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Casa Mañana, Feb 20, 1941

Casa Manana

In last week’s article on Billy Strayhorn’s ”Chelsea Bridge”, Walter van de Leur was quoted as saying in his book ” Something to Live For, The Music of Billy Strayhorn”, that ”an unissued broadcast from the Casa Manana, Culver City” is “the only known full recording of Chelsea Bridge by the Ellington Orchestra.”

That was said before Joe Medjuck spotted that a full version was also played in the broadcast from Radio City in New York on September 8, 1945.

For DESS members who would like to compare the two ”full” versions, the broadcast from Casa Mañana in Culver City, CA on Feb. 20, 1941 is the second ”goodie” for November together with three songs from a broadcast made at  Trianon Ballroom, Southgate,CA, in June 1941. They are available for listening and downloading in the ”Current Goodies” section.

Chelsea Bridge (Casa Mañana, Culver City, Feb 20, 1941)

Our program starts with four surviving numbers from an MBS broadcast of Feb. 20 1941. The opening number is Are You Stickin’, which was obviously written for Barney Bigard to show his technical brilliance on his clarinet. Although the announcer nicknames him ”Speedometer”, Barney plays this number in a relatively slow tempo.

The main reason for presenting this program is to make it possible for our members to get access to both the recordings of Chelsea Bridge which Walter van de Leur was referring to in his book about Billy Strayhorn. (The first one was presented last week). Most people associate this composition with three people: Duke, Billy Strayhorn and Ben Webster. Webster made his interpretation stick, but it must be said that also Paul Gonsalves, later on, made a lasting impression when playing this tune.

Another Strayhorn original comes next: Love Like This Can’t Last, sung by Ivie Anderson. This number was shortlived, there are only three known recordings of it, all from 1940.

The last number we play from this broadcast is Moon Mist, composed by Duk’e son Mercer. This is in many ways an interesting performance; it is the first recording of this song,  Ben Webster plays a long solo and we hear Wallace Jones playing muted trumpet and it continues into Take The A Train as a sign-off. Later on, Ray Nance would play a violin solo and it would be used as a radio sign-off theme.

As a bonus for DESS’ members, three numbers from a broadcast at Trianon Ballroom in Southgate, California in June 1941 are also included in this month’s ”goodie”.

Again a rare performance: It’s Square, But It Rocks (by Freddie Slack and Carl Sigman) has only been recorded on two occasions (within a week or two) by Duke Ellington and his orchestra. It is sung by Ivie Anderson. The next tune, In A Mellow Tone, in contrast, has become a well-known jazz standard. Johnny Hodges and Ray Nance are the soloists.

In 1940 Duke had often used Sepia Panorama as his theme song but at the time of the Casa Mañana engagement, in early 1941, Take The A Train had been added to the band’s book. The first surviving live recording using this song as the theme comes from the Casa Mañana dance date on Feb. 16, the day after the first famous Victor recording was made The first ever recording was made exactly one month before that for Standard Transciptions.



Interpreting Ellington (2)

ehrlingthoreMel Tormé


Thore Ehrling & his orchestra play East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

The above recording is our starter for a small programme of prominent jazz musicians who present their own interpretations of Ellington’s music, to which we include also Billy Strayhorn’s compositions.

Thore Ehrling’s recording of East St. Louis-Toodle-Oo comes from an SR broadcast in 1945. This orchestra had many talanted jazz musicians, such as Gösta Törner on trumpet, Georg Vernon, trombone, John Björling and Carl-Henrik Norin reeds and they together present a very enjoyable version of Ellington’s early theme song. The rest of the programme is of mixed origin, and we present the tunes in the original Ellington chronology. You will find the complete programme below. (mer…)

Duke at Cafe Zanzibar, Sept. 23, 1945

Hurricane Duke

Duke Ellington på Hurricane Restaurant, senare omdöpt till Cafe Zanzibar

Lawrence Brown är solist i Love Letters

Bilden ovan är sannolikt från Hurricane Restaurant 1944. Ellington och hans orkester var engagerade där under ett stort antal veckor under år 1943 och 1944. Etablissemanget genomgick en renovering i början av 1945, och döptes därvid om till Cafe Zanzibar, där vi återigen återfinner Duke Ellington och hans mannar under sensommaren och hösten 1945.  Från åren 1943 till 1946 finns en myckenhet radioutsändningar bevarade, varav många finns utgivna på DETS-serien . I det här fallet rör det sig om en MBS-utsändning,(MBS=Mutual Broadcasting System) som inte utgivits tidigare och som DESS-medlemmarna nu kan hitta i sin helhet i Godisrummet. (mer…)

Trianon Ballroom, Seattle, May 1, 1954 (2)

Britt W

Britt Woodman

Britt Woodman plays Theme For Trambean

We continue with some more music from the Ellington dance date att Trianon Ballroom on May 1, 1954 in Seattle for th Goodies Room. We start where we ended previously with In The Mood since that performance was not fully complete. Soloists are: Clark Terry, Russell Procope, Jimmy Hamilton and Ray Nance. Ultra Deluxe, which comes next and is written by  Mercer Ellington, is a fine piece of Ellingtonia, which unfortunately did not stay in the reportoire for very long. It has solos by Harry Carney, Jimmy Hamilton, Ray Nance and Paul Gonsalves. The rest of this particular session is dedicated to solo performances by  Rick Henderson, Britt Woodman, Ray Nance, Harry Carney and Jimmy Hamilton. (mer…)

Trianon Ballroom, Seattle, May 1, 1954


Are Ellington and Strayhorn studying the UMMG Score?

Upper Manhattan Medical Group

In April and May 1954 Ellington and his orchestra were touring in western USA. This has been documented in a concert from Embassy Auditorium in Los Angeles on April 13, and from a dance date at McElroy’s Ballroom in Portland on April 29. In addition, songs from a Capitol Recording session on April 26 have been issued on the Capitol label.

On May 1, Duke and the orchestra were performing at a dance date at Trianon Ballroom in Seattle and the first part of this is rather interesting due to the the fact that the tunes played are not so common in the band’s repertoire. DESS members can enjoy this by logging into the Goodies Room.

Concert In Bergen, Norway, Nov. 3 1969

duke in B

Duke in front of the band in Bergen

Early this summer, NRK – Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation – published a video file with an Ellington concert from Bergen on November 3, 1969 on its web site. This concert was said to have been telecast only once (June 1970), which is a long time ago.

Probably only a few people outside Norway had the opportunity to watch it. Because of this and the good quality of the video, we decided to make this available to the DESS members in the Goodies Room.

The content of the programme is what can be expected from this tour, with the exception of the the closing number Acht O’Clock Rock with Tony Watkins performing a strange show as a dancer. In this number, Cat Anderson plays a very nice solo trumpet, mainly in the lower and medium registers.

Otherwise, Cootie is the soloist in Take The A Train and Paul Gonsalves in Cottontail.

What we see in the video is obviously the second part of the concert; the first part was probably not recorded, judging from its absence in discographies and Duke’s introductory remark about Cootie returning to the solo microphone.. The full programme is as follows:

*Take The A Train*Cottontail*Up Jump*La Plus Belle Africaine*Come Off The Veldt*El Gato*Medley*Acht O’Clock Rock*

Below is a sound recording of Up Jump from the concert:

We hope you will enjoy the show!

Göteborg 6 november 1958


När Duke Ellington och hans orkester reste på Europa-turné i oktober 1958, så var det 8 år sedan den förra turnén och av manskapet som deltog 1950 återstod nu bara c:a hälften. I stället hade nya musiker etablerat sig i orkestern.

Publiken i Europa fick nu för första gången höra och se ett antal nya intressanta solister som Clark Terry, Cat Anderson, Britt Woodman, John Sanders, Paul Gonsalves, Sam Woodyard m. fl., som visserligen inte var okända, men som var nya för den europeiska publiken.

Turnén började i London den 5 oktober och avslutades i Paris den 20 november och då hade orkestern haft konserter nästa varje dag däremellan.

Den 4 november hade turen kommits till Sverige och Stockholm, där orkestern konserterade i Kungl. Tennishallen. Från denna konsert finns tyvärr inget bevarat, men däremot besökte orkestern Göteborg två dagar senare och därifrån finns två hela konserter bevarade.

1958 års upplaga av Duke Ellington och hans orkester var tveklöst en av de av de bästa som besökte  Europa under alla år. Musik från den andra föreställningen i Göteborgs konserthus har tidigare utgivits i urval på olika skivmärken, men inte i sin helhet, samt sänts i radio (i utdrag) både 1958 och senare.

DESS’ medlemmar får den här gången ta del av den första konserten från Göteborg, vilken aldrig utgivits på skiva (undantag: Diminuendo and Crescendo In Blue & Wailing Interval). Nedan  hör vi ett exempel från konserten, medan resten av konserten finns i Godisrummet.

El Gato


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