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Essentially Ellington 2023

The 28th edition of the Essentially Ellington Competition for High School Jazz Band took place May 11-13 at Jazz At Lincoln Center in New York City. A jury had selected 15 bands out of the 100 which had entered the competion.

Most of the events during the three days were streamed giving Duke Ellington and big band fans a unique opportunity to learn and enjoy another young generations approach to this music and be impressed by their skills and talents.

The website will only provide a couple of snapshot from the event but more can easily be found on YouTube and other social media and local websites.

Here is what we have chosen from what we recorded in the attic of the house.


DESS Bulletin 2023-2

The new issue of the DESS Bulletin is on its way to the subscribers=DESS members or has just reached them.

The cover artist is this time Sam Woodyard, Ellington’s First Chair Percussionist as Bo Haufman calls him.

As usual, Bo has done an incredible job and written most of the major articles. The international Ellington community and not only DESS members should be grateful to him for this.

In a four-page , Haufman provides a detailed portrait of Woodyard – his background, his career with Ellington, the years thereafter and views on him as a drummer and person. At the end of the article, Bo reminds us of the ten-page interview of Woodyard in Stanley Dance’s The World of Duke Ellington.

The second article by Bo is about Herb Jeffries and his career as a film actor before and after his time as vocalist with Ellington from January 1940 to mid 1942. The focus of the article is of of course Jeffries film career in the 1930’s. While touring with Earl Hines in the early 1930’s, Jeffries learned that the cinema audience liked cowboy westerns and decided to make that kind of movies for an Afro-American public.

His first movie was called Harlem on the Prairie (1937) and was apparently quite successful financially. It was followed Two-Gun Man from Harlem (1938) and The Bronze Buckaroo (1939). In both films, Jeffries sings with The Four Tones.  They also do it in Jeffries last film Harlem Rides the Range before he joined Ellington.


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