Home » Articles posted by Ulf Lundin (Page 2)
Author Archives: Ulf Lundin
Andrew Homzy at Ellington ’91
I have resumed to digitize Sjef Hoefsmit’s videos from Ellington Study Group conferences and have started with Ellington ’91 in Los Angeles. Over the next months I will publish 3-5 articles with the best presentations and panels. The rest of the videos will be uploaded to the Ellington Conferences section of the Ellington Archive.
Andrew Homzy was one of the speakers on the first day. He was originally scheduled to speak about Anatomy of a Murder but in the last minute, he changed the topic to be about some of his findings of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn manuscripts after 10 weeks of research in the Ellington Archive.
Comments on the presentation are welcome. They can be sent to me using the mailadress: email@example.com.
DESS Bulletin 2022-4
The new issue of the DESS Bulletin arrived in the mailbox of DESS members at the end of last week. Bo Haufman, its editor and also the chairman of DESS, has put together another interesting and informative issue.
As Bo says in his editorial, it is an issue with several themes.
The first one is Buster Cooper, who also is the cover boy this time.
In an four page article, Bo Haufman tells about his career inside and outside the Ellington orchestra.
The focus is of course Cooper’s seven years with the Ellington Orchestra from 1962 to 1969 but it is very good that Bo gives us his full story so we can better understand who he was.
An important period in Cooper’s life was when he went to New York in 1950 and enrolled in the Hartnett Scool of Music. His studies there made him a good music reader and this competence defined in many ways his career. He was an ensemble man and not much of a soloist.
This was his role in the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, which he joined in 1953 and with which he visited Sweden in September that year. On the recording from the concert in Stockholm, he is only heard in the ensembles. The trombone solo in Summertime is most likely played by Jimmy Cleveland.
Cooper joined the Ellington Orchestra on 17 June 1962. Her had rejected two earlier offers to be a member of the band but finally accepted the third one.
“Ellington certainly did not engage him as a trombone soloist but most probably because he was a good reader. In his book on Ellington’s trombonists, Kurt Dietrich describes Cooper’s style as follows: “Cooper was to develop a voice with the band unlike that of any other trombonists in the history of the band. His identity was quickly established as a blues player, but not a plunger blues player.”
Eddie Lambert says about him: “As a soloist he preferred an aggressive almost violent declamatory style on open horn.”
Haufman lists a number of Cooper solos that he considers to be the most significant. I have put some of them in a Spotify playlist with music mentioned in the new Bulletin.
When Cooper left Ellington in June 1969 he went back home to St, Petersburg in Florida. However, he did not stay there long but resettled to Los Angeles in 1973 and there he stayed for 21 years working in film- and recording studio orchestras. Haufman quotes him as having said “I was the busiest black trombonists on the West Coast.”
In 1994, Cooper returned to St. Petersburg and there he played for 17 years at jazz clubs in and around the town, often together with the bassist John Lamb, who had played in the Ellington Orchestra at the same time as he. Cooper left the earthly world in 2016.
The second theme is views on Ellington and his music and examples of this are given in three articles.
One is from the Swedish magazine Filmjournalen, where its filmcritic Stig Almqvist writes about Ellington’s upcoming 1939 tour of Sweden. The article is interesting particularly because it reflects the view in the upper social echelons of the Swedish society of the time on film and jazz . There is “a primitive audience for jazz as there is for film, he says and continues “both jazz and film are turned towards the big masses and satisfy in its low non-artistic form particularly young people from the social strata which not at all or only rarely have been confronted with artistic products.”
However, Almqvist admits that like in film, there is occurrences in jazz that combine popularity and music of high artistic level. “Foremost in this group is Duke Ellington” he says and goes on to talk about Ellington’s visit and his music.
The article is illustrated with one photo of the full orchestra posing in The Hague just before parting for Sweden and two photos from Ellington’s Swedish tour – one with the whole orchestra in front of a bus and another with Johnny Hodges, Juan Tizol, Barney Bigard and Sonny Greer.
Another article in this part of the Bulletin is about Ellington’s stop-over in Holland before heading for Stockholm by train on 10th April. It is written by Mark Berresford and was originally published in the Spring 2000 issue of his Vintage Jazz Mart. It gives a detailed account of Ellington’s and the orchestra’s criss-crossing of France, Belgium and Holland to give concerts and have a long report from the concert in The Hague on 8th April.
It is written J.P. Gussenhoven, a former president of the Dutch Jazz League, and is very detailed account full of comments and views of what was played at the concert on 8th April. I think on can suppose that the same repertoire was played at the concerts in Sweden.
The third article is a reprint of an article in the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter published sometime in 1944. The anonymous article is written by someone knowledgable about Ellington and respectful of him. It gives a lot of information about Ellington to the readers of Dagens Nyheter and should have made many of them interested in learning more about him.
The third theme is Ellington compositions and this time it is about Solitude. It has a condensed reprint from Mike Zirpolo’s invaluable blog Swing & Beyond (https://swingandbeyond.com). Zirpolo starts by writing about the turmoil in the American record industry in the early 1930’s, which led Ellington to record for Victor “mid-August 1933 to mid-September 1934”. He then left Victor for the American Record Corporation (ARC).
Under his Victor contract, Ellington recorded Solitude “on January 10, 1934 and a remake of it as his first tune with ARC “on September 13, 1934”. By that time Victor had not released the January 10 recording. It only did so “until “November 7, 1934. However Zirpolo’s description of Solitude in his article is the Victor record. It is available on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAdSUi3rSG4) and included in the Spotify playlist with music mentioned in the new Bulletin.
Bo Haufman gives additional information about recordings of Solitude in a separate article.
Other articles by his hand in the new issue are about Timme Rosencrantz, Ellington’s appearances at the Newport Jazz Festival and Lena Junoff. They are all good reading!
DESS member Göran Axelsson has another article on Ellington in social media. This time it is about Ellington on Facebook and Göran tells about the most important Ellington groups there.
Blue Light Autumn 2022
The latest issue of Blue Light is with its 52 pages full of good reading thanks to the hard and creative work of the editor Gareth Evans.
As in the previous issue, the major contributions come from Roger Boyes, Fred Glueckstein and Gareth Himself.
Roger Boyes continues his series on Ellington in the Forties. This time he writes about Ellington’s 1948 Carnegie Hall concert, which took place on 13 November 1948. A complete recording of the concert was issued on a double CD album by Vintage Jazz Classics (VJC) in 1991, and with the help of the two CDs and its liner notes by Andrew Homzy, Boyes goes through the concert song by song and gives his own comments intertwined with those of Homzy. He also make comparisons to the concert at Cornell University a month later with almost the same program. This concert is also available on CD.
A very valuable element of the article is Boyes’ comments on how long the music of the concert stayed in Ellington’s repertoire. He classifies 17 of the 31 pieces of the concert as “rarities”, that is melodies that disappeared from the Ellington repertoire rather soon after the concert. Boyes’ personal favourites from the concert are Lady of the Lavender Mist, She Wouldn’t Be Moved and Lush Life. Out of the many premieres at the concert, he singles out The Tattooed Bride and writes rather extensively about it.
Fred Glueckstein also writes about a Carnegie Hall Concert but the first one in January 1943. It is a rather descriptive article but full of information. It covers among other things the origins of the 1943 concert, foremost Black, Brown and Beige, the National Ellington Week, the plaque Ellington received at the concert and the reviews of the concert. Of course, Glueckstein also writes about the program of the concert. He lists the official program, which each person who attended the concert received, and gives the changes to it in the actual performance.
Another contribution by Glueckstein in the new Blue Light issue is a continuation of the article about Qeenie Pie that started in the previous issue. This time he writes with a lot of details about the performances of Queenie Pie, particularly its World Premiere in Philadelphia 18 September 1986, the following performance in October at the Eisenhower Theatre in Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C. and the failed efforts to bring it to Broadway. The next article of Qeenie Pier will be about the staging of the opera at “opera theatres and university musical departments around the country”.
Gareth Evans‘ eight page article “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em” is about how Ellington connected to rock ‘n’ roll music in the 1960’s and early 1970’s and it is one that breaks a lot of new ground.
The title of the article is also the name of a Gerry Mulligan album from 1965 with rock ‘n’ roll covers.
“If we were to collect all of the titles that were recorded with the band and which showed the influence of rock ‘n roll music we would probably have enough of material for a double lp”, says Evans, and he does his outmost in his article to give us examples of such titles.
Was Ellington’s performance at the Newport Jazz Festival 7 October 1956 with Paul Gonsalves his first rock and roll performance? Evans seems to be a little bit ambivalent about this but to a fifteen year old boy jumping around in the family living room together with his friends while listening to the newly issued Philips LP with the concert, it certainly was.
For Evans, “Duke’s first remediated attempt at recording a rock and roll number came a year later when he recorded Cop Out and Rock City Rock”. Perhaps but not everyone might agree.
His most interesting and convincing examples are those at the end of the article like the Beatle songs All My Lovin’ and I Want to Hold Your Hand, the rocky Blue Pepper in Far East Suite Suite, Didgeridoo in Afro Eurasian Eclipse with its late “exotic” manners , Chico Cuadradino in Latin American Suite, Wild Big Davis’ rhythm and blues like Luv and the soul-influenced One More Time For The People.
At the end of his rich and interesting article Evans says: “In the final analysis, it must be concluded that Duke maintained a general interest in rock ‘n’ roll but in a similar way to his relationship with bop, always kept it somewhat at an arm’s length: he neither beat or joined ’em.”
Besides these three articles, the new issue has a very substantial section with reviews of the many concerts with Ellington music in England, review of bokks and quite a lot of shorter articles.
Get it and read it!
Ellington News-Nyheter 2022-4
In this article with news from the Ellington world, I cover the new issue of DESUK’s Blue Light, Ian Bradley’s Tone Parallel 5, the latest DESScafé and Uptown Lockdown and Storyville’s reissue of the 1988 LP “Ben Webster Plays Ellington”.
I should have written about many other things but I like to keep the length of the article to maximum 1000 words. I have left space for information about the Ellington Study Group Conference in Paris next year as soon as it become available yet.
New issue of Blue Light
The autumn 2022 issue of Blue Light will arrive in the mail and post boxes of the DESUK members any day. It is another expanded edition, this time with 50 pages of interesting reading plus a nice front cover and photo back cover. We should really be grateful to Gareth Evens for his hard work to put it together.
My summary of the content is available in a separate article.
Tone Parallel issue 5
The topic is once again the Ellington Week at the University of Wisconsin in July 1972. The major part of the article is built on an interview with record producer Chuck Nessa.
He founded Nessa Records in 1967 at the urging of Roscoe Mitchell and Lester Bowie. Tthe record label became an important vehicle for Art Ensemble of Chicago and similar group.
According to Bradley, Nessa became interested in Ellington at an early age and developed this over the years. He attended Ellington concerts when he could and when Ness produced an Randy Weston album, he “came into contact with Ellington’s sister Ruth”.
Apparently Duke Ellington also knew about Ness and one day at the eve of the UWIS festival, he called Ness and offered him tickets for the whole week. So NESS attended with his wife and in the article Bradley tells us what Ness told him.
The article is very nicely illustrated by images of news paper articles and photos in a scrap book that Ness (?) put together at one point in time.
There is also a part in the article about the strained relationship between Duke and Paul Gonsalves in the later years and the moving reconciliation between them at Ellington’s last lecture at UWIS.
The September DESScafé took place 17 October 2022 and its theme was Duke Ellington 1951-1955.
Under this title, Anders Asplund, Thomas Erikson, Rasmus Henriksen och Leif Jönsson demonstrated how the Duke Ellington Orchestra developed from the beginning to the middle of the 1950’s thanks to the recruitment of young and talented musicians with roots in modern jazz when older musicians left.
The music played in the meeting can be listened to in the DESScafé Jukebox
A new Uptown Lockdown podcast was posted on YouTube by Brian Priestley on 29 October. In it he talks to journalist-author-broadcaster-
New Ben Webster record
Within the framework of the celebration of its 70th anniversary, Storyville Records has reissued the 1988 LP “Ben Webster Plays Ellington” in its Storyville Vinyl Remasters series. Accordingly, the record has the original sleeve design and Brian Priestley’s liner notes with insightful comments and is a limited edition release pressed on 180 gram virgin vinyl.
Recently, It was also made available in digital format unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
Just to remind our readers, all versions of Ben Webster Plays Ellington (including the new one) have four quartet numbers and five with the Danish Radio Big Band (or its predecessor). Two of the quartet numbers are from the Pori Jazz Festival 14 July 1967 and two from a concert at the Odd Fellow Palace in Copenhagen 1969. The big band numbers were broadcasted by Danish Radio 22 November 1971, 10 October 1969 and 27 November 1969.
The CD version has two additional tracks from a concert in Sweden in 1972.
Author: Ulf Lundin
A New Generation – Leïla Olivesi
Leïla Olivesi is one of the young jazz stars at the Parisian and French firmament but perhaps not known enough outside France except in the international Ellington community.
She is a person with many talents but foremost she is a pianist, a composer and a bandleader. She frequently performs with her different groups at jazz clubs in Paris and jazz festivals in France and most of the time they play her compositions.
She has a Master in musicology and philosophy with a thesis on “The role of the piano in the Duke Ellington orchestra” and she is currently working on her doctorate.
On top of this, Leïla is a music teacher both in schools and conservatories. She has also taken upon herself to bring jazz to young people. Her Sunday afternoons for children at the Sunset jazz club in Paris are quite fascinating.
Leïla got her breakthrough as a composer in 2013 when she won the first prize for her composition “Summer Wings” in the Big Band “Ellington composers” competition in Paris.
This led her to get a commission to write what was to become Suite Andamane for symphonic orchestra, jazz big band and choir.
Until now, she has recorded five albums, mostly with her own compositions.
Her sixth album – Astral – will be released on 18 November.
But already on 28 October, a single will be available to give a first taste of what is in the full album.
Both the CD and the single can be ordered before release dates at https://bfan.link/astral-6
I talked to Leïla some days ago and here is what she had to say.
The new album is in many ways her most ambitious venture. As the previous album Suite Andamane, it is recorded by an octet/nonet formed by her regular group plus some guest artists.
In his liner notes to Suite Andamane, the late Claude Carrière wrote: “Here Leïla appears, best as ever, as architect of her imaginary world … and her ear incessantly tuned to new trends in the music world”.
I am sure he would have said the same thing about Astral but also noted her compositional development during the three years that has passed since Suite Adamane was released and her more Ellingtonian positioning of the piano in the music.
Astral is a tribute to Carrière, who passed away last year. Leïla was very close to him and she remembers and honours him with the Missing CC Suite. It has two movements, Portrait and Missing CC.
Here is Missing CC from a summer concert in 2021.
The Missing CC Suite is of course Leïla’s own composition and so are the other songs in the album except Scorpio (track 5), which is the well-known Mary -Lou Williams composition. Astral and Au feu des rêves are co-compositions with drummer (and partner) Donald Kontomamou.
Astral is an appropriate name for the new album because it has a strong interstellar and cosmic dimension. Possibly, Mary-Lou Williams has inspired this with her Zodiac Suite but it might also reflect personal dimensions. In his review of Suite Adamane Claude Carriére talks about Leïla as an “architect of her imaginary world”.
Is it a coincidence that Astral opens with the song Astral followed by Mary Lou?
She also has a strong literary strain. Already in the quintet album Utopia , she demonstrated this and followed it up in Suite Andamane by including two poems – one by herself (Black Widow) and one by her mother (Les Amants) – to which she had put music.
This time, she includes in the new album two poems by the French poet and writer Lucïe Taïeb – Soustraire à la lumière and Au feu des rêves to which she gives musical interpretations. A instrumental version of Black Widow is also included.
Leîla is very knowledgeable about Duke Ellington as demonstrated in her Master thesis and in her many Maison du Duke presentation. However, she seldom includes Ellington compositions in her records. I have only found two – Prelude to a Kiss in TIY and Satin Doll in Suite Andame. That’s a pity because she is well positioned to give new life to Ellington’s music. Perhaps the international Ellington community could fund a “Olivesi meets Duke” CD?
More about Leïla can be learned from her website http://www.leilaolivesi.com. There one can also listen to many of the compositions in her albums. She is very active in social media.
A New Generation – Laura Jurd
Nearly 50 years after Ellington’s death, Duke’s music still continues to inspire young musicians. One of them is Laura Jurd. For those of you who haven’t heard about her, she is a British award-winning trumpet player, composer and bandleader. Very active on the UK scene, Laura has developed a reputation as one of the most creative young musician in recent years.
There are many similarities between Ellington’s and Jurd’s music. Just as the blues is always a fundamental element in Ellington’s music, Jurd likewise draws on folk music from her heritage. She doesn’t accept boundaries in music either, and her music reaches far beyond so called jazz music.
If you listen through the 8 albums or so she has made so far, and the many recordings available on YouTube, you will find several pieces related to Ellington. One of them is Billy Strayhorn’s composition Absinthe from 1963. She recorded it for the album To the Earth, released in 2020, with her regular quartet Dinosaur, together with 6 of her own compositions.
This new interpretation of this relatively obscure Strayhorn tune, is done with much respect to the original, but at the same time, the four musicians manages to give it a modern touch. It’s also quite remarkable how well Strayhorn’s tune fits in with Jurd’s own compositions.
Like Absinthe, the next track also originates from the Afro Bossa album. It is Ellington’s own composition Purple Gazelle. Jurd recorded a duo version for YouTube in 2020 with drummer Corrie Dick, also af member of the quartet Dinosaur.
There are many similarities between Jurd’s playing and the style of the Ellington trumpets. When you listen, you will notice a lot of growl and plunger work, witch often reminds me of Ray Nance. She also does valve effects, like squeezing the note and making tremolos and trills using alternative fingering, much like Rex Steward did (think of Frantic Fantasy for example).
Like Duke’s musicians, Laura also likes to invent new sounds on the instrument. On Purple Gazelle you will hear a short section (0:43) where she plays with a buzzing sound. This is done by inserting a kazoo into the bell. I have never heard anyone else do that.
In 2021, she made a solo recording of Absinthe for YouTube. Here you can hear her play some pedal notes. Every trumpet player can do that, but it’s rarely used as anything more than a technical exercise. Here she implies these low notes to good effect, with good sound and intonation, and so did Rex Steward occasionally back in the days (think of the cadenza from Boy meets horn for example.)
The last example is Jurd’s own composition Jump Cut Shuffle, written for the Ligeti String Quartet in 2016, and included on the album Stepping Back, Jumping In, released in 2019. The piece is inspired by Ellington and Strayhorn’s The Queen’s Suite from 1959. Here is a short video by Laura explaining the idea behind the piece.
As Jurd states in the video, it is not an arrangement of The Queen’s Suite. Instead, she has taken small sections from Ellington and Strayhorn’s work and used them as a starting point for her own composition. Although not an arrangement, there are several easily recognizable bits of Ellingtonia in the piece. The most obvious, is probably Paul Gonsalves’ break heard several times during the Northern Lights movement. It is first presented solo in the viola (1:35), and later as a canon between all four strings (5:41). The beginning of Lightning Bugs and Frogs is also clearly heard as a cannon (1:07), played pizzicato by all four string players. There are several others. Try for yourself and see how many you can find.
And if you haven’t had enough Laura Jurd at this point, i recommend listening to her latest album, released this september, entitled The Big Friendly Album.
Recommended albums by Laura Jurd:
Laura Jurd: The Big Friendly Album (Big Friendly Records, 2022)
Dinosaur: To The Earth (Edition Records, 2020)
Laura Jurd: Human Spirit (Chaos Collective, 2014)
Author: Rasmus Henriksen
DR Ellington Broadcasts 48
Broadcast 48 took place on 4 April 1992. This time it was produced and presented by Bjarne Busk
It is the the first “goodie” in September 2022 and is available in the ”Goodies” section of the website.
Once again, the program is a broadcast of an (almost) full concert. This time, it is the appearance of Duke Ellington and His Orchestra together with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra (aka Cleveland Summer Orchestra at the Summer Pop Concerts in Cleveland, Ohio on 25 July 1956.
However, Busk starts with an excerpt from an interview of Ellington by Ted Cassidy in Januari 1958 about his symphonic works
As Busk will confirm in the broadcast, the program had three parts: First, the combined Cleveland Pops Orchestra and the Duke Ellington Orchestra played New World A-Comin’ in an arrangement by Luther Henderson. They were conducted by Louis Lane, the musical director of the Pops Orchestra and Ellington was of course the piano soloist.
Then the combined orchestras performed Night Creature, also in an arrangement by Luther Henderson. This time, Ellington was the conducter.
After a refreshing break, Ellington and His Orchestra took over the stage for a short concert, which begun with Skin Deep, followed by a full Medley and ending with Jam With Sam and V.I.P. Boogie. In the broadcast, only I Got It Bad/It Don’t Mean A Thing (nc) from the Medley and VIP Boogie followed by Jam With Sam is played.
As an extra goodie, we give our readers Skin Deep and the full Medley here.
DESScafé 12 September 2022
DESScafé is back after having been closed for renovation since May.
This time, the meeting was in English and the topic The Young Ben Webster 1932-1939. The music to enjoy and discuss had been selected by Thomas Erikson and myself. It had been chosen to demonstrate Webster’s stylistic development during these formative years.
During this early period, he played in Blanche Calloways’ Her Joy Boys in the spring of 1931 Then joined Bennie Moten’s Kansas City Orchestra in the winter 1931/1932 and stayed with it until Christmas time in 1932.
In January 1933, Webster was engaged by Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds, where he met Mary Lou Williams. who meant a lot for his early development.
In March 1934, Lester Young moved from Count Basie band to join Fletcher Henderson’s. However, it was a short stay for Young. A few months later Henderson made a deal with Andy Kirk to exchange Young for Webster and in mid-July Webster started with Henderson. But it was a short stay. In early November the Henderson orchestra disbanded.
Webster was then recruited by Benny Carter but the band had a short life. However, several members of the band, Webster included, was recruited by the singer and entertainer Willie Bryant in January 1935 and Webster stayed with him until August 1935.
During the period with Bryant, Webster recorded not only with him but also with small groups under Bob Howard’s and Teddy Wilson’s name.
After he left Bryant, Webster played two-three weeks with Duke Ellington substituting for Barney Bigard. He participated in a recording session on this occasion and then joined Cab Calloway in September 1935. Webster stayed with Calloway for almost two years.
During the period with Calloway, Webster participate in many small group recordings under Teddy Wilson’s, Mildred Bailey’s and Billie Holiday’s name.
He moved back to Fletcher Henderson in July 1937, where he took over after Chu Berry. In Maj 1938 he abruptly leaves Henderson. Next Webster works for a short period with Stuff Smith’s small group at the Onyx Club on 52nd Street in New York and then with Roy Eldrige’s small band.
In the spring of 1939, Teddy Wilson left Benny Goodman to start a big band and he recruited Webster for the sax section. He spent ten months with the Wilson orchestra before he was invited on 21 January, 1940 to join Duke Ellington.
This is the framework for the 12 September DESScafé.
The Spotify playlist have three songs which were not played played during the meeting. They are: Without That Gal (Blanche Calloway and Her Joy Boys), Rug Cutter’s Swing (Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra) and Truckin’ (Duke Ellington and His Orchestra). I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm and The Man I Love with Teddy Wilson and His Orchestra are unfortunately not available on Spotify. and are not included in the playlist.
A Swedish text version of this article together with the video is available at https://ellington.se/desscafe/desscafe-12-september-2022/
Author: Ulf Lundin
Ellington News-Nyheter 2022-3 (more)
DESScafé is a virtual meeting place for DESS members andf others to meet and discuss Duke Ellington’s music and musicians.
It takes place on ZOOM. Each meeting has a theme and two-three presenters/animators select and introduce the music linked to it. The meetings last about one hour and a half.
Desscafé opened the first time in October 2020 and since then the café visitors have discussed and listened to interpretations of Ellington music by many Ellingtonians.
So far this year, the themes in the DESScafé has been Ellingtonians in small groups play Ellington in the 1960’s (January), Shorty Baker (February), Essentially Ellington Competion (March), Perdido (April) and Ellington’s last English tours (May).
The next DESScafé will take place on 12 september and will for the first time be in English. The theme is The Young Ben Webster 1932-1939 and the idea is to discuss his stylistic development. Thomas Erikson and myself will be the presenters/animators.
The Zoom link for the meeting is available at https://ellington.se/desscafe/.
As reported in Ellington News 2022-2, at the end of May, DESUK’s Uptown Lockdown got a new and interesting format with Brian Priestley interviewing a guest. He does it once a month and the interviews are uploaded to the Uptown Lockdown channel on YouTube.
The first one was with the musician, jazz historian and author of many books on jazz, Alyn Shipton. Brian Priestley’s Ellington-oriented conversation with him is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LJ5zYBFAUQ
The next one was with bassist Dave Green, who “enthused about Ellington, Jimmie Blanton and playing frequently with Ben Webster. The interview can be seen and heard at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbRBTGcNnoc
The third interview was with the saxophonist, clarinettist and Ellington aficionado Alan Barnes. It can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70efqBYML34
Priestley’s latest interview was with trumpeter and arranger Guy Barker. “Learn all about his early interest in Rex Stewart and Cootie Williams and about his mentoring by Clark Terry as well as hearing some great Ellington/Strayhorn music, says Brian. Here is the link to the interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fuaHwEKBdA&t=3s
The Ellington Effect
Last week, I learned from David Bergerthe the first volume in this ambitious and amazing project is still a couple of years away. Pity but we have to respect that it is a complicated project for which it is not easy to find a publisher.
Until we have the books, there are the monthly Ellington Effect workshops.
They are monthly ZOOM meetings where David “dives into a single composition each time analyzing it musically line by line and answering questionsfrom the attendees”. They last for more than two hours and sometimes they are hard to follow for a “non-expert”. But since one has to have a subscription to attend the works, one can listen to them over again and discover more aspect each time.
So far there have been 18 workshops. The most recent one was about Blasck Beauty and David gave a fascinating presentation. The next one, which will be about Harlem Speaks, takes place on 25 September.
The full list of workshops are at https://courses.suchsweetthundermusic.com/products/home.
Canada Lee broadcast
Thank you to Brian Koller and Charlie Dyson for telling us that the full half-hour version of the Canada Lee from 9 June, 1941 is available on the Internet.
There is one on YouTube as part of a 3 hours and 42 minutes of a collage of radio programs from 9 June 1941 in the World War Two Old Time Radio channel. The Canada Lee broadcast is towards the end of the program. The full program is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5_4_Z0YDfU.
Another one is available on Past Daily and the article there has both the radio program and an extensive article about Canada Lee and the background to the program. It was apparently a celebration of the Broadway opening for the Charles Wright play Native Son, in which Canada Lee had the “starring role”.
The article is at https://pastdaily.com/2018/11/
The Ellington aspects of the broadcast is that “Duke, Jeffries and Ivie Anderson are mentioned at the start of it. Ellington has a scripted dialogue with Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, then accompanies Jeffries on “Brown-Skin Gal”. It seems that Ellington intended to accompany Ivie Anderson on “Chocolate Shake” but she is a no-show, which obligates Ellington to turn the number into a piano solo” (quote from Brian Koller).
Recently, a video version of the interview was put on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZC4Xn9VMT4
Radio Jazz Copenhagen
The website has written about this radio station a couple of times. It is an amazing one, which broadcasts 24/24 hours a day and have many thematic interesting broadcasts.
One of them is Lördagskonserten (the Saturday Concert) which often features our friend and DESS member Bjarne Busk.
For the moment, the theme is recordings from jazz clubs in New York and the program on 17 September had recordings by Count Basie at Café Society in 1941.
Radio Jazz has also a special program about Ellington. It is called The Wonderful World of Duke Ellington and brings together the Ellington expert Henrik Wolsgaard-Iversen and two of his friends to play and talk about Ellington music. The latest episode was n:o 151 in the series and others will soon follow.
Like Lördagskonserten, the most recent The Wonderful World of Duke Ellington programs are available in the blog on the website.
But there is much more in the blog like some episodes of series on Ben Webster and the four program about the Swedish singer Nannie Porres.
Unfortunately, everything on Radio Jazz is broadcasted in Danish so it can be enjoyed only by those who understand this language.
Hot Jazz Saturday Night
In his program on 13 August, Rob Bamberger gave the listeners two hours of music from the period when he had left Ellington. He gave us a good and varied selection and often came back to Con Chapman’s book on Hodges, Rabbit’s Blues.
For a limited period, the program will be available to DESS member in the restricted Rob Bamberger area on the website https://ellington.se/ellington-arkivet/radioprogram/rob-bamberger/. The password is the same as for other restricted areas.