The 1949 band
Harlem Air Shaft
”Due to the 1948 recording ban in USA, there is not much of recorded material by Ellington and his orchestra from 1948. In fact, Ellington did not go into a recording studio until September 1, 1949.
Fortunately, some concerts and broadcasts have survived allowing us to hear how the Ellington band sounded in 1948 and early 1949.
In late November 1948, the band played at the Click Restaurant in Philadelphia and material from six different NBC broadcasts from there has survived.
At the end of January 1949, Ellington started to tour the West Coast where he had a three-week engagement from February 1 at The Hollywood Empire located at 1539 Vine Street in Hollywood.
Gene Norman, well-known disc-jockey and impresario, had opened it in December 1948. One reason seems to have been that “the Woody Herman band had no place to work”. Herman was followed by Billy Eckstine at the club
The Hollywood Empire was in an area that in the 1930s and 1940s was known as Radio City due to all the radio studios and radio-themed bars and restaurants located there.
During Ellington’s stay at The Hollywood Empire, American Field Radio Service (AFRS) recorded nine broadcasts from club. Some of them were aired in the Jubilee series and others in the Just Jazz series.
In the Ellington discographies, three of broadcasts have specific recording dates while the others are identified as having been recorded in February. Seven of the broadcasts were originally issued on AFRS records but two have remained unissued. Approximately 50% of the surviving material has been issued commercially, albeit on rather unusual labels.
This time, DESS members is given the opportunity to listen to one of the unissued broadcasts in the Goodies section of the website.
It is the one identified as DE4909 in NDESOR. (Since the main part of these broadcasts were dated February 1949, the NDESOR number is a perhaps the best way to distinguish them from each other).
Ella sings Satin Doll
Around a year ago we wrote, when presenting a copy of a telecast from Cirkus in Stockholm on Feb. 8, 1966: ”The first set of the Cirkus concert was undoubtedly telecasted by Swedish Television (and was also rebroadcasted by the French TV-station M6 around 1990). However, it is more doubtful if the second set was ever broadcasted. The new DESOR lists it as ”Pre-rec for SR telecast” and so far a video copy of a telecast of the second set has not surfaced.” A copy of the second part has now been found to prove that it was in fact telecasted, although the date is not exactly known. The name of the TV programme was ”Ella at Duke’s Place” and it is now presented to the DESS members in the Goodies Room. (mer…)
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra at Carnegie Hall 1943
Joe Williams i The Blues
Black, som är den första delen av Black, Brown and Beige tar c:a 20-21 minuter att spela och de övriga, Brown och Beige är tillsammans något längre så att hela verket tar mellan 45 och 50 minuter att framföra, beroende på vilken version man lyssnar på. För en publik som var van att höra jazzorkestrar spela en standardrepertoar av 3 minuters-nummer, blev detta kanske lite tråkigt. Black blir genom sina motiv i slaveriet ganska tung musik att lyssna på, men bilden förändras när vi kommer till nästa avsnitt som då kallas Brown. Här ges en bild av afro-amerikanernas bidrag under krigen mot spanjorerna i Karibien (West Indian Dance), scener från amerikanska inbördeskriget samt därefter ”the lighter attitude” som rådde ett tag därefter. Brown avlutas med The Blues (Ain’t Nothin’). Den sjöngs vid konserten av Betty Roché som vid tillfället var ny i orkestern. Ivie Anderson hade ju dragit sig tillbaka strax dessförinnan. (mer…)
Duke Ellingtons introduktion till Black, Brown and Beige
Den 23 januari 1943, alltså för i dagarna 75 år sedan, gjorde Duke Ellington och hans orkester sitt första framträdande i New Yorks välkända Carnegie Hall i vad som skulle bli en serie av årliga händelser under 1940-talet. Denna konsert har blivit legendarisk av flera skäl, men det kanske främsta var att här presenterades Ellingtons kanske viktigaste komposition, Black, Brown and Beige, för första gången och i sin helhet.
Den kompletta kompositionen lär har framförts endast tre gånger, förutom vid detta tillfälle också i Boston den 28 januari samt i Cleveland den 20 februari. Konserterna från NYC och Boston finns bevarade, men ljudkvaliteten är inte direkt överväldigande, särskilt inte vad gäller Black.
Någon studioinspelning av det kompletta verket gjordes aldrig, varför det tog många år innan det gick att lyssna på live-inspelningen från Carnegie Hall som utgavs på Prestige 1977. Däremot skapades en svit som likaledes kallades Black, Brown and Beige, och senare gavs ut fyra 78-varvssidor, med utvalt och något omarbetat material jämfört med originalkompositionen. Senare kom Ellington att ”låna” åtskilliga avsnitt ur B, B & B för t. ex. My People, Sacred Concerts etc. och vissa av scenerna i samband med konserter senare under åren. Dessutom gjordes 1965 en studioinspelning av Black som hamnade i Ellingtons berömda ”stockpile” och sedermera gavs ut på ”The Private Collection” (mer…)
In the 1950’s Duke Ellington and his orchestra visited Blue Note in Chicago many times. In particular, it was his main venue for New Year’s celebrations, and he played there every New Year’s Eve from 1951 to 1959, except for 1954 when he visited Basin Street East in NYC. You are duly invited to listen to the festivities as they sounded on December 31, 1957 and Jan 1, 1958, exactly 60 years ago, and if you are a DESS member you will find parts of two broadcasts in the Goodies Room.
Midnight at the Blue Note Dec. 31, 1957
The orchestra members at this time were as follows: Harold Baker, Willie Cook, Cat Anderson, Clark Terry and Ray Nance on trumpets, Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson and John Sanders on trombones, Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope, Paul Gonsalves and Harry Carney on reeds, Ellington, Jimmy Woode and Sam Woodyard in the rhythm section, Jimmy Grissom and Ozzie Bailey vocals. (mer…)
In the 1940’s, from 1943 to 1948, Duke Ellington & His Orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall in NYC no less than on seven different occasions. On each of these occasions newly written extended works were played. In 1943 there were two concerts, one on Jan 23 where Black Brown And Beige was played in its entirety and one on Nov 11 which featured New World A-Comin’.
The 1944 performance included Blutopia and Perfume Suite. Then again, in 1946, there were two concerts, one on Jan 4, where Duke presented A Tonal Group and one on Nov. 23 presenting Deep South Suite.
For the 1947 performance in Dec 26-27, Ellington had been commissioned to write his Liberian Suite, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Liberian republic in Africa. There was one more concert at Carnegie Hall before the end of the decade, in Nov. 1948, which included performances of Symphomaniac and The Tattooed Bride. Billy Strayhorn contributed to most of these works, exceptions being New World A-Comin’ and The Tattooed Bride.
Deep South Suite is highlighting Ellington’s interpretation of the racial situation in the South in the forties and earlier, and below you’ll find a presentation of the contents of the suite by Leonard Feather for the subsequent V-Disc issue
Leonard Feather introduces Deep South Suite
The complete suite is available for downloading and listening in the Goodies Room. (mer…)
The Hawk Talks, Louie Bellson’s probably most famous composition played by his own All Star Orchestra in 1992
Very recently DESS members received DESS Bullentin nr 4, 2017, in which Louie Bellson is featured prominently. In 1996, Monk Rowe of Hamilton College Jazz Archives, conducted a TV interview with Bellson in Sarasota, Florida and we are happy to give you the opportunity to listen to this nice personality talking about his long career as a drummer, composer, arranger and band leader. Enjoy!