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Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

Lawrence Brown igen

I början av månaden publicerade vi ett föredrag om Lawrence Brown som musikforskaren Kurt Dietrich höll på Ellingtonkonferensen i Washington D.C. 1989. I samband med publiceringen bad vi DESS-medlemmarna att sända oss deras favoritlåtar med Lawrence Brown som solist.

Överraskande många hörde av sig och vi tackar Kim Altsund, Bjorn Andresen, Göran Axelsson, Roland Bjurman, Thomas Erikson, Bo Haufman, Brian Koller och Peter Lee för deras bidrag. We thank Kim Altsund, Bjorn Andresen, Göran Axelsson, Roland Bjurman, Thomas Erikson, Bo Haufman, Brian Koller och Peter Lee for their contributions.

Thomas Erikson gav oss en lång låtlista, som delvis sammanföll med han spelade i sitt föredrag om Lawrence Brown på DESS-mötet den 7 maj 2018, och många av hans förslag finns med i l de två spellistor, som vi ställt samman.

De innehåller också fulla versioner av de melodier som Dietrich spelade i sitt föredrag.

Spellista Lawrence Brown 1930-1939

Innehållslista 1

Spellista Lawrence Brown 1940-1966

Innehållslista 2

Uptown Lockdown

DESS’ sister organisation DESUK is not totally locked down but has gone virtual and offers through Uptown Lockdown a weekly program with interviews, music and discussions. It is the brainchild of Anthony Pepper och Frank Griffith – members of the DESUK Board – and started in the summer.

One can follow the programs live but with limited interactivity The best is to wait until the program is made available in the DESUK channel on YouTube. This is mostly done very quickly. All programs broadcasted so far can be found in the channel. The most recent there is the one from Sep. 23 https://youtu.be/zyissWHBzeU.

The DESUK website (http://dukeellington.org.uk) has a page, which describes the different ways one can follow the Uptown Lockdown broadcasts.

DESUK is not the only Ellington Society to adapt to the Covid-19 situation. After six months without meetings, TDES in New York announced last week that from October it resumes meetings but they will be streamed.

Streamed concerts and presentations

The number of streamed concerts with music by Ellington or Strayhorn and lectures about the two is steadily growing.

This month, Duke Ellington Center For The Arts DECFA offered on Sep. 20 a streamed concert called The Great Reunion: A Celebration of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

This hourlong concert is now available on the DECFA’s channel on YouTube (https://youtu.be/hQiCXi111mk).

On Sep.23, Confluence Concerts in Toronto arranged an online concert with Billy Strayhorn’s music called Something To Live For: A Billy Strayhorn Celebration. It is also available on YouTube but only until Oct. 7 (https://youtu.be/SGZfX4qROAA).

Before the concert, there was an interview with Walter van de Leur.

An online lecture NOT to miss is Who Was Duke Ellington part 1. It is given by Loren Schoenberg, founder of and senior scholar at National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Together with other lectures, it is available on JMIH’s Youtube Channel (https://youtu.be/FpriY8buwv0).

Concerts in Sweden 1969

Stockholm 4 Nov. 1969, 2nd concert

Norris Turney soloing on flute in Fife

At the end of  1969, Norris Turney, was a recent addition to the Duke Ellington organization. Together with Harold Ashby he was obviously intended to fill the gap resulting from Jimmy Hamilton’s leaving the band in 1968. Turney got solo opportunities on alto sax , tenor sax, clarinet and flute, whereas Ashby who joined the band somewhat earlier in 1968,  got some solo space on clarinet, but mainly stuck to his tenor sax. With Turney, the jazz flute was introduced in the band, and Fife became his tour de force. Ashby is here featured in I Can’t Get Started where he shows what a fine ballad player he is. Both Turney and Ashby were later on later on to figure in In Triplicate (with Paul Gonsalves) and In Quadruplicate (with Gonsalves and Ben Webster).

The present concert, which was broadcast by SRT, also includes La Plus Belle Aricaine, which was a number that was played in nearly all concerts at that time. You will find the recording of the 2nd concert in the Goodies Room. (more…)

Kurt Dietrich on Tricky Sam Nanton

Kurt Dietrich continued his presentations on Ellington’s trombone players with one at Ottawa ’90 about Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton. Since the one on Lawrence Brown at Washington ’89, he had finished his dissertion and Nanton was the second trombonist, which Dietrich had researched for it.


In his presentation, Dietrich plays excerpts of Jubilee Stomp (March 3, 1927), Black And Tan Fantasy (Nov. 3, 1927), It Don’t Mean A Thing (Feb. 2, 1932),  Under The Old Apple Tree (Aug. 15, 1933), Harlem Speaks (July 13, 1933), Work Song (Jan. 23, 1943) and Blue Serge (Feb. 15, 1941).

Ellington Interviewed by Michael Parkinson 1973

In the first days of January 1973, Ellington made a short trip to Paris and London to record in three telecasts.

In London, he was interviewed on January 5 by Michael Parkinson for his famous BBC talk show Parkinson (aka Mike Parkinson Show).

The series begun in 1971 and run on and off until 2004 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson_(TV_series)).

Many famous personalities appeared in the show but Ellington  seems to have been the only one from the world of jazz.

The telecast with Ellington was aired on February 24, 1973 and the DESS website is happy to be able to let its visitors listen to the soundtrack.

The hour-long conversion between Parkinson and Ellington covered a lot of topics Many of them have been covered in other interviews but it is obvious that Ellington felt very relaxed with Parkinson and allowed his thoughts to flow freely.

At the end of the program, Ellington was invited to sit down at the piano. He chose to play a short version of Lotus Blossom after which the studio orchestra joined him in Satin Doll.

Enjoy the interview!

DR Ellington Broadcasts (44)

A new set of programs  with Ellington material from the Mercer Ellington donation was put on the air by Danish Radio in the Spring of 1991. The first one was broadcasted on March 26, 1991. It was produced and presented by Bjarne Busk.

It is the the second “goodie” this month and is available in the ”Goodies” section of the website.

The program starts with a nice selection.

In the Mercer donation, Busk had found a record with three songs from Ellington’s six weeks engagement at Trianon Ballroom in Southgate, California in April and May 1942. It starts with Ivie Anderson singing The One You Love Belongs To Somebody Else. It is the only documented occasion when this song was performed by the Ellington band but it might have been performed on other occasions as well.

Next comes the first part of Body And Soul featuring Harry Carney and Herb Jeffries. Unfortunately, it is not complete. Missing is the end of Jeffries singing and the bridge by Ellington and Greer. Perhaps there was not enough space on the disc.

When Busk turns it over, Body And Soul continues with part two – an uptempo version played by Ben Webster. This fades into the station signing off followed by a Take The A Train theme. The NDESOR numbers are DE4206a-c

After the visit to Trianon Ballroom, Busk jumps almost 30 years to  a 1971 stockpile recording session in New York City. Busk gives the date as May 14 while NDESOR lists it as from May 13.

The session starts with Nell Brookshire (aka Bobbie Gordon) singing Lover Man. She was with Ellington from the end of December 1970 to mid-February 1972.

Only one of the three takes is a rather full version. Take 6, which is not included in the broadcast, has been issued by Storyville on the Togo Brava Suite CD (STCD 8323).

The May 13, 1971 section of the brodcast ends with Ocht O’Clock Rock (-8 brk and -9) and Charpoy (-10) with Wild Bill Davis as solist.

Ocht O’Clock Rock (-9) is the version included in the original Afro-Eurasian Eclipse LP (Fantasy 9489).

Next comes selections from another 1971 stock pile session, this time the one from the February 11. It is a session basically dedicated to Afro-Eurasian Eclipse material but also some other songs were recorded.

The first selection is two tune with no titles. In NDESOR, they are listed as Blues No. 17 (DE7106a-b). The first one is a very short false start but the second is a full version. Busk says that theme of the 12 bar blues reminds him of the theme of Miles Davis Freddie Freeloader. Anyhow, Norris Turney is the solist but Rufus Jones makes himself very present as well.

13 takes of Gong were recorded in the session and Busk plays six of them (-1fs), -2, -4fs, -5brk, -6 brk, 7 brk, 8 fs and -15).The last one is a six minutes full version with Wild Bill David, Duke Ellington and Paul Gonsalves as soloists. None of the recordings of Gong in the February 11 session have been issued.

The last selections from February 11 are three incomplete versions of Tang (-17brk, -18brk and -19brk).

The broadcast ends with the version of Tang included in the Afro-Eurasian Eclipse album. It was recorded on February 17, 1971.



Concerts in Sweden 1969

Stockholm 4 Nov. 1969, 1st concert

lawrence brown

Lawrence Brown plays Serenade To Sweden

When Duke Ellington & his Orchestra arrived in Sweden on Nov. 4, 1969 it was nearly three years after the previous visit in January 1967. In the mean-time some important changes in the band’s personnell had taken place in that Ambrose Jackson and Rolf Ericson were now part of the  trumpet section (at least temporarily), Herbie Jones gone. Buster Cooper was gone as well, leaving the trombone section with Lawrence Brown and Chuck Connors. Jimmy Hamilton had left, replaced by Harold Ashby and Norris Turney had been added to the saxophone section, making it six pieces strong. Victor Gaskin was new on bass and Wild Bill Davis and Tony Watkins had been added. These new musicians partly changed the sound of the band in that Norris Turney apart from playing reeds also played flute, which had hitherto been rare in the Ellington band. Harold Ashby added a new and easily recognizable tenor sound, but Jimmy Hamilton’s role on clarinet was never possible to be filled again, but in the band’s remaining years, Russell Procope, with his altogether different style, seemed to get more solo space. (more…)

Kurt Dietrich on Lawrence Brown

One of the outstanding presentations at the Ellington ’89 conference was the one given by Kurt Dietrich from Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin about Lawrence Brown. Dietrich was at that time working on his doctoral dissertation on three Ellington trombone players and Brown was one of them.

To make his research handable, he focused on the period up to 1951 for all the three players.

His presentation in Washington D.C. gave examples of Brown’s playing during the 1932 to 1947 period and he tried to illustrate the different styles of Brown from the lyrical one to swinging one.

In most examples he only played excerpts of the recording but in some cases also the full one.

Here is the list of what Dietrich let the audience hear:

Sheik of Araby (1932)-Slippery Horn (1933)-Sophisticated Lady (1933)-Isn’t Love The Strangest Thing? (1936)-Rose Of The Grande (1938)-Blue Light (1938)-Braggin’ In Brass (1938)-Linger Awhile (1940)-Main Stem (1942)-On A Turquoise Cloud (1947)-Golden Cress (1947).


Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

Summer issue of Blue Light

The summer issue of Blue Light is available to DESUK members since a couple of weeks ago.

As usual it provides some good reading. This time, Patrick Olsen presents a couple of new contributors.

Gareth Evans, who is of the new generation on the DESUK Committee, writes about the LP album Duke Ellington, Masterpieces: 1926-68 with 70 Ellington recordings, that Martin Williams together with Gunther Schuller was working on for the Smithsonian at the end of the 1980’s but which never saw the light of the day.

Williams talked about the the project at the Ellington ’89 conference in Washington D.C. and the DESS website published his presentation on 10th April 2018 together with some other presentations on the first day of the conference. Link: https://ellington.se/2018/04/10/ellington-89-in-washington-d-c-3/

Evans lists the recordings that Willams and Schuller had chosen, makes some critical comments to the selection and provides his own Ellington masterpieces list. He has also put up a playlist on Spotify with a selection from his list ( https://open.spotify.com/playlist/78G0522OsSohS7B7ZCwzkO).

Another first-time contributor is the American researcher Dr. Katherine Leo, who specializes in “the intersection of American music and legal histories”. Her five-page article deals with the 1993 court case Tempo Music, Incorporated v. Famous Music Corporation (i.e. the Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn estates) regarding copyrights to Satin Doll.

She gives the background to the case, the legal framework, the court’s dealing with the case and the impact of its conclusion. The key issue in the case was if a harmonic progression could be copyrighted and the court decided that “the Satin Doll progression met the legal threshold for originality and thus copyrightability”.

Dr. Leo will publish an article in the upcoming issue of Jazz Perspectives on copyright aspects of ODJB’s Livery Stable Blues.

Besides these two articles, the new issue has contributions by Ian Bradley (Uptown Lockdown), Brian Priestly (review of the new BB&B record), Frank Griffith and others. The feature Reminiscing introduced a couple of issues ago also has interesting contributions to read.

Jimmie Blanton Blog

Matthias Heyman – the Jimmie Blanton specialist and much more – has set up a page on his website “with tidbits, little-known facts, and deep dives on jazz bassist Jimmie Blanton (1918– 1942). The url is https://www.mattheyman.com/pitter-panter-chatter.

The page has also a link to articles that he has published in academic journals on Blanton, Ellington, and jazz bass playing. They are very interesting and stimulating. Good reading while one waits for Heyman’s book on Jimmie Blanton.

Wynton Marsalis on Ellington

In the June 1991 issue, Down Beat published an article by Wynton Marsalis on Duke Ellington

It was an adaptation of a speech he gave at the 1991 International Association of Jazz Educators conference in Washington D.C. The article is not an analysis of Ellington’s music but rather an expression of love and respect.

Marsalis admits that he never listened to Ellington’s music when growing up and when he heard it, he didn’t really like it. “It sounded like like the type of music that old people dance to in ballrooms, thinking they were doing something hip.”

But when he had moved to New York, things started to change. Thanks to Stanley Crouch, Marsalis one days started to listen to Ellington records and his view changed. “I could see a broad vision of what our country was about, a broad vision of what we should be dealing with.”

The full article is available to DESS members in the Ellington Archive.

Ellington på YouTube m.m.

Ellington- och filmspecialisten Brian Koller håller kretsen av Ellingtonvänner underrättad när det dyker upp nya Ellington videos på YouTube. Tack för det, Brian! Nedan är ett urval av de som har lagts upp de senaste månaderna.

Nyligen lade någon upp konserten av Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra för att fira 100 årsdagen av Billy Strayhorns födelse. Den gavs i juni 2016.

En lång video med The Royal Variety Performance 1973 lades upp så sent som igår och i den framträder också Ellington och hans orkester. Den delen börjar 56 minuter 35 sekunder in i videon och varar ungefär 15 minuter.

Den 23 mars 1965 spelade Ellington på Tyrone Guthrie Theatre i Minneapolis och under en av pauserna intervjuade jazzradiomannen Leigh Kamman honom. Två utdrag ur intervjun lades upp på YouTube under sommaren.

Det är också fallet med en kort reklamfilm för ett känt cigarettmärke.

Koller har också uppmärksammat oss Ellingtonvänner på en artikel i jazztidningen The Syncopated Times om Ellingtons tidiga trumpetare.

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