Loren Schoenberg – founder of and senior scholar at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem – provided the first presentation on the third day of Ellington 2021. He is also a pillar in the international Ellington community as well as in the Benny Goodman one and is a terrific expert on big band jazz.
He had hinted to the Ellington 2021 organizers that he might talk about something different than in the program but when he announced that he was going to talk about the Barney Bigard small group recordings in the 1940’s, everybody was happy. They realized that they were in for an interesting talk. And that was what Loren delivered!
For those interested in other presentations by Loren, the YouTube channel of The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is highly recommended as is his lectures at Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Swing University.
Laurent Mignard ended the third day with a sparkling multimedia presentation of his Duke Orchestra. He founded it in 2003 to bring Duke Ellington’s music to old and new audiences and he has done this in a succesful way.
Mignard’s formula for achieving this has been to bring together an extraordinary good orchestra with talented soloists of different generations, use his skill as arranger and transcriber to provide the orchestra with a solid modern Ellington repertoire and frame Ellington’s music in almost theatrical projects.
The presentation was very much about those projects and the Ellington 2021 audience could enjoy video clips from them, including one from a recording session for the upcoming Duke’s Ladies CD album.
Learn more about Laurent Mignard and Duke Orchestra at https://www.laurent-mignard.com/duke-orchestra/ and about himself at https://www.laurent-mignard.com/en/laurent-mignard-biography/.
Marilyn Lester ended the second day of Ellington 2021 with a presentation on Ellington and The Great American Songbook.
It is a topic she knows very well thanks to her background as a critic/reviewer and writer on jazz, cabaret, popular music and theater and she demonstrated this very well in her detailed and thoughtful presentation.
Her broad knowledge has made her an associate editor of the American Popular Song Society newsletter in additon to being the editor of the Duke Ellington Society of New York newsletter.
As a person full of energy and ideas, she is currently also working on several theater projects and two films in development.
In addition, Marilyn is an active member of the international Ellington community and helped to prepare Ellington 2021 as member of the Advisory Program Group.
Ken Steiner has contributed to many Ellington Conferences – Stockholm, London, Amsterdam, Portland, New York, and was scheduled for a presentation at last year’s conference in DC.
This time, his task was to present the Never-Issued Rarities, which Steven Lasker had generously made available for Ellington 2021. Ken handled the job in an elegant and humorous way.
The presentation triggered many comments in the chat room including many thanks to Steven Lasker for letting the Ellington 2021 participants listen to the seven rarities . The comments can be read here.
Ken first fell under the spell of Duke Ellington’s music when he heard Duke in concert at Georgetown University on February 10, 1974. He’s been researching Ellington ever since.
Day #2 of Ellington 2021 took place on May 3rd. The program is available here.
David Berger opened the day with his presentation Flaming Youth: Ellington’s 1920 Compositions. For more than an hour, he guided the meeting participants through East St. Louis Toodle-oo and Old Man Blues with the scores and the music provided in parallell.
The presentation was really a preview of what one can expect to find in five-volume book series on Ellington’s music that David is currently working on. Each volume will include analyses of 8-10 scores (https://www.suchsweetthundermusic.com/pages/the-ellington-effect). The first volume is expected to be published this year.
More previews are available in the Zoom workshops David is organizing every month (https://courses.suchsweetthundermusic.com).
Bent Persson – Swedish trumper, arranger and transciber – did the last presentation of the first day of Ellington 2021. He talked about Kustbandet – 60 Years with Ellington.
As a member of the orchestra for almost 40 years, Bent knows about it and demonstrated this in his presentation. He had selected musical examples from the late 1960’s to the early 21st century with a particular emphasis on Kustbandet’s appearance in Paris in 1984.
She is a British jazz clarinet player and researcher and a jazz clarinet teacher at Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hamburg since 2019.
Her 2019 thesis was on Ellington’s clarinetists and she expanded on it in her presentation Ellington’s Clarinet Players.
Learn more about Samantha at http://www.samanthawright.co.uk.
Among other things, there is a link to her blog Jazz Clarinet Players, which has a recent post with the scores to the music she played in her presentation.
Samantha is also composing and arranging for her own ensemble.
Her debut album is released with a concert on Hamburg Stream on Sunday 23 May at 20:25 CEST. It will be streamed on YouTube. All information about it can be found here https://hamburg.stream/samantha-wright/
LeÏla Olivesi – pianist, composer, band leader and lecturer at meetings of Le Maison du Duke – followed John E Hasse on the first day of Ellington 2021. Her talk was about Ellington’s Piano Performances : A Laboratory for Composition.
Learn more about her at http://www.leilaolivesi.com.
The first session of Ellington 2021 took place on April 29 in honor of the Duke’s birthday.
The program for Day #1 is available here.
Some 70 people from Canada, Denmark, Italy, Israel, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. attended on Zoom.
After the opening of the event by Bo Haufman and Ulf Lundin, the invited key note speaker John E. Hasse, Curator Emeritus At Smithsonian (https://johnedwardhasse.com), delivered the first presentation of the day.
With the passing away of Theodore (Ted) R. Hudson on April 27 at the age of 99, the Ellington community lost an important member and a good friend to many of us. He was a wonderful person and a true gentleman.
In his gentle way, Ted was always there to give a helping hand when one needed a piece of information on Duke Ellington, help to open doors to archives in Washington D.C. or photos from Ellington meetings and conferences.
He had a distinguished academic career and was Professor of English at the Howard University in Washington D.C. for many years with Afro-American literature as a speciality.
Ted was one of the pillars of Chapter 90 of the Duke Ellington Society in Washington as its vice-president and editor of its newsletter for many years.
When the Ellington conferences got off the ground in 1983, he also became a regular participant in and a presenter at many of them. His presentations often reflected his commitment to the black cause and his knowledge of Afro American literature.
Here are two examples of Ted’s presentations at Ellington conferences. But there are others on the website.
At Ellington ’93 in New York, his topic was Toward an Ellington Aesthetic.
And at Ellington ’94 in Stockholm, his presentation was on Ellington’s childhood in Washington D.C. or rather the racial, religious and educational and social settings in which he grew up.
Ted, thank you for what you have given us. We will miss you.