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Winter Issue of DESS Bulletin

The new issue of the DESS Bulletin has been with its subscribers = the DESS members since a week now. Its is another very good job by its longtime editor och the DESS Chairman this year Bo Haufman.

The cover story is about Paul Gonsalves – the gentle giant in the Ellington band for more than 30 years.

He is portraited by Bo Haufman in a five-page article.

Bo admits that it is an immense topic and that Gonsalves is not his favorite tenor man. Despite this, he gives a very good and detailed  portrait of Gonsalves. It covers among other things his early career, his entrancer into the Ellington band and significant recordings with Ellington.

Bo considers that Gonsalves is at his best in ballads and slow numbers and his selection of recordings has a bias towards this.

His selection does not include I have Just Seen Her on the Columbia album All American In Jazz, which Gonsalves apparently considered as his best performance.

Bo’s article also covers Gonsalves’ many recordings with others and in this list he includes the album Boom-jacki-boom-chick, which he says, “should absolutely be included in a Gonsalves collection”.

The new issue also has a reprint of an interview of Gonsalves in Crescendo Magazin in 1964. In it, Gonsalves talks among other things about the influences when he developed his style. “Hawk was my main influence, then Ben Webster and Don Byas. ….. Other influences were Lester Young Chu Berry and even Bud Freeman.”

He also talks about his years in the Basie band – “they were a wonderful experience” – and about the Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue effect. “After a few years … you don’t want to play it at all.” “Actually, what I really like to play  are ballads”, he said.

The reprint from Mike Zirpolo’s Swing and Beyond website is this time the article about Billy Strayhorn, Billy May and Chelsea Bridge that Zirpolo published in February 2017. It is about two boys from Pittsburgh, two very different careers and two interpretations of the same song. A highly recommended article.

For those, who would like to hear the music, go to the article at https://swingandbeyond.com/2017/02/11/chelsea-bridge-billy-and-billy-strayhorn-and-may/.

Besides these three articles, there is a lot more to read in the new issues of the DESS Bulletin, among it another two articles by Bo Haufman.

One is about Leonard Feather – The Golden Feather – and the other about the names of the two parts of The Beautiful Indians suite – Hiawatha and Minnehaha.








Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

Lawrence Brown igen

I början av månaden publicerade vi ett föredrag om Lawrence Brown som musikforskaren Kurt Dietrich höll på Ellingtonkonferensen i Washington D.C. 1989. I samband med publiceringen bad vi DESS-medlemmarna att sända oss deras favoritlåtar med Lawrence Brown som solist.

Överraskande många hörde av sig och vi tackar Kim Altsund, Bjorn Andresen, Göran Axelsson, Roland Bjurman, Thomas Erikson, Bo Haufman, Brian Koller och Peter Lee för deras bidrag. We thank Kim Altsund, Bjorn Andresen, Göran Axelsson, Roland Bjurman, Thomas Erikson, Bo Haufman, Brian Koller och Peter Lee for their contributions.

Thomas Erikson gav oss en lång låtlista, som delvis sammanföll med han spelade i sitt föredrag om Lawrence Brown på DESS-mötet den 7 maj 2018, och många av hans förslag finns med i l de två spellistor, som vi ställt samman.

De innehåller också fulla versioner av de melodier som Dietrich spelade i sitt föredrag.

Spellista Lawrence Brown 1930-1939

Innehållslista 1

Spellista Lawrence Brown 1940-1966

Innehållslista 2

Uptown Lockdown

DESS’ sister organisation DESUK is not totally locked down but has gone virtual and offers through Uptown Lockdown a weekly program with interviews, music and discussions. It is the brainchild of Anthony Pepper och Frank Griffith – members of the DESUK Board – and started in the summer.

One can follow the programs live but with limited interactivity The best is to wait until the program is made available in the DESUK channel on YouTube. This is mostly done very quickly. All programs broadcasted so far can be found in the channel. The most recent there is the one from Sep. 23 https://youtu.be/zyissWHBzeU.

The DESUK website (http://dukeellington.org.uk) has a page, which describes the different ways one can follow the Uptown Lockdown broadcasts.

DESUK is not the only Ellington Society to adapt to the Covid-19 situation. After six months without meetings, TDES in New York announced last week that from October it resumes meetings but they will be streamed.

Streamed concerts and presentations

The number of streamed concerts with music by Ellington or Strayhorn and lectures about the two is steadily growing.

This month, Duke Ellington Center For The Arts DECFA offered on Sep. 20 a streamed concert called The Great Reunion: A Celebration of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

This hourlong concert is now available on the DECFA’s channel on YouTube (https://youtu.be/hQiCXi111mk).

On Sep.23, Confluence Concerts in Toronto arranged an online concert with Billy Strayhorn’s music called Something To Live For: A Billy Strayhorn Celebration. It is also available on YouTube but only until Oct. 7 (https://youtu.be/SGZfX4qROAA).

Before the concert, there was an interview with Walter van de Leur.

An online lecture NOT to miss is Who Was Duke Ellington part 1. It is given by Loren Schoenberg, founder of and senior scholar at National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Together with other lectures, it is available on JMIH’s Youtube Channel (https://youtu.be/FpriY8buwv0).

Kurt Dietrich on Tricky Sam Nanton

Kurt Dietrich continued his presentations on Ellington’s trombone players with one at Ottawa ’90 about Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton. Since the one on Lawrence Brown at Washington ’89, he had finished his dissertion and Nanton was the second trombonist, which Dietrich had researched for it.


In his presentation, Dietrich plays excerpts of Jubilee Stomp (March 3, 1927), Black And Tan Fantasy (Nov. 3, 1927), It Don’t Mean A Thing (Feb. 2, 1932),  Under The Old Apple Tree (Aug. 15, 1933), Harlem Speaks (July 13, 1933), Work Song (Jan. 23, 1943) and Blue Serge (Feb. 15, 1941).

Ellington Interviewed by Michael Parkinson 1973

In the first days of January 1973, Ellington made a short trip to Paris and London to record in three telecasts.

In London, he was interviewed on January 5 by Michael Parkinson for his famous BBC talk show Parkinson (aka Mike Parkinson Show).

The series begun in 1971 and run on and off until 2004 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson_(TV_series)).

Many famous personalities appeared in the show but Ellington  seems to have been the only one from the world of jazz.

The telecast with Ellington was aired on February 24, 1973 and the DESS website is happy to be able to let its visitors listen to the soundtrack.

The hour-long conversion between Parkinson and Ellington covered a lot of topics Many of them have been covered in other interviews but it is obvious that Ellington felt very relaxed with Parkinson and allowed his thoughts to flow freely.

At the end of the program, Ellington was invited to sit down at the piano. He chose to play a short version of Lotus Blossom after which the studio orchestra joined him in Satin Doll.

Enjoy the interview!

DR Duke Ellington Broadcasts (44)

A new set of programs  with Ellington material from the Mercer Ellington donation was put on the air by Danish Radio in the Spring of 1991. The first one was broadcasted on March 26, 1991. It was produced and presented by Bjarne Busk.

It is the the second “goodie” this month and is available in the ”Goodies” section of the website.

The program starts with a nice selection.

In the Mercer donation, Busk had found a record with three songs from Ellington’s six weeks engagement at Trianon Ballroom in Southgate, California in April and May 1942. It starts with Ivie Anderson singing The One You Love Belongs To Somebody Else. It is the only documented occasion when this song was performed by the Ellington band but it might have been performed on other occasions as well.

Next comes the first part of Body And Soul featuring Harry Carney and Herb Jeffries. Unfortunately, it is not complete. Missing is the end of Jeffries singing and the bridge by Ellington and Greer. Perhaps there was not enough space on the disc.

When Busk turns it over, Body And Soul continues with part two – an uptempo version played by Ben Webster. This fades into the station signing off followed by a Take The A Train theme. The NDESOR numbers are DE4206a-c

After the visit to Trianon Ballroom, Busk jumps almost 30 years to  a 1971 stockpile recording session in New York City. Busk gives the date as May 14 while NDESOR lists it as from May 13.

The session starts with Nell Brookshire (aka Bobbie Gordon) singing Lover Man. She was with Ellington from the end of December 1970 to mid-February 1972.

Only one of the three takes is a rather full version. Take 6, which is not included in the broadcast, has been issued by Storyville on the Togo Brava Suite CD (STCD 8323).

The May 13, 1971 section of the brodcast ends with Ocht O’Clock Rock (-8 brk and -9) and Charpoy (-10) with Wild Bill Davis as solist.

Ocht O’Clock Rock (-9) is the version included in the original Afro-Eurasian Eclipse LP (Fantasy 9489).

Next comes selections from another 1971 stock pile session, this time the one from the February 11. It is a session basically dedicated to Afro-Eurasian Eclipse material but also some other songs were recorded.

The first selection is two tune with no titles. In NDESOR, they are listed as Blues No. 17 (DE7106a-b). The first one is a very short false start but the second is a full version. Busk says that theme of the 12 bar blues reminds him of the theme of Miles Davis Freddie Freeloader. Anyhow, Norris Turney is the solist but Rufus Jones makes himself very present as well.

13 takes of Gong were recorded in the session and Busk plays six of them (-1fs), -2, -4fs, -5brk, -6 brk, 7 brk, 8 fs and -15).The last one is a six minutes full version with Wild Bill David, Duke Ellington and Paul Gonsalves as soloists. None of the recordings of Gong in the February 11 session have been issued.

The last selections from February 11 are three incomplete versions of Tang (-17brk, -18brk and -19brk).

The broadcast ends with the version of Tang included in the Afro-Eurasian Eclipse album. It was recorded on February 17, 1971.



Kurt Dietrich on Lawrence Brown

One of the outstanding presentations at the Ellington ’89 conference was the one given by Kurt Dietrich from Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin about Lawrence Brown. Dietrich was at that time working on his doctoral dissertation on three Ellington trombone players and Brown was one of them.

To make his research handable, he focused on the period up to 1951 for all the three players.

His presentation in Washington D.C. gave examples of Brown’s playing during the 1932 to 1947 period and he tried to illustrate the different styles of Brown from the lyrical one to swinging one.

In most examples he only played excerpts of the recording but in some cases also the full one.

Here is the list of what Dietrich let the audience hear:

Sheik of Araby (1932)-Slippery Horn (1933)-Sophisticated Lady (1933)-Isn’t Love The Strangest Thing? (1936)-Rose Of The Grande (1938)-Blue Light (1938)-Braggin’ In Brass (1938)-Linger Awhile (1940)-Main Stem (1942)-On A Turquoise Cloud (1947)-Golden Cress (1947).


Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

Summer issue of Blue Light

The summer issue of Blue Light is available to DESUK members since a couple of weeks ago.

As usual it provides some good reading. This time, Patrick Olsen presents a couple of new contributors.

Gareth Evans, who is of the new generation on the DESUK Committee, writes about the LP album Duke Ellington, Masterpieces: 1926-68 with 70 Ellington recordings, that Martin Williams together with Gunther Schuller was working on for the Smithsonian at the end of the 1980’s but which never saw the light of the day.

Williams talked about the the project at the Ellington ’89 conference in Washington D.C. and the DESS website published his presentation on 10th April 2018 together with some other presentations on the first day of the conference. Link: https://ellington.se/2018/04/10/ellington-89-in-washington-d-c-3/

Evans lists the recordings that Willams and Schuller had chosen, makes some critical comments to the selection and provides his own Ellington masterpieces list. He has also put up a playlist on Spotify with a selection from his list ( https://open.spotify.com/playlist/78G0522OsSohS7B7ZCwzkO).

Another first-time contributor is the American researcher Dr. Katherine Leo, who specializes in “the intersection of American music and legal histories”. Her five-page article deals with the 1993 court case Tempo Music, Incorporated v. Famous Music Corporation (i.e. the Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn estates) regarding copyrights to Satin Doll.

She gives the background to the case, the legal framework, the court’s dealing with the case and the impact of its conclusion. The key issue in the case was if a harmonic progression could be copyrighted and the court decided that “the Satin Doll progression met the legal threshold for originality and thus copyrightability”.

Dr. Leo will publish an article in the upcoming issue of Jazz Perspectives on copyright aspects of ODJB’s Livery Stable Blues.

Besides these two articles, the new issue has contributions by Ian Bradley (Uptown Lockdown), Brian Priestly (review of the new BB&B record), Frank Griffith and others. The feature Reminiscing introduced a couple of issues ago also has interesting contributions to read.

Jimmie Blanton Blog

Matthias Heyman – the Jimmie Blanton specialist and much more – has set up a page on his website “with tidbits, little-known facts, and deep dives on jazz bassist Jimmie Blanton (1918– 1942). The url is https://www.mattheyman.com/pitter-panter-chatter.

The page has also a link to articles that he has published in academic journals on Blanton, Ellington, and jazz bass playing. They are very interesting and stimulating. Good reading while one waits for Heyman’s book on Jimmie Blanton.

Wynton Marsalis on Ellington

In the June 1991 issue, Down Beat published an article by Wynton Marsalis on Duke Ellington

It was an adaptation of a speech he gave at the 1991 International Association of Jazz Educators conference in Washington D.C. The article is not an analysis of Ellington’s music but rather an expression of love and respect.

Marsalis admits that he never listened to Ellington’s music when growing up and when he heard it, he didn’t really like it. “It sounded like like the type of music that old people dance to in ballrooms, thinking they were doing something hip.”

But when he had moved to New York, things started to change. Thanks to Stanley Crouch, Marsalis one days started to listen to Ellington records and his view changed. “I could see a broad vision of what our country was about, a broad vision of what we should be dealing with.”

The full article is available to DESS members in the Ellington Archive.

Ellington på YouTube m.m.

Ellington- och filmspecialisten Brian Koller håller kretsen av Ellingtonvänner underrättad när det dyker upp nya Ellington videos på YouTube. Tack för det, Brian! Nedan är ett urval av de som har lagts upp de senaste månaderna.

Nyligen lade någon upp konserten av Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra för att fira 100 årsdagen av Billy Strayhorns födelse. Den gavs i juni 2016.

En lång video med The Royal Variety Performance 1973 lades upp så sent som igår och i den framträder också Ellington och hans orkester. Den delen börjar 56 minuter 35 sekunder in i videon och varar ungefär 15 minuter.

Den 23 mars 1965 spelade Ellington på Tyrone Guthrie Theatre i Minneapolis och under en av pauserna intervjuade jazzradiomannen Leigh Kamman honom. Två utdrag ur intervjun lades upp på YouTube under sommaren.

Det är också fallet med en kort reklamfilm för ett känt cigarettmärke.

Koller har också uppmärksammat oss Ellingtonvänner på en artikel i jazztidningen The Syncopated Times om Ellingtons tidiga trumpetare.

DESS Bulletin 2020-3

Bo Haufman, the Bulletin editor and President of DESS,  has delighted the DESS members by sending out the autumn issue of the DESS Bulletin quite early this year. This allow them to digest and enjoy another Bulletin with a lot of good reading during the last weeks of the summer holiday.

This time the cover story is about Wellman Braud – Ellington’s first main bass player

In the well-researched four page lead article, Bo Haufman gives the full career of Braud.

He starts with his early years in Chicago (1917-1923), his two month visit to England in early 1923 as member of the Charles A. Elgar’s Orchestra to play in the show “Plantation Days” and his settlement in New York upon the return from England.

In New York, Braud got engaged by Wilbur Sweatman and also played in pit bands for musical comedies. He also also participated in his first recording sessions – two Victor sessions with Thomas Morris and his Seven Hot Babies on November 12 and 14, 1926.

In June 1927, Duke Ellington hired him as bass and tuba player and he became very quickly an important element in the Ellington orchestra. Braud stayed for almost eight years and left in March 1935.

In the article, Bo gives a detailed account of Braud’s period with the band. He talks about Braud’s style and role in the Ellington Orchestra, goes through Braud’s main recordings with the band and tells about the circumstances that led the Braudman’s departure.

The final part of the article gives snapshots of what Braud did after having left Ellington. He was not engaged by any other major orchestra but seems to have stayed in the environment of blues and music anchored in the New Orleans tradition.

At one point, he moved to California In 1955, he started to play with Kid Ory there and went with the Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band to Europe in 1956. In 1959, he started “a long lasting musical relationship” with the blues and folksinger Barbara Dane. Braudman accompanied her with a trio and did this also for blues artists performing at her club “Sugar Hill – Home of the Blues.

Braud passed away in Los Angeles in 1966.

But there is not only the article about Wellman Braud to read in the new issue of the DESS Bulletin but several others.. (more…)

DR Duke Ellington Broadcasts (43)

The third of the three programs  with Ellington material from the Mercer Ellington donation, which Danish Radio put on the air in July 1960, was broadcasted on July 23, 1990 with Fleming Sjølund-Jensen as presenter.

It is the fourth DESS “goodie” this month and is available in the ”Goodies” section of the website.

The program starts with a segment of another Ellington interview, this one made by Guiana Broadcast Service. “If you had to do it all over again, would you?”, the interviewer asks Ellington. “Yes”, he replies, “but I don’t know if I would be as lucky” and then dwells on this issue.

Sjølund-Jensen dates the interview to October 1969 but it is actually from June 9, 1969. It was most likely done in Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, which was included in Ellington’s West Indian June 6-18, 1969.

Ellington and the band spent the first two weeks of October 1969 in Las Vegas. Possibly the interview was done during this engagement?

The broadcast continues with stockpile recordings from the early 1970’s. First comes The Checkered Hat from Feb. 23, 1971 with Norris Turney soloing in his own composition. It has been issued by Storyville on its Togo Brava CD.

Next are two selections from the May 13, 1971 stockpile session – Perdido (-11) and Charpoy (-12). Perdido is a feature for Money Johnson while Wild Bill Davis has the solo role in the Strayhorn composition Charpoy. It is issued on the Musicmaster label (CD) while Perdido can be found on the Togo Brava CD.

I Got It Bad, which follows, is an interesting version in an arrangement of Wild Bill Davis. Harry Carney and particularly Cootie Williams have the solo roles. It was recorded in the stockpile session Dec. 11, 1970 and has been issued by Storyville on the New York, New York CD.

After this, the program continues with Mood Indigo and Don’t You Know I Care from the stockpile session June 12, 1972.

Sjølund-Jensen then gives the listeners the pleasure to hear two full takes of Mood Indigo with a brk take in between them. This is no doubt the highlight of the broadcast. The first one is more than 9 minutes long and has not been issues on LP or CD so far. The second full take is almost 6 minutes long and is also included in Storyville’s New York, New York CD.

Ellington played similar versions of Mood Indigo at dance dates in Pennsylvania on April 14 and 19 but in June 12 Tyree Glenn was back in the band for a short time and that makes a lot of difference!

Don’t You Know I Care is a particular feature for Harold Minerve, who had joined the Ellington band in April 1971 to take over after Johnny Hodges.The take (-1) played in the broadcast has not been issued on LP or CD.

The broadcast ends with two contrasting songs.

First comes the solemn Christman Surprise  sung by Lena Horne at the first performance of Concert of Sacred Music in Fifth Avenue Presbytarian Church in NYC on Dec. 26, 1965. The lyrics are by Rev. C. Julian Barlett and the music by Billy Strayhorn.

It is followed by Ray Charles’ I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You, which Ellington recorded on May 19, 1964 for Reprise. The version played in the program (-2) has not been issued so far.

As Sjølund-Jensen says is his sign-off “We Can’t Stop Lovin’ You, Duke!


DR Ellington Broadcasts (42)

The second of the three programs  with Ellington material from the Mercer Ellington donation, which Danish Radio put on the air in July 1960, was broadcasted on July 16, 1960 with Fleming Sjølund-Jensen as presenter.

It is the second DESS “goodie” this month and is available in the ”Goodies” section of the website.

The program starts with another three selections from the stockpile session March 16, 1962. The Blues Ain’t sung by Milt Grayson ended broadcast 41. This time Sjølund-Jensen plays three more numbers with Grayson – Do Nothin Till You Hear From Me (-7) which also has a long solo by Lawrence Brown,  Where In The World (-11, -12-13- 15) and One More Twist aka One More Once (-15, -16), in which Paul Gonsalves also solo.

None of the selection have been issued on records so far.

Next comes two selections from the stockpile session Aug. 30, 1965 – Trombone Buster (-7) with Buster Cooper and Louie Bellson in leading roles and When I Am Feeling Kinda Blue aka Imagine My Frustration (-6) featuring Johnny Hodges. Trombone Buster is issued in the Private Collection series (vol 8) while the take of When I Am Feeling Kinda Blue is not issued so far.

The two following numbers are not easily found in discographies.

They are from a small group recording session with Cat Anderson as leader. Nothing from the session has been issued so far and Ellington participate only as a coach from the control room.This is why it is absent from the most common discographies.

In the broadcast, the session is said to be from August 18, 1962 but this is rather unlikely since Ellington recorded with Coleman Hawkins for Impulse that day.

In a article in the DEMS Bulletin 1990-3, Benny Åslund claims that the correct date is Sep. 18, 1962. It is a possible date. Ellington was in New York at the time and busy in recording studios. On Sep 17 he recorded the Money Jungle album.

Sjølund-Jensen lets the listeners first hear what he says Cat Anderson calls De De Dada Dum but also gives the title as Organ Grinder’s Swing. Anderson takes the opportuni to demonstrate his growl style.

The second tune is called On Flight and Anderson is certainly flying high in it. Paul Gonsalves also has a solo spot.

Next in the broadcast come two selections from the Jan 7, 1967 stockpile session. Ellington sits once again in the control room and this time it is Melba Liston, who has taken over the piano chair. She is also responsible for all the arrangements.

The selections are Jump For Joy (-7, -9 brk, -10) and I Like The Sunrise (-2, -3, -4, -5 and -9). Both are sung by Tony Watkins.

The broadcast ends with Together and Jeep’s Blues (nc) from a concert in November 1958. It is most likely the second concert at Theatre De L’Alhambra in Paris on Oct. 29, 1958.



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