Interview by Leonard Feather
Among other things, Leonard Feather was a productive writer and jazz critic. He was a frequent contributor to jazz magazines in many countries but he also wrote books and particularly a long series of jazz encyclopedia.
It started in 1955 when Feather published his ambitious The Encyclopedia of Jazz. It was followed by The Encyclopedia Yearbook Of Jazz the year after and The Encyclopedia Yearbook of Jazz in The Sixties in 1966 .
The first edition of The Encyclopedia of Jazz was published by Horizon Press
but it is not easy to find one in good shape. Fortunately, the publisher Da Capo published a reprint of it in 1984 and it is more widely available.
The book starts with “appreciations” by Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and John Hammond. Ellington’s is the most interesting since it is more than just an appreciation.
It exists in two version, one printed in the book and one in a tape recording, which was transcribed for the book.
Steven Lasker has very kindly given the website a copy of the recording to share with the DESS members. It is the third goodie this month and is available in the Goodies Room.
Those, who don’t have the book, can follow the link below to download and read Ellington’s appreciation.
New Bulletin Issue
DESS members, who has opted for the pdf version of the Bulletin, got the new issue on Monday. The printed version was posted the same day and at least the DESS members in Sweden should have started to get it today.
The cover story is about Booty Wood – “Duke’s pungent trombonist”.
The four-page article about him is written by DESS member Thomas Erikson – a specialist and great fan of Ellington’s trombonists.
He gives the readers of the Bulletin a comprehensive story of Wood’s musical career.
Lionel Hampton’s 1940’s big band, the military during the Second World War years and Erskine Hawkins’ late 1940’s band was Wood’s musical upbringing grounds according to the article and apparently he liked in particular his period with Hawkins.
During that, Wood participated in Hawkins’ recordings for Victor and one of them resulted in the album Erskine Hawkins Plays W.C. Handy For Dancing.
Wood was really in and out of the Ellington orchestra over the years and one wonders why. Was it family?
Anyhow, his first period was really only a year – from September 1959 to end of 1960 – but he left many good marks from it in Columbia recordings like Blues In The Orbit, Piano In The Background and the Nutcracker Suites, in small groups recordings under Hodges and Harry Carney’s namn and his own album Hang In and in recordings from concerts and dances.
After this period, Wood was away from the Ellington Orchestra for more than 10 years except for a short return in 1963 to play in the orchestra formed for My People. He was back in late 1969 to replace Lawrence Brown and stayed to late 1972. But the impression from article is that he was only brought back to fill a chair and handle the trombone part in traditional concert numbers. It would have been interesting to get Thomas’ view on this.
What has been written above is only some snapshots of what Thomas has to say about Booty Wood. There is much more to read in his well researched article.
Another long article in the new issue is a transcript of a presentation at the Ellington ’94 in Stockholm by Austin H. Lawrence on Bubber Miley. It is a good introduction to Miley’s life and career and is recommended as such. The article is prefaced by short introduction of Lawrence by Bo Haufman.
Among Bo Haufman’s contributions to the new Bulletin is also an interesting article about Marie Ellington.
It has also a reprint of an article about Mercer Ellington in the program for his European Tour in 1977, an excerpt from exam paper by a Swedish music student about Jimmy Blanton way of playing the bass and some thoughts by DESS member Jan-Olov Isaksson on LP and CD tributes to Duke Ellington.
There is also a follow up of the cover story in the previous Bulletin about Lil Greenwood. DESS members Bjarne Busk and Brian Koller wrote about it on the Duke-LYM site and their comments are reprinted in the new Bulletin.
Bjarne Busk has also broadcasted an hour-long program about Lil Greenwood on the Radio Jazz (http://www.radiojazz.dk/. It has a long interview with Sven-Erik Baun Christensen, who wrote the article about Greenwood, and music featuring her. The broadcast can be found in the podcast section of Radio Jazz but it is also available at the DESS website here.
A Duke Ellington Video Montage (3)
There is a new video montage for DESS members available in the Goodies Room. As usual it is a mixture of old and new. But any visitor to the website will be able to watch a performance of Take The A Train with two drummers, Elvin Jones and Skeets Marsh, by clicking the arrow in the picture below. Both Jones and Marsh were subbing for Louie Bellson, who should have been on this tour, but couldn’t beause of other engagements.
From a concert in Milano, Jan. 30. 1966
We start the motage in the Goodies Room with a sequence from the 1934 movie Murder At The Vanities, where almost all members of the band can be seen individually. Quite recently we published some excerpts from the making of this film donated to us by Steven Lasker, as a Christmas gift. The musical performance is built around Franz List’s Hungarien Rhapsody and main theme is called Ebony Rhapsody.
The next is from an RAI telecast in Milano’s Teatro Lirico from January 30, 1966. The band plays an enjoyable version of Ad Lib On Nippon, a suite in four parts. Jimmy Hamilton and John Lamb are featured. The four parts of the suite are named Fugi, Igoo, Nagoya and Tokyo respectively.
From the same RAI telecast we present Duke, Ella Fitzgerald and Italian actor Vittorio Gassman. The latter performs Hamlet’s monologue (mainly in Italian) to the accompaniment of Duke, whereafter Ella and Duke together cooperates in I’m Just A Lucky So-And-So.
In 1963 and 1964 Ellington and the band recorded two telecasts for Granada in England. The first part from 1963 has the following contents: *Theme*C-Jam Blues*The Eighth Veil*Rockin’ In Rhythm*Angu*. 1963 and 1964 were truly great years for the Ellington organization.
As a closing performance we will hear Alice Babs and Johnny Hodges from the 1969 telecast of Sacred Music in Stockholm 1969. Heaven, was one of the main numbers of that telecast.
DR Ellington Broadcasts 47
Broadcast 47 took place on 25 June, 1991. As the previous broadcast on 28 May 1991, it was produced and presented by Fleming Sjølund-Jensen.
It is the the first “goodie” in March 2022 and is available in the ”Goodies” section of the website.
This time, the program is a broadcast of a full concert – Ellington’s second concert in Uppsala in the late evening of 9 November 1971.
At the time of the DR broadcast, this concert had not been issued commercially but it had been broadcasted on Swedish Radio so many collectors had it on tape.
Since then, Storyville has issued the concert on CD. It did it in the summer of 2019 and the website published a long article about it on 11 August 2019. We also made the first concert available to DESS members in a follow up article on 20 November 2019.
However, even if the concert is widely available we have decided to publish an article also about broadcast 47 to have have covered all Danish Radio’s Ellington program when the series ends in some monnths.
The program starts with Love You Madly sung by Nell Brooksire. It is not from the Uppsala concert but from a stockpile recording session on 3 February, 1971.