In conjunction with 1964 annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters in Chicago, Duke Ellington was engaged by the copyright organisation SESAC – Society of European Stage Authors and Composers – to provide music with “musicians in the orchestra under the leadership of Duke Ellington” for “five (5) consecutive hours” on April 6 and 7
He did this in the SESAC Hospitality Suite in the Conrad Hilton Hotel, where the convention was held.
Given the room, it seems fair to presume that he was engaged to play at a social reception where the focus was not only on the music but also on talks and drinks.
Fortunately, the hospitality suite had recording facilities and Ellington’s performances were recorded to the benefit of Ellington fans.
However, it has taken some time to sort out the discographical aspects of the recordings.
It was finally done by Klaus Götting in a correction of NDESOR in the DEMS Bulletin 2007-1. In the article he says that:
“6429q-v are from first set on first night
6430a-k are from second set on first night
6429a-p are from second set on second night”
We use his correction for our article.
Both nights Ellington played in a trio format with bass and drums
The basist was Major Holley throughout the two days but on June 6, the trio started with Sam Woodyard on drums but Johnny Hodges’ son Johnny Hodges Jr played the second set. Apparently, Woodyard had been taken to hospital in the intermission.
The first night, the trio was joined by Johnny Hodges and Lawrence Brown.
The first set on April 6 starts with Johnny Hodges playing It Shouldn’t Happen To A Dream, Jeep Is Jumpin‘ and I Got It Bad with the trio. Then Lawrence Brown takes over and plays Things Ain’t What They Used To Be.
Ellington ends the set with Dancers In Love and Mood Indigo.
The second set opens with Ellington playing a variation of the usual Medley followed by Take The “A” Train, Single Petal Of A Rose and Satin Doll.
Then Lawrence Brown steps in and plays Rose Of The Rio Grande and Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me.
After this, Johnny Hodges replaces Brown and plays I Got It Bad, On The Sunny Side Of The Street, Passion Flower and Things Ain’t What They Used To Be.
He ends the set playing duet with his son in the Sam Woodyard composition The Drum And The Blues.
The April 6, 1964 is the second goodie for February and DESS-members can listen to it and download it in the ”Goodies” section.
A main source for the article is TDWAW (tdwaw.ca). Thank you for all your work on it, David!