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Historisk radioutsändning

På den amerikanska radiostationen WBGO i Newark, New Jersey kunde man för ett par dagar sedan höra ett radioprogram med rubriken ”Hear the Earliest Surviving Radio Broadcast by Duke Ellington”.

Det var jazzhistorikern, författaren och pianisten Lewis Porter som i sitt alltid intressant program Deep Dive  tack vare tillmötesgående från Steven Lasker kunde låta sina lyssnarna höra 8 minuter av en radioutsändning från den 11 april 1932 med Duke Ellington.

Den sändes  från Publix Allyn Theatre i Hartford, Connecticut och sändningen som vi hör har bevarats tack vare att en man vid namn Larry Altpeter spelade in den i sitt vardagsrum med hjälp av en RCA Home Recording Electrola.

Lasker, som är ägare av skivan sedan 1998, har hjälpt till med ljudrestaureringen.

Merpareten av skivan är Ellington’s första framförande av ”When It Is Sleepy Time Down South” med Barney Bigard och Sonny Greer i ledande roller. Men vi får också höra temat från Lazy Rhapsody och en kortversion av Double Check Stomp.

På webbplatsen http://www.wbgo.org/post/hear-earliest-surviving-radio-broadcast-duke-ellington-historic-find-deep-dive#stream/0 kan man höra radioutsändningen och läsa en utförlig artikel av Lewis Porter om den.

Gröna Lund 1963 i Stockholmstidningarna

Förre redaktören för DESS webbplats, Key Jigerström,  har vänligen ställt sina kunskaper om hur man hittar information i gamla tidningar och tidskrifter till webbplatsens förfogande. Han har lusläst Stockholmspressen för dagarna runt Ellingtons spelning på Gröna Lund och har hittat lite intressant information. Både DN och Svenska Dagbladet innehöll naturligtvis annonser om evenemanget.

Svenska Dagbladet uppmärksammade också att Ellingtons Sverigeturné hade börjat och Expressen skrev om Alice Babs’ gästvisit hos Ellington en av Gröna Lundskvällarna.

Petter Himmelstrand i Expressen publicerade intervjuer med bl a Rolf Eric och Harry Carney. De kommer också att bli tillgängliga på webbplatsen.

New issue of Blue Light

The autumn issue of DESUK’s Blue Light has now been published.

The two main articles are about Ellington’s ”secret sessions” in Toronto in June 1972 and Jimmy Blanton celebrating the centenary of his birth.

The first one is written by Jack Chambers and is an expanded version of the article published on the DESS website in June and August.

The author of the Blanton article is written by the Blanton scholar (and much more) Matthias Heyman in collaboration with the DESUK editor Ian Bradley. Heyman presented his doctoral thesis on Blanton earlier this year. The article aims to ”demystify the many assumptions and unknowns that … surround young Jimmie’s life” and it does so very well.

In the issue, Roger Boyes reviews the last two volumes of Storyville’s DETS series and this is another good read.

 

Ellington-serie på Sveriges Radio 1994 (9)

Den här gången är det dags för det nionde programmet i Jan Bruérs och Lars Westins serie om Duke Ellington.

Titeln den här gången är Praise God and Dance. Den är lite vilseledande för programmet handlar om mycket mer än Sacred Concerts. Det tecknar också med breda penseldrag Ellington samarbete med skivbolag som Reprise och Impulse och ger många exempel från det.

Av någon anledning finns programmet inte listat i Svensk mediedatabas men det bör ha sänts den 2 maj 1992

Liksom de föregåendet programmen i serien finns det här programmet tillgängligt för DESS-medlemmar i radiodelen av Elllington-arkivet.

 

DESS-mötet 17 sep. 2018

Kvällens föredragshållare var Bo Lindström och publiken lyssnade uppmärksamt.

Bo är specialist på äldre jazz och tillsammans med fransmannen Dan Vernhettes författare till flera böcker i ämnet, bl.a. om trumpetaren Tommy Ladnier. Han har nyligen också publicerat en bok om trombonisten George Brashear.

Bo talade om dessa båda musiker men också kort om Duke Ellington.

Föredraget spelades in och är tillgängligt i antingen video eller bara ljud i avdelningen DESS-möten.

Han berättade om Ladniers och Brashears karriärer, pekade på deras spelstilar och illustrerade det med olika musikexempel. Här är några av dem i ordningen som de spelades eller var menade att spelas under föredraget. De är alla korta utdrag.

If You See Me Comin’ (Mezzrow/Ladnier Quintet 19 dec. 1938)

Pacific Coast Blues (Ethel Waters’ Jazz Masters juni-juli 1922)

Jada Blues -1 Julia Moody Acc By Joe Smith’s Band c aug.1922

Jada Blues -2  Julia Moody Acc By Joe Smith’s Band c sep. 1922

Rock Jenny, Rock 1 Georgia Strutters 23 maj 1927

I Lost My Gal From Memphis Bubber Miley And His Mileage Makers 16 maj 1930

Den kompletta musik i föredraget kommer finns i avdelningen DESS-möten

Bo hade mycket föredömligt gjort i ordning ett bildspel. Här är några exempel på bilder som han visade. Hela bildspelet finns i samma avdelning som musiken och föredraget.

Bo gav också publiken en snabblektion om jazzforskning och visade några av de källor som han använt för sina böcker men också hur man kan finna uppgifter om Ellington.

Ett varmt tack till Bo för att han delade med sig av sin rika kunskap.

Efter sedvanlig förtäring och mingel blev det lite film från Anders Asplunds rika arkiv. Den här gången fick publiken se Artie Shaw, Fats Waller, Lester Young, Charlie Parker och naturligtvis Duke Ellington. Uppskattat som vanligt.

Ansvarig för inspelningen av föredraget är DESS’ ljud- och it-expert Göran Axelsson.

Extended Ellington (2)

On June 24 – just before the summer break – we published the first part of ”The Extended Ellington” concert, which ended the third day of the Ellington ’88 conference.

The second part of the concert starts with what is the ”world premiere performance” of The Queen’s Suite. It refers to the fact that this is the first public performance ever of the suite.

It took another 14 years before there was a second public performance took place. In 2012 during the Diamond Jubilee of the reign of Queen Elisabeth II, the Echoes of Harlem orchestra played it at the Marlborough International Jazz Festival.

At the fourth day of Ellington ’88, Roger Boyes talked about the Duke meeting the Queens in Leeds in 1958 and his memories from Ellington’s performances there. It can be heard here.

After a break, the orchestra continues with ”Black, Brown and Beige”. Alan Cohen steps in as guest conductor and June Norton is vocalist.

The concert ends with a swinging Stompy Jones with Bill Berry, Buster Cooper, Jimmy Woode, Sam Woodyard, Alice Babs, Herb Jeffries and others joining in. A good way to end another succesful Ellington conference!

And it also marks the end of the series of articles on Ellington ’88 in Oldham.

Loren Schoenberg on Midriff

Billy Strayhorn composed Midriff in 1944. Its first appearance in the Ellington discographies (NDESOR) is Ellington’s first Carnegie Hall concert in December 1944 and was quite prominently featured in the Ellington 1945 repertoire as can be heard on for instance the Treasury broadcasts. The first recording of Midriff was also done in 1945 by World Transcription (January 2, 1945).

Then Midriff disappeared from the repertoire for a long time except for occasional appearances. It was recorded by RCA-Victor for the French Swing Label on September 3, 1946 (and issued couple with Esquire Swank recorded on the same date).

Midriff was also part of the program for the 1947 Carnegie Hall concert and performed during Ellington’s engagement at Meadowbrook and Birdland in 1951 and at a dance date (unknown location) in March 1952.

It was also recorded in 1956 (Bethlehem) and 1960 (Columbia).

However, its real return to Ellington’s repertoire was the 1965 European tour when DESS-members possibly heard it at the Stockholm Concert Hall on February 2.

The last time it was played by Ellington was the recording session on September 16, 1967 for the ”And His Mother Called Him Bill” album. Making Midriff part of this special tribute to Strayhorn following his passing away on May 31, 1967 should tell us that this work was more important in the Strayhorn legacy than the number of performances of the song indicates.

Midriff is not discussed very much in the Ellington literature. Not even the Strayhorn specialists Walter van de Leur and David Hajdu give much attention to the work and neither does Eddie Lambert in his ”A Listeners Guide”. One can wonder why!

But finally, it was Loren Schoenberg at the Oldham ’88 Ellington conference, who took upon himself to unveil the inner secrets of the work in a very well-structured presentation and guide the listerners through its developed over the years.

He had also taken the trouble to prepare a three-page hand-out summarizing his key points. Thanks to Roger Boyes, the visitors of the website can also follow Schoenberg’s presentation in hand.

 

It is available here.

Enjoy!

Andrew Homzy on Idiom ’59

On June 26-27 1959, Duke Ellington appeared at a four-day jazz festival in Tamiment-In-The-Poconos, Pennsylania. Here he presented a new fourteen-minute work called Idiom ’59.

One week later, on July 4 1959, he played it again (in a slightly different version) at the Newport Jazz Festival and possibly at other festivals during the summer.

On September 8, Ellington and the band went into Columbia’s 30th Street Studios to record Idiom ’59 and other highlights of the summer tour. Ten of them – including Idiom ’59 – were issued on the Festival Session album in 1960. The original version – Columbia CL 1400 – was in mono but a stereo version was issued later in the year by CBS France.

After the Columbia recording, Idiom ’59 disappeared from the Ellington repertoire and went into a kind of shadow land. It ”attracted little critical attention” (Boyes) and did not create much enthusiasm among Ellington experts and aficionados. When Eddie Lambert wrote about the work in his Listerner’s Guide, he says that ”neglect and obscurity have been its lot” even if he considers that there is ”enough of fine music to deserve more”.

With this background, it was very welcome that the Ellington ’88 conference in Oldham allowed Idiom ’59 to have a little bit of a comeback.

The Ellington ’88 Orchestra featured it in its ”Extended Ellington” concerts and this was preceded by an outstanding presentation of the work by Andrew Homzy – Professor of Jazz Studies at Concordia University in Toronto at the time  and a specialist in extended jazz works.

Before coming to Oldham, Homzy had transcribed and analyzed Idiom ’59 in detail. For this he had used three different issues of the Festival Session LP (see below). To the benefit of the conference participants (and now also the readers of this article), he had summarized his work in an eleven-page handout. It goes through the work bar-by-bar and gives a number of examples, which illustrate the work’s motifs and their development.

It is highly recommended to digest it before listening to the presentation. It can be downloaded here.

With the lecture, Homzy wanted to take the listeners through Idiom ’59 to present some of the things he had ”discovered in this piece of music to show the strength, the intelligence, the soul, the beauty of Duke Ellington’s work as a composer”.

Roger Boyes was in the audience and got very enthusiastic about Homzy’s presentation. An article he published in Blue Light in 2010 reflects this. ”A fascinating paper” he says. Boyes’ full article is available here and we are grateful to Roger to have been allowed to draw from it for this article.

 

 

 

Brian Priestly on BB&B

In 1974, Brian Priestly – jazz writer and pianist among other things – and the arranger and composer Alan Cohen wrote what Mark Tucker has labelled ”the first serious analytical article on Black, Brown and Beige”.

In the early 1970’s, they spent considerable time listening to and transcribing several recordings of the suite and they also studied a score published by Tempo Music.

Their work was the basis for the recording of BB&B, which Alan Cohen did with his orchestra in 1972.

Having acquired a very detailed knowledge of the suite, they were able to write an article which Tucker has characterized as a ”densely detailed, section-by section discussion” with ”special attention to Ellington’s thematic treatment and unifying techniques”.

The article was originally commissioned by the British ”Jazz & Blues” magazine but finally published in ”Composer” – the bulletin of the Composers Guild of Great Britain. A reprint of it is included in The Duke Ellington Reader.

At the Ellington ’88 conference in Oldham, Brian Priestly revisited Black, Brown and Beige.

The Ellington Orchestra ended its ”Extended Ellington” concert on the third day of the conference with a performance of the work. For the occasion, Alan Cohen took over as guest conductor and he brought in Brian Priestly to play the piano as he had done when Cohen  recorded the suite in 1972.

In the afternoon before the concert, Priestly shared his analysis of and view on the work with the conference participants. It is a presentation not to be missed.

The performance of the BB&B at Ellington ’88 will be available on the website on September 28.

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