DUKE ELLINGTON SOCIETY OF SWEDEN

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The Ellington Study Group Conferences

Last year, the 24th Duke Ellington Study Group conference took place and this time in New York City. And in May this year, DESUK organized a one day mini-conference using a format similar to the Study Group ones.

The Study Group Conferences have had a tremendously important role in building an international network of Ellington scholars and aficionados and a solid knowledge base of Ellington’s work, life and music.

The network of Ellington clubs and societies has been crucial for the conferences. Without them, they would never have taken place. The first one – “The Duke Ellington Jazz Society (DEJS)” – was founded in Los Angeles, California with Bill Ross as President and Patricia Villard as Vice-President. It not only wanted to bring together Ellington fans locally but also build an international network of Ellington clubs.

Unfortunately, DEJS disappeared in the early 1960s but by that time The New York Chapter had been formed. It started in 1959 and with its large membership, it soon had a leading role among Ellington fans. It change its name to The Duke Ellington Society (TDES) at the request of Duke Ellington himself in the 1960s and later it became TDES only.

In 1993, the Duke Ellington Society of Sweden was formed.

Another key factor behind the conferences was the existence of a network of Ellington experts, who worked together to increase the knowledge about Ellington’s work and life.

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Fler foton från Cirkus 1966

Den här gången är det DESS’ ordförande Leif Jönsson som står för dem.

”Det var den 8 februari 1966. Jag kom till Cirkus vid lunchtid och hittade en liten sidodörr genom vilken jag kom in i byggnaden. I en axelväska hade jag med mig kamerautrustning, framför all min Minolta SR-7 med blixtaggregat.

I ett omklädningsrum bakom scenen uppehöll sig alla musikerna samt några utomstående. Duke syntes dock inte till där och inte heller Ella. Jag förenade mig med dem och packade upp mina kameragrejor.

Stämningen var tidvis uppsluppen och det var lätt att få kontakt.”

Så Leif började klicka på sin kamera och ingen protesterade, säger han.

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