Duke Ellington’s monthlong tour of Europe between April 1 and May 1, 1939 took him and the orchestra to France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
They spent most of the time in Sweden, where Ellington gave 22 concerts in 14 cities. He played three times in both Stockholm and Göteborg.
In addition, Ellington and the orchestra performed in Oslo, Norway and in Copenhagen, Denmark, (two concerts in each city).
The tour meant that thousands of Swedes, most of them young, experienced Ellington and his music directly. Many of them also made contact with Ellington and band members to shake hands and get their concert programs autographed.
The website has published two articles about the tour in Sweden with some quite unique photos. One is about Ellington’s concerts in Stockholm on April 16, April 24 and April 29 and the other about the concert in Storvik on April 23, 1939
Ellington’s European tour is well documented in The Duke – Where and When with links to what has been witten about the tour and lists of the music played at the concerts in The Netherlands.
Preparing for the Ellington ’90 conference, John E. Hasse researched the Ellington Archive for material about the 1939 tour and on the last day of the conference he made an hourlong presentation on it.
As a true pedagog, Hasse had prepared an eight pages handout with essential information from his presentation. Roger Boyes of DESUK has very kindly shared his copy of the handout with the website to allow us to share it with our readers.
Ellington in Europe 1939 handout