Home » 2023 » February

Monthly Archives: February 2023

Categories for posts

Jantzen Beach Ballroom, Nov. 13, 1954, part 3

Big Dipper in Jantzen Beach Amusement Park

Rick Henderson plays All The Things You Are

Welcome back to the Jantzen Beach dance date on Nov. 13, 1954!

This part of the dance date starts with an Ellington original named Chili Bowl a song that remained in the band book for a year or so, to fade away into obscurity and never recorded again after 1954. Ellington is active at the piano and Ray Nance plays a solo on trumpet. The next number,Mood Indigo, is one of the most frequently played Ellington tunes. At this time the trio introducing it consisted of Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson and Harry Carney, followed by Russell Procope and Willia Cook, before the trio comes back with the main theme. Just Squeeze (more…)

Jantzen Beach Ballroom, Nov. 13, 1954, part 2

Advert for Jantzen Beach Amusement Park

It’s time for the second visit to the Jantzen Beach Ball Room in Portland, Oregon. First a tidbit as to what you can find in the Goodies Room.

Harry Carney

Harry Carney in Serious Serenade

In addition to this song, DESS members will be able to hear and download the following numbers in the Goodies Room.

*Smada*In The Mood*If I Give My Heart To You*Sophisticated Lady*Serious Serenade*Perdiso*Caravan*

This session starts with a Strayhorn composition named Smada with Jimmy Hamilton soloing on calarinet. The next item that we present is a tune attributed to Joe Garland, called In The Mood. Everybody of course knows that this was a number made popular by Glenn Miller’s orchestra in 1939 and Ellington made a studio recording of it in 1954. After Duke’s piano introduction, we hear Peck Morrison in a couple of breaks and Clark Terry, Russel Procope,Jimmy Hamilton and Ray Nance  soloing. In If I GiveMy Heart To You, a popular song at the time, Ellington and Harry Carney share the solos, and in Sophisticated Lady we hear Harry Carney’s impressive bass clarinet playing. (more…)

Jantzen Beach Ballroom, Nov. 13, 1954

The period 1951-1955 is an interesting Ellington period. As was discussed in the first article in the Premiered by Ellington  series last month, it was a transitional period for Ellington and the orchestra both in terms of band members and repertoire but also as regards jobs particularly in New York with the fierce competition with new styles of jazz.

During these years, Ellington was on the road almost constantly and he played a lot at clubs and venues on the West Coast and in the mid-West. In the invaluable, The Duke Where and When (tdwaw.ca), David Palmquist has put together a special section called Ellington’s Marathon 1951-1952 (http://tdwaw.ellingtonweb.ca/1951-1952Marathon.html), which illustrates this.

The touring continued in more or less the same way in 1953-1954 with a lot of dance dates and concerts for Ellington in the West and Northwest of the country.

Much from the tours has been issued on LPs and CDs but there is a lot of unissued material from appearances in Chicago to the North Western states,, which the website will try to make available to DESS members in the coming months.

We start with a complete recording of Ellington’s dance date at Jantzen Beach Ballroom on Nov. 13, 1954. Due to its length it will be published in four parts.

The Jantzen Beach Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon, was during the years 1928-1970 one of the biggest of its kind and was sometimes called “the Coney Island in the West”. It had everything that could be expected in an amusement park. It also had restaurants and a well-known venue for dancing named Jantzen Beach Ballroom.

Jantzen Beach Ballroom in the 40’s

In 1954-1955, Duke Ellington and his orchestra performed there at least three times. NDESOR and TDWAW gives the dates as May 1 1954, Nov. 13, 1954 and Nov. 6 1955.

At the time of the dance on Nov. 13, 1954, Peck Morrison had replaced Wendell Marshall on bass and Frank Butler replaced Dave Black on drums and that Rick Henderson played alto sax. Frank Butler was not very well known, but he had played with Dave Brubeck, Edgar Hayes and Perez Prado. Peck Morrison was an experienced bass player who had worked with Lucky Thompson, Gerry Mulligan Art Framer and Jay & Kai. Rick Henderson was of the Charlie Parker school and he played with the orchestra for a couple of years, replacing Hilton Jefferson.

Here is a tidbit from the dance. It is Smile, composed by Charlie Chaplin

The program starts with Dick Vance’s fine arrangement of Stompin’ At The Savoy with the following soloists: Jimmy Hamilton, Clark Terry, Harry Carney, Paul Gonsalves, Frank Butler (a few bars) and Rick Henderson. The next number is a joint venture by Ellington and Strayhorn (John LaTouche wrote lyrics  which are not used here) called Maybe I Should Change My Ways, written for the ill-fated Beggar’s Opera and we hear Britt Woodman and Ray Nance soloing. From the Charlie Chaplin movie Modern Times comes Smile, which did not stay in the band book for long despite  Gonsalves, Nance and Carney doing their best. Cocktails For Two is a tune that Ellington had recorded already in 1934 and in this 1954 version Ellington, Nance and Hamilton are heard. Time On My Hands and Summertime follow and they are solo vehicles for Jimmy Hamilton and Cat Anderson, respectively, before we finally hear two versions of Take The A Train, with Ray Nance and Paul Gonsalves in the main roles.

Here we take a break, but will be back with more from Jantzen Beach Ballroom next week.

This first part of the dance is available for DESS members in the Goodies Room.

We hope you’ll enjoy the music!






Bullen and Blue Light

It is rare that new issues of the DESS Bulletin and DESUK’s Blue Light are published just a few days apart but at the end of January and early February it happened. Thanks to that, subscribers to the two journals have gotten a substantial set of articles with good Ellington reading in one go. Amazing! The Duke is certainly alive! Thank you Bo Haufman and Gareth Evans!

DESS Bulletin 2023-1

The cover story of the new DESS Bulletin is about Ozzie Bailey.

It is the result of creative biographical research by the DESS member and author of the article Sven-Erik Baun Christensen. In his seven page article, he gives the family history of the “elusive” singer and his career.

Bailey was of West Indian origin (Trinidad) and his father arrived in Nerw York in June 1917. Bailey was born there on 6 November 1925 and spent his whole life in New York. He was drafted into military service in March 1944 and discharged in October 1947. “It seems  that Bailey had an interest in and ability to sing as a young man”, says Baun Christensen. Luther Henderson took him under his wings quite early on and in 1956 Henderson used him for recording an LP for MGM which was issued in 1957.

Bailey was also a good friend of Billy Strayhorn and this might have contributed to that Ellington recruited him for A Drum Is A Woman. In the show, he is CarribeeJoe and sings What Else Can You Do With A Drum, You Better Know It and Pomegranate.

In the spring of 1957, Bailey started to sing with the Ellington band on tour and for a while in parallel with Jimmie Grissom. The best known Bailey recording during his time with Ellingtonton is most likely Autumn Leaves which was included in the Ellington Indigos album. He also recorded Hand Me Down Love, Duke’s Place and a couple of others.

Bailey left Ellington in February 1960 and more or less got out of the limelight. However, in July 1965 he recorded with Billy Strayhorn and in February 1969 with the Ellington band.

The last public appearance of Bailey seems to have been a tribute concert to Duke Ellington on 26 April 1974. Ozzie passed away a little bit more than a year thereafter.

Bo Haufman contributes an article about George Wein and what he has to say about Duke Ellington in his autobiography. He also give a portrait of the talented pianist Brooks Kerr, who was a living encyclopedia of Ellington’s compositions and solos and a close friend of his. A third article from Bo Haufman’s pen is about the banjo player Russell Conoway, who was the one who brought Sonny Greer to Washington D.C.. In 1920, he played in a trio with Ellington and Sonny Greer at a club called Louis Thomas’s Dreamland Café in D.C.. He is mentioned by Ellington in Music Is My Mistres. The three articles are in Swedish.

Another article in Swedish is by the distinguished discographer Björn Englund. He tells about Victor’s policy instituted in 1931 for marking recordings and gives examples from the recording sessions ) 9 and 10 January 1934. A longer version of this article was published in Vintage Jazz Mart issue 171.

In the new Bulletin, there is also a reprint of the article on the DESS website about when Sidney Bechet played with Duke Ellington.

Blue Light 29-3

The Blue Light editor Gareth Evans himself has contributed one of the major articles in the new issues. It is about Duke Ellington and Bob Dylan – In Duplicate: Duke and Dylan. Once again Evans uses his knowledge about Duke Ellington and of 1960’s pop music scene to open up new perspectives. The article is really , as Evans says “a list of similarities (or rather points of comparison) between two musical giants”. Read it and agree or disagree. The second part of the article will appear in the next issue of Blue Light.

Another major article is another installment in Roger Boyes‘ long series about Duke Ellington in the 1940’s. This time it is about Ellington’s activities in the summer and autumn of 1944. It takes the reader from Ellington’s departure from Toronto in late June to his return to Carnegie Hall in December 1944.

Among the topics in the article are Cat Anderson‘s arrival in the Ellington band in September 1944, Ellington’s return to the Victor studios as soon as the recording ban was over and the 19 December Carnegie Hall Concert.

Three articles from Fred Glueckstein‘s pen is also included in the new BL issue. One is a three page article about Ellington’s meetings with Queen Elizabeth II in 1958 and 1973, another is part three of his article about Queenie Pie and the third about the ballett Pas de Duke  choreographed by the founder of American Dance Theatre Alvin Ailey to music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn in 1976.

Another set of three articles is about the Ellington legacy and how to keep it alive. Frank Griffith writes about recent and not so recent recordings of Ellington music by English bands available on CD in his article Now!

It is followed up with an article by Adam Brazell, who discuss “Will Ellington’s lasting legacy rest primarily on the recordings of his famous bands, or the reinterpretation of his composition by future performers. The third article is a reprint of Gunther Schuller’s The Case for Ellington’s Music as Living Repertory.



%d bloggers like this: