here For? (take -2). They are all in the “Famous 5 LP” box.
The broadcast ends with The Shepherd Who Watches Over The Night Flock (take -2) and Salome (take -1) both recorded at a stockpile session on 23 June 1967 in Los Angels, not New York as the presenter says. Both of them are included in Storyville’s The Jaywalker CD.
The third ”goodie” in February is program 36 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 10 November 1985 and presented by Jørgen Frigård.
The broadcast starts with a short excerpt of Eggo (take 7) from the film The Jaywalker. It was heard in its entirety in program 35.
Frigård then continues the program with a section of another song from “The JayWalker” – Traffic Extension – followed by an excerpt of an interview from 1985 in which Thad Jones tells about his experience playing in the Ellington band for a week in August 1963.
Frigård follows up the interview with a portion of Asphalt Jungle as Ellington played it at Olympia in Paris on 1 March 1963. He heard Thad Jones use it in one of his jazz lectures at Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen.
Then the focus turns to Billy Strayhorn. In an interview from March 1962, Ellington talks about the pleasure to sit down in a studio with a new Strayhorn arrangement and start to work on it. It leads into an early version of Amad from Far East Suite recorded at a stockpile session 17 March 1965.
The broadcast ends with eight selections from the stockpile session 25 August 1972 with Ellington at the piano and Anita Moore and Tony Watkins doing the vocals. Azix Lateef is on drums on Loca Madi. The selections are:
Melancholia, Loco Madi, Le Sucrier Velours, The Blues Ain’t, I’m Afraid, I Don’t Know About You (take 3 and 4), New World A-Comin’ (complete) and Lotus Blossom (nc)
Man with Four Sides is one of Ellington’s theatrical projects.
In Music Is My Mistress, Ellington says that he wrote it in 1955 when the band played for several weeks at the 1955 version of Billy Rose’s Aquacades – a famous music, dance and swimming show – in New York.
“I had very little to do so I could go and get some work done at home”. That was when I wrote my play, Man with Four Sides“.
It was obviously meant for Broadway but like many other of his projects of this kind, it never made it there.
Man with Four Sides is a musical in three acts with a white couple Mr. and Mrs. Lane as the main characters together with “Streamline” Smith” and Moiselle.
Martha Washington Penoctbottom Lane is a prudish lady who keeps her husband Otho Lane in tight reins while Otho is fascinated by a woman in his dreams.
Smith, whose wife has left him, is a neighbor to the Lane couple and he sings the blues all day, while Moiselle is a real-life incarnation of the woman Mr. Lane sees and hears in his dreams.
John Franceschina’s book Duke Ellington’s Music for the Theatre has a detailed description of the story (pages 87-92 paper back version)
Ellington wrote the book, the music and the lyrics for the musical.
He composed six original songs:
She (aka Sensuous), Come On Home, Weatherman (aka How Does It Look For Tomorrow), She Didn’t Have Much To Say, It’s Rumour, Twilightime
and put text to the second blues theme of Happy-Go-Lucky-Local and called it Train Blues (aka Like A Train). The Blues from Black, Brown and Beige is also scripted to be sung in the musical.
In addition, lyrics for 8 songs, for which no music exists, have been found.
The play seems to have been in the making for a long time. John Franceschina says in his book that “the germ of the work began in the 1940s in the notes for a script entitled Mr. and Mrs. Lane“.
However, the Danish jazz researcher and jazz critic Erik Wiedeman, who spent two months in 1989 researching documents on the musical in the Ellington Archive at the Smithsonian and who also located recordings of music for it, considers that the real work work on the musical started in the early 1950s.
One of the key songs in the musical – She – was recorded by The Coronets for Mercer Records in April 1951 but it also exists in an earlier piano solo version. She was recorded together with three other songs for the musical in a kind of rehearsal session by Ellington, Jimmy Grissom and Wendell Marshall in July 1952.
A month earlier the full Ellington orchestra had recorded Come On Home in a session for Columbia.
Erik Wiedemann presented his research on Man with Four Sides to the Ellington ’90 conference in Ottawa. He was given only some 40 minutes to do it so he chose to focus on the music.
He let the audience listen to some of the recorded songs mentioned above but also to a NBC radio broadcast from 28 august 1955 in which Ellington gives a a synopsis of the show and Jimmy Grissom and Marion Cox accompanied by Luther Henderson (p) and Jimmy Woode (b) sing four of its songs – Like A Train, She, It’s Rumour and Twilight Time .
Wiedemann also provided a handout to accompany his presentation. It details the songs of the musical and is available here. “Thank you” to Roger Boyes for having provided it to the website.
After the conference, Wiedemann expanded his presentation into an article, which was published in the Danish journal “Musik & forskning” no. 16 1990-1991. It has an annex with detailed information about the music for Man with Four Arms.
It is is available here.
Sources for the web article:
Erik Wiedemann: Presentation at Ellington ’90
Erik Wiedemann: På sporet af Man with Four Side
John Franceschina: Duke Ellington’s Music for the Theatre
Stockholm, February 6, 1963, 2nd concert, part 2
Action in 1963
Parts of the 2nd concert were broadcast by SR some time after the event and originally a recording from this broadcast was the only notation in Ndesor about the concerts in Stockholms Konserthus. Then in 2012 complete copies of both the 1st and 2nd concerts from the above date were discovered. This was the result of the work of a small group of people who set out to establish every trace of Duke Ellington’s surviving recordings from his concerts in Sweden. The end result of this work can be found in our archives section. Luckily, we were able to help Sjef Hoefsmit to solve the remaining mysteries regarding the “famous 5 LP box”, to his immense satisfaction, and this just a few months before he passed away.
Milt Grayson sings The Blues (more…)
Stockholm, February 6, 1963, 2nd concert, part 1
Duke Ellington in February 1963
If the previously published concert from Stockholm on the above date (the 1st concert) had remained undiscovered until 2012, a few numbers from the second concert had been issued before, but the complete concert is presented here for the first time. Due to the length of this recording we present it in two parts, each of them c:a 1 hour. Simon Brehm, MC, in his introduction tells us in Swedish that due to the fact that the first concert lasted longer than planned, the second concert started quite late.
Cat Anderson in Eighth Veil
As could be expected the program was more or less the same as that of the first concert, and thus the first part consists of the following numbers: (more…)