Blue Light 2021-2
It reached the DESUK members quite some time. The issue is the last one put together by Patrick Olsen and he has made sure that he marks his departure with a fanfare.
It is dominated by two ambitious and very interesting research-oriented articles.
The first one is about Harold Ashby.
In his six pages article, Peter Gardiner gives the readers a good insight into Ashby’s career and struggles. The section “Recordings Before the Duke” is a valuable survey of his participation in small group recordings with Ellingtonians as is the two following two parts of the article – “With the Duke” and “After the Duke”. The last one is particularly interesting since it is a quite detailed account of a rather unknown part of Ashby’s musical life.
Another very substantial article in the new Blue Light issue is Roger Boyes’ “More from the Hurricane, Summer 1943”.
The longest part of it is a mapping of the changes in the Ellington band during the Hurricane period caused particularly by military drafts and the attractiveness of the West Coast to some key band members like Rex Stewart and foremost Juan Tizol. He also covers the arrival of Al Hibler and the sacking of Ben Webster in this part.
The final part of the article covers Ellington apperances on radio and in and around New York.
Other articles in the BL issue are one by Fred Glueckstein’s about Duke Ellington’s Yale University Connection and one by Ian Bradley on DESS’ Ellington 2021 meeting. They are good reading as well.
The next issue of Blue Light will appear in early January.
Former Blue Light editor, Ian Bradley, has started a newsletter – Tone Parallel – dedicated Ellington news. The first issue was published in October and covers aspects of Duke Ellington’s tour of England in 1971.
It takes it starting point in Ellington’s concerts at the Winter Gardens in Bournemouth on Wednesday, 20 October 1971. He has had access to the archive of the late Richard Davis, who attended the concert and took notes of what was played during the two concert and reprint Davis’ list of music selections.
Davis and his wife also attended Ellington’s concert in Birmingham on 24 October. Ian Bradley uses this to advance his article to the English Concert LP album issued on the United Artists label in United Kingdom in 1972. The same album was issued as the London Concert in France and other European countries. In USA, it was called Togo Brava Suite.
From there, he makes an excellent discour on Togo Brava Suite and makes good use of an 2001 article by Stefano Zenni on The Aesthetics of Duke Ellington Suites.
Ian has put together for us a very interesting and well written article that everybody in the Ellington community should read. It is also a very good example how one can knit together different threads into a shining costume.
For his newsletter, Ian uses Substack – an American online platform, which allows writers to send digital newsletters directly to subscribers. The link to the article is https://toneparallel.substack.com. There one can also subsribe to the newsletter.
The next issue of the newsletter will be published at the end of January.
Radio Jazz Copenhagen
We wrote about this Danish jazz radio station earlier this year and we continue to enjoy its ambitious programming every week.
The best way to find out about Radio Jazz is to go to http://www.radiojazz.dk and walk around. After the summer, it has a new interface and some new features.
Most importantly, the Radio Jazz team has made it easier for listeners to access old broadcasts by making them available as podcasts. At the moment, 433 podcasts are available and the number is constantly going up.
Among the podcasts are some of the latest The Wonderful Life of Duke Ellington programs with Henrik Wolsgaard-Iversen. By now, Radio Jazz have broadcasted 139 programs in the series and number 140 is scheduled for 10 pm on December 15.
Every second Saturday, Bjarne Busk presents a concert and often it is an Ellington one. Two programs with such concerts are available as podcasts.
In one, Busk presenterar snapshots from Johnny Hodges’ concert in Berlin 1961 together with The Ellington Giants and in the other he talks about and plays musik from Ellington’s concert in Milano Jan. 30, 1966. By that time Elvin Jones had been hired by Ellington as a second drummer and Busk particullarly spotlights this.
However, the Ellington programs are only a small part of what Radio Jazz ofers. It offers much more of great interest to friends of jazz. There are several program series running like Jazz in Swedish, Rudy van Gelder, ECM etc but also programs about individual jazz muscians.
Go to website, check out the programming and enjoy!
Desscafé opened the first time on October 29, 2020. It is a virtual Zoombased Duke’s place for DESS members to meet and play music for each other.
The format for the meetings inthe DESScafé is very simple. A theme is chosen a couple of weeks and DESS’ members and other interested propose the music that should be played and discussed. 12 or 14 pieces are chosen among the proposal and presenters identified.
Some of the themes this year has been Rex Stewart, Irving Mills, Joe Nanton and his followers, Clark Terry, Female vocalists singing Ellington, Essentially Ellington and Ellingtonians in small groups.
The presentations and discussions are in Swedish but on March 15 David Palmquist came to the café to talk about his work with The Duke – Where and When (tdwaw.ca). Possibly, next year there will be more frequent meetings in English in parallel to the one in Swedish.
Most of the meetings have been recorded and put on the DESS website. They are available under the tab DESScafé at the front page of the website. Just scroll down the list and click on meeting date and you will get directly video and playlist for the meeting. Unfortunately, a couple of meetings were not recorded due to technical problems.
Here are direct links to some of the most recent ones.
Oct 12 – Ellingtonians In Small Groups – 1930’s and 1940’s
Nov 15 – Essentially Ellington part 2
Dec 6 – Ellingtonians In Small Groups – 1950’s