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The Mercer Ellington donation

The program of the Ellington ’92 conference also included a presentation on the Mercer Ellington donation to Danish Radio. It was delivered by Erik Wiedemann, Bjarne Busk and Flemming Sjølund Jensen.

Photo: Bjarne Busk

First Erik Wiedemann spoke about Mercer Ellington’s donation of 781 Ellington tapes to Danish Radio on the condition that it would properly mixed onto new tapes.

Then Bjarne Busk and Flemming Sjølund Jensen followed up by letting the audience listen to examples from the archive.

Busk talked among other things about his excitement when he listened to the first tape, which started with what turned out to be Pastel from the Degas Suite. He also gave some figures on the donation. 443 tapes were studio recordings from 128 dates. There was also 69 tapes with live recordings from 35 occasions and 53 tapes with interviews of Ellington.

Photo: Bjarne Busk

Busk finished his presentation by playing a recording from the Aug. 18, 1966 session ”which will never be issued” but also other examples from the tapes were included in it.

Sjølund Jensen focused his presentation on an untitled blues recorded on Nov. 23, 1968 and used it to demonstrate ”how Ellington and the band developed their material”. He very much featured Lawrence Brown in his clips.

Brian Priestly on Duke – The Pianist

Brian Priestly was also one of the speakers at the Ellington ’92 conference in Copenhagen.

Photo Bjarne Busk

He talked about ”Ellington The Pianist”.

During the 45 minutes presentation, Priestly played eight Ellington recordings with the piano at the centre and used them to highlight different aspects of Ellington’s piano playing. From time to time, he also sat down at the piano to give emphasis to his comments.

The music played in the program was Rockin’ in Rhythm (1937), Melancholia (1953), See See Rider (1972), (I’m Riding On the Moon and) Dancing on the Stars (1938), Band Call (1954), The Clothed Woman(1947), Bang Up Blues(1950) and Body and Soul (1961)

 

 

 

Stockholm 1994 (8)

This is the final part of videos from the Ellington ’94 conference in Stockholm.

At the end of the first day, Professor Ted Hudson, at that time vice-president of the Washington D.C. Chapter of Duke Ellington Society, gave a presentation on Ellington’s childhood in Washington D.C. In it, he depicted the cultural, religious and racial environment, in which Ellington grew up.

On the last day, Walter van de Leur – the Billy Strayhorn specialist and nowadays professor Jazz and Improvised Music at the University of Amsterdam – gave his first Ellington conference presentation on his research work on Billy Strayhorn. He would give presentations on this topic at many other Ellington conferences and academic musicologist gatherings.

Also Dr. John Edward Hasse, Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., took the stage the last day. His topic was ”Ellington Storms Sweden” and he presented press and and public reactions to Ellington’s Swedish and European tour in 1939. He also talked about the work of his department at the Smithsonian to preserve the legacy of Ellington and sold many copies of his book ”Beyond Categories – The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington”, which had been published in 1993.

And then, after three full days of presentations, concerts and social mingling, it was time to thank the organizers, say good-bye and announce Ellington ’95.

 

Stockholm 1994 (7)

This is the last installment of presentations at the conference – at least for now. They are all presentations from its last day.

Thanks to hard work by Patricia Willard and the generosity of Klaus Strateman, the participants got the opportunity to watch the full TV-version of ”A Drum Is Woman”. Unfortunately, because of the copyright issues involved it can not be shared on the website.

However, the showing was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Patricia Willard and you can enjoy it here. The members of the panel were Clark Terry, Willie Cook, Louis Bellson, Joya Sherrill and Jimmy Woode.

 

After the panel, Joya Sherrill was interviwed by Patricia Willard about her time with Ellington and particularily her participation in ”My People”

 

The last presentation at the conference was given by Sjef Hoefsmit, who spoke about his love for Duke and Billy Strayhorn and shared some of his films of Ellington’s appearances in Europe.

 

Given that the Ellington 1994 series on the website has been possibly thanks to Hoefsmit’s shooting of seven videos during the conference, it seems appropriate to it in this was. However, there are  still some more presentations to published and this will be done once we have received permission to do so.

Stockholm 1994 (5)

Here is some more from the Ellington ’94 conference in Stockholm.

One of the afternoon presentations on the second day was by Jan Bruér. He talked about ”Duke Ellington in Sweden”.

Later in the afternoon on that day, Andrew Homzy talked about ”Duke Ellington in the Avant Garde”.

In the morning of the last day of the conference, Alice Babs and Nils Lindberg sat down together to talk about ”There Is Something About Me” – a composition which Ellington gave to Alice Babs on a cassette tape one day in New York and which she later recorded with Nils Lindberg.

 

Stockholm 1994 (4)

Richard Wang, director of the jazz ensemble at the University of Illinois, gave the last presentation of the first day. He talked about the 1994 revival in Chicago of Ellington’s Beggar’s Opera.

 

The second day of the conference included a presentation by the English trumpeter and musicologist, Ken Rattenbury, on Ellington’s method of composition. The result of his research work was later publish in the book, ”Duke Ellington, Jazz Composer”.

 

In the afternoon, Lawrence H. Lawrence talked about Bubber Miley. Unfortunately, only about 30 minutes of his presentation was taped. The beginning part is missing.

Ellington ’94 (3)

After the lunch at the Stockholm Town Hall, the conference participants enjoyed, among others a presentation by the French jazz critic and record producer Alexandre Rado on his friend Cat Anderson, and to what Nils Lindberg, the Swedish jazz musician and composer, had to say about Dalecarlia and African influences in the orchestral arrangement he wrote for Duke and which was recorded as Far Away Star

The next morning, after having recovered from the gala concert at the Stockholm Concert Hall (where among others Clark Terry performed), they could listen to Klaus Stratemen talking about Ellington on film and showing some goodies from his archive.

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