DUKE ELLINGTON SOCIETY OF SWEDEN

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Music at Ellington ’92

There was much live music at the Ellington ’92 conference. May 28 was Ellington Nights at many clubs and restaurants in Copenhagen.

Then there was the Gala Concert on May 29 with many well-known jazz musicians like Abdullah Ibrahim, Svend  Asmussen, Jesper Thilo, Clark Terry, Buster Cooper, Arne Domnerus, Bength Hallberg, The New Jungle Orchestra and others were participating.

A second Gala Concert took place the following day with The Danish Radio Big Band as main feature. There was also a late night Ellington Ball for conference attendees only.

Unfortunately, no recordings of the musical events exists but Bjarne Busk took a lot of photos, which he has kindly made available to the website.

The reception which kicked off the conference was also a musical event. It took place at Woody’s at Bolten restaurant in the center of Copenhagen and the Danish/Swedish/American group Jan Kaspersen Septet provided the music.

One of the bands, which performed at the Ellington Nights event on May 28, was Ancher Grøn Big Band. This young Danish big band played a four-hour concert.

For the occasion it had enlisted Mercer Ellington as conductor and Willie Cook as one of the main soloist. In addition to original or updated arrangements from the Ellington repertoire, Mercer Ellington and Bengt-Arne Wallin contributed works.

There were also concerts in Copenhagen clubs like Copenhagen Jazz House (James Newton Group), Finn Ziegler’s Corner (Finn Ziegler Trio), La Fontaine (Jacob Fischer Trio) and many more.

Clark Terry and The Scandinavian All Stars performed at the Montmarte jazz club

The band was actually very busy during the conference and also played at the two Gala Concerts and the Ellington Ball.

This was also the case for The Ellington Combo with Rolf Ericson, Buster Cooper, Jesper Thilo, Kenny Drew and shifting Danish bass and drum members.

 

At the Ellington Nights they played at De Tre Musketerer (The Three Musketeers). Then the band went on to the Gala Concerts and the Ellington Ball.

 

 

Andrew Homzy on Ellington-Strayhorn

Andrew Homzy made another interesting presentation at the Copenhagen ’92.

This time, his focus was the collaboration and creative process between Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.

He had studied the manuscript scores in the Ellington Archives and used them to provide insights into the process.

Homzy had selected examples from 21 songs to comment upon but because of lack of time he went more deeply into only some of them.

They were, among others, Something To Live For, Barney Goin’ Easy, Take The ‘A’ Train, Rocks In My Bed, Tell Ya What I’m Gonna Do and Memphis Blues.

List of songs

With these songs, Homzy demonstrates the different modes of Ellington’s and Strayhorn’s collaboration  like Ellington sets up the arrangement and Strayhorn takes over or Ellington do the arrangement of a Strayhorn composition or Strayhorn arrange an Ellington composition etc.

The audience benefitted from slides with scores that Homzy had prepared for his presentation.

Unfortunately, we do not have access to them except the one for Rocks In My Bed which was among the handouts provided to the conference participants.

Rocks In My Bed 1

The discussion on the compositional interplay beetween The Monster (Ellington) and Sweetie Pie (Strayhorn) continued at the next Ellington Study Group conference – the one which took place in Stockholm in 1994.

Having also studied the material in the Ellington Archive, Walter van de Leur, provided another presentation on the topic. Here is the link to the presentation

He had some different views from Homzy, which he, of course, further discussed in his book Something To Live For.

Bill Hill: Portraits of The Duke

William (Bill) F. Hill, who was the chairman of the Ellington ’91 conference and participant in other Ellington Study Group conferences before that, contributed to Ellington ’92 as well.

 

He had systematically collected during a three year period compositions written and performed with the purpose to do hommage to Duke Ellington. They all reflected some aspects of him and the Ellington orchestra.

He reported on this work of love to the participants in Copenhagen. In his presentation. Hill plays excerpts from some of them and together will Andrew Homzy he introduced them.

Because of the recording and microphone setup in the conference hall, the balance between the spoken presentation and the music is not the best (to put it mildly) but the music parts has been edited to increase the volume on the original tapes.

Hill handed out a two-page list of what he found had to the participants at the Copenhagen conference. It included almost 70 works written and recorded by 30 different artists. Worthwhile reading!

Cph 93 Hill handout

 

 

DESS-mötet 6 maj 2019

Som vanligt hade programgruppen med Leif Jönsson i spetsen satt ihop ett intressant och bra program. Kärngruppen av DESS-medlemmar var på plats för att ha ännu en trevlig Ellington- och swingkväll men fler borde ha utnyttjat förmånen.

Ett fokus för kvällen var Ellingtons hundratjugonde födelsedag och Håkan Skytt hade rekryterats för att ge en snabbtur genom Ellingtons liv och musik. Hans föredrag – framfört med humor och fyllt med musik – uppskattades mycket.

Tack vare Göran Axelsson kan frånvarande DESS-medlemmar ta del av föredraget i efterhand. Det finns i avdelningen DESS-möten på webbplatsen. De som bara vill lyssna till musiken som Håkan valt för sitt föredrag kan också göra det. Den finns här.

Swinggruppen JazzMaTazz stod för kvällens musik. Imponerade att DESS kan erbjuda sina medlemmar ett framträdande av en grupp av den här klassen.

Gruppen spelade hela 16 låtar och av Ellingtons musik bl.a.

It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

All Too Soon och

I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart

”Uppskattat, svängit ochg lätt att ta sig till”, sammanfattade en i publiken.

Thomas Harne rapporterar mer utförligt om kvällen och JazzMaTazz framträdande i nästa nummer av Bulletinen.

 

Alexandre Rado on Ellingtonians in Paris

Alexandre Rado was a key component of the international community of Ellington experts until his too early death in 1997. He was a friend of many members of the Ellington band, a frequent presenter at Ellington conferences and a record producer of immense importance.

His first appearance at an Ellington conference was the Copenhagen ’92 one. The topic for his presentation was Ellingtonians in Paris.

Under this heading Rado gave the conference participants examples of records made by Ellingtonians when the Ellington orchestra visited Paris or during stays of their own in the city after 1974.

Particularly featured in the presentation are – as can be heard below – excerpts from recordings by Cat Anderson, Alice Babs, Buster Cooper, Paul Gonsalves and Sam Woodyard.

Cat Anderson was a special friend of Rado’s and his presentation at the Ellington ’94 conference was focussed on ”The Cat”. It can be heard and seen here.

 

Kuriosum – eller?

Harald Grut var en välkänd dansk jazzjournalist. Han skrev om jazz i danska tidningar och medverkade i dansk radio med jazzprogram.

Grut, som ursprunligen hette Hansen, föddes 1916 och skrev om jazz framför allt under 40- och 50-talen.  I mitten av 40-talet började han bidra med jazzartiklar också till Orkesterjournalen och Melody Maker. Grut avled 1982.

Tack vare en anställning på den amerikanska handelsdelegationn (senare ambassad) i Köpenhamn efter andra världskriget kunde han tidigt skaffa jazzskivor och jazztidskrifter från USA och blev en av de mest jazzkunniga i Danmark.

Tack till Bjarne Busk för informationen om Grut.

1957 publicerade OJ en artikelserie av Grut om Ellingtons musiker. Serien var något av det första mer ”djuplodande” om Ellington som webbredaktören läste.

Så här i efterhand framstår den som ganska tidstypisk. Det tidiga 40-talsbandet med Blanton och Webster ses som höjdpunkten i Ellingtons karriär och därefter gick det utför. Grut var inte ensam om den uppfattningen och den lever starkt hos många också idag.

Artikelserien publicerades som sagt i OJ 1957, närmare bestämt i maj-oktober utgåvorna av tidningen. Men en förnyad läsning av den pekar på att den måste ha skrivits långt tidigare. Sannolikt skrevs den 1954 eller i början av 1955. Kanske publicerades den ursprungligen i en dansk tidning och fann sina vägar till OJ långt senare.

Hela artikelserien finns tillgänglig för intresserade DESS-medlemmar i Ellington-arkivet men det första avsnittet kan läsas också här.

Artikel 1

 

 

Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

Nästa möte

Nästa DESS-möte äger rum nästa måndag den 6 maj. Lokalen är som vanligt Franska Skolans aula.

DESS-medlemmen m.m. Håkan Skytt står för kvällens föredrag. Ämnet är ”120 år med Duke Ellington – en sammanfattning”.

Gruppen JazzMaTazz står för kvällens musik. Den har mottot ”Lite swing får man räkna med”. En presentation av gruppen finns här.

More about Towne Casino

After the article published on March 21 with a radio broadcast from Towne Casino in Cleveland, DESS member Sonja Svensson has told us more about the club. She studied for a year at Western Reserve University in 1961 and spent many nights at the club.

This link to the blog Jazzed In Cleveland tells that Duke Ellington played some 40 times in and around Cleveland.

http://www.cleveland.oh.us/wmv_news/jazz29.htm

A complete index to the blog is available here.

New issue of Blue Light

The Spring 2019 issue of Blue Light reached its subscribers a couple of weeks ago. It has been put together by an interim editorial group waiting for Patrick Olsen to take over as editor with the next issue.

The main feature is a very interesting ten-page article titled The Protean Imagination of Duke Ellington – The Early Years. It is written by a certain A.J. Bishop of whom not much is known. In addition to the article reprinted from Jazz Journal in the new Blue Light issue, only two other articles from Bishop’s pen are known. They can be found in Mark Tucker’s Duke Ellington Reader.

Monsignor John Sanders is remembered in two articles by Roger Boyes, who also reviews the Heading for Newport CD issued by Doctor Jazz.

New radio program from Bill Saxonis

Last week Bill Saxonis was featured on station WCDB and its Saturday Morning Edition of Jazz for 19th consecutive year with his Ellington birthday bash. This four hour long program with program host Bill McCann had – as always – a lot to offer. The DESS website is very happy to have been able to serve Bill with some material for the broadcast.

Two one-hour installments is available in the website’s Ellington Archive and two more will be added later this month.

 

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