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New DESS Bulletin
The second 2020 issue of the DESS Bulletin was sent to the DESS members last week. It is an impressive piece of work by Bulletin’s editor Bo Haufman, who also is the new President of Duke Ellington Society of Sweden
The cover story is about Fred Guy – The Obscure Fred Guy as Bo Haufman headline his three page article about him. A highly recommended reading!
Another of Bo’s articles in the new issue is an encyclopedic one about Ellington songs with a reference to a dance style or similar. It is in Swedish but it might be worthwhile to have it translated into English to give DESS’ English-speaking members a chance to comment.
In another four-page article (also this in Swedish), Bo writes about the record companies with which Ellington was associated. Also this article is in Swedish.
The Royal Swedish Ballet performed Ellington’s and Alvin Allley’s ballet The River at the Royal Opera in Stockholm in 1993. Erik Wiedemann wrote the text for the program and it is reprinted in the new Bulletin issue. It is accompanied by what Ellington said about the River at the Grace Cathedral concert in San Francisco on April 16, 1970.
Another reprint is what George Avakian said to an interviewer in 1978 about his first meeting with Ellington when Avakian was 18 years old.
The article by Mike Zirpolo emanating from his website Swing & Beyond in this issue is titled Something To Live For. It deals principally with the start of Billy Strayhorn’s career with Ellington and Ellington’s recording of Something To Live For March 21, 1939. The article is supplemented by one of Bo Haufman about recordings of Strayhorn and others of the song. The two articles are in English.
Det nya numret av Bulletinen (se ovan) innehåller en heltäckande rapport om Ellington 2020 – konferensen som aldrig blev av. Här följer några korta tillägg och foton.
Allt tydde på att det skulle bli en bra konferens. Den var väl förberedd av musikprofessorn Anna Celenza som vi alla är skyldiga ett stort tack för hennes sätt att organisera konferensen och hantera krisen som ledde till att den ställdes in.
Den hade också ett tema som pekade framåt. Det tilltänkta programmet och en kortare sammanfattning av de planerade presentationerna finns på webbplatsen för konferensen – https://www.ellington2020.org/.
Men av allt som planerats blev det alltså nästan intet. När vi satte oss ner på den anrika jazzklubben Blues Alley i Georgetown på onsdagskvällen var konferensen reducerad till ett symposium med maximalt 35 tillresta deltagare och färre presentation än planerat. Ett par timmar senare var också detta inställt och för oss européer gällde det att snabbt boka om flygbiljetterna så att vi inte fastnade i USA på obestämd tid.
Konserten ”A Tribute To Billy Strayhorn på Blues Alley med Washingtongruppen Marshall Keys and Soulful Path var således det enda av det ursprungliga programmet som genomfördes.
Det var intressant och stimulerande att höra Billy Strayhornlåtar i beboptolkningar men det utlöste många diskussioner mellan de tillresta Ellingtonexperterna. Stämningen var dock överlag god.
Besvikelsen över att konferensen inte blev av ens i ett miniformat var naturligtvis stor särskilt bland de som arbetat hårt med att förbereda presentationer. På torsdagsmorgonen när konferensen skulle ha invigts tog några av dem upp initiativet att samla oss andra runt ett bord och en bärbar dator i ett hörn av konferenslokalen för att visa upp vad de förberett. Bl. a. visade filmmannen och Ellingtonkännaren Joe Medjuk filmen The Duke som CBC TV producerade 1965 för sin serie Festival. En mycket intressant film. Senast den visades på en Ellingtonkonferens var den i Toronto 1986.
Kanske det kan bli möjligt att visa den på ett kommande DESS-möte?
Frågan är naturligtvis nu om det kommer att bli fler Ellingtonkonferenser. Det är tveksamt. Det krävs mycket arbete för att organisera en konferens och tillflödet av en ny generation av Ellingtonexperter är svagt. Kanske behövs det andra former och mindre krävande former än en stor konferens för att driva arbetet på att ”Mapping Duke Ellington’s World” vidare.
New recording of Black, Brown and Beige
Some five years ago, Jazz At Lincoln Center launched its own record label Blue Engine Records.
On March 6, the label released Wynton Marsalis’ first recording of the Black, Brown and Beige (https://wyntonmarsalis.org/discography/title/black-brown-and-beige)
The website boosts that it is ”a definitive, present-day recording of the suite.” This is true. It is not an effort to recreate what BB&B might have sounded at Carnegie Hall in 1943 but give Ellington’s composition a fresh face.
It will be interesting to hear the reactions of the Ellington community to this.
The work was recorded during a live performance of the work by the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at Time Warner Center’s Rose Theater at the end of April 2018. The conductor was Chris Crenshow – trombonist and saxophonist in JALCO.
Some excerpts of the recording is available on YouTube like this one with Work Song.
The recording is available on most digital streaming platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer. A mp3 version costs around 10 euros on Amazon. It is also available in a high resolution format (24 bits/96 kHz). For those living in the E.U. the easiest is to buy this version at http://www.highresaudio.com. It costs 15 euros.
New issue of Blue Light
With the 2019 Summer of Blue Light, the magazine enters into a new era. Dr. Patrick Olsen has taken over as editor and change seems to be his key word. ”Future issues of Blue Light will be full of new voices and contribute more to mapping Ellington across Britain in our current time” he says in his editorial column. Change is also marked by a new layout, which makes it easier for old eyes to read the magazine.
Change is also the theme of the major article of the new issue. It is written by Roger Boyes and over more than 13 pages he traces the changes in the Ellington Orchestra during the Petrillo recording ban period in 1942. A must read for all of us interested in Ellington!
New Ellington CD from Maison du Duke
According to the latest newsletter of Maison du Duke, in November it will issue a new CD in its Ellington series. It will be the 12th one and it is a Jimmie Blanton Special made up of ”live” recordings, and often rare from Duke Ellington’s orchestra in 1940 and 1941.
Claude Carrière will talk about the new CD on Sunday 17 November at Reid Hall, 4 rue de Chevreuse, Paris (6th) at 4.30 pm.
Like the previous ones, the new CD will be available only to members of Maison du Duke, which also have to pay 5 euros for the postage.
Playboy Jazz Festival 1959
Brian Koller, the relentless Ellington on YouTube ‘watchman’ has recently drawn the attention of Ellington aficionados and fans – thank you Brian – to two Playbox Jazz Festival 1959 videos featuring Duke Ellington and his orchestra. The first one is a 7 minutes video titled The Greatest Three Days in Jazz, which features Ellington opening the festival and gives some facts about it. In the video one hears Ellington playing V.I.P Boogie on the first night of the festival – August 7, 1959 – and Satin Doll on the afternoon of August 8.
The second video is one called This Is Jazz and put on YouTube by Old Time Radio. It is one of 26 half-hour segments that AFRS recorded from the festival and features Ellington’s performance on the night of August 8.. Jimmy Rushing is key part of it He sings Goin’ To Chicago, Hello Little Boy and Sent For You Yesterday and Paul Gonsalves contributes and a very R&B mood. However, the segment ends with pure Ellington – Things Ain’t What They Used To Be, El Gato and Hand Me Down Love.
Nästa DESS-möte äger rum nästa måndag den 6 maj. Lokalen är som vanligt Franska Skolans aula.
DESS-medlemmen m.m. Håkan Skytt står för kvällens föredrag. Ämnet är ”120 år med Duke Ellington – en sammanfattning”.
Gruppen JazzMaTazz står för kvällens musik. Den har mottot ”Lite swing får man räkna med”. En presentation av gruppen finns här.
More about Towne Casino
After the article published on March 21 with a radio broadcast from Towne Casino in Cleveland, DESS member Sonja Svensson has told us more about the club. She studied for a year at Western Reserve University in 1961 and spent many nights at the club.
This link to the blog Jazzed In Cleveland tells that Duke Ellington played some 40 times in and around Cleveland.
A complete index to the blog is available here.
New issue of Blue Light
The Spring 2019 issue of Blue Light reached its subscribers a couple of weeks ago. It has been put together by an interim editorial group waiting for Patrick Olsen to take over as editor with the next issue.
The main feature is a very interesting ten-page article titled The Protean Imagination of Duke Ellington – The Early Years. It is written by a certain A.J. Bishop of whom not much is known. In addition to the article reprinted from Jazz Journal in the new Blue Light issue, only two other articles from Bishop’s pen are known. They can be found in Mark Tucker’s Duke Ellington Reader.
Monsignor John Sanders is remembered in two articles by Roger Boyes, who also reviews the Heading for Newport CD issued by Doctor Jazz.
New radio program from Bill Saxonis
Last week Bill Saxonis was featured on station WCDB and its Saturday Morning Edition of Jazz for 19th consecutive year with his Ellington birthday bash. This four hour long program with program host Bill McCann had – as always – a lot to offer. The DESS website is very happy to have been able to serve Bill with some material for the broadcast.
Two one-hour installments is available in the website’s Ellington Archive and two more will be added later.
Take C of Black and Tan Fantasy
During the last ten years DESS member Bo Lindqvist has tried to add all the original versions of Ellington’s recording for OKeh to his collection.
He seems to have got them all including Take C of Black And Tan Fantasy recorded on November 3, 1927 on Okeh 8521. However, many discographic sources says that it also was issued on OKeh 40955 but Bo has not managed to find a copy of this record with take C but only records with this number with take B.
So he has started to doubt that an Okeh 40955 with take C exists and would like to have the help of DESS members to sort out if this is the case or not.
Bo can be contacted at Lindqvist_50@hotmail.com.
The 25th Ellington Study Group Conference took place in Birmingham last weekend. It was organized in cooperation between The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Birmingham City University with the moral support of DESUK.
In many ways it confirmed that the Ellington conferences now is firmly in the hands of the academic musicologists, which means that a younger generation is taking over the responsibility to keep the Ellington legacy alive.
As a result of the poor selling of the conference, only some forty persons took part in it. The majority were members of DESUK and other Ellington societies like DESS, which was represented by Bo Haufman, Peter Lee, Jan-Olov Isaksson and the web editor. Only one participant came from the U.S.A. and one of the presenters from Canada.
Here is Peter Lee together with John Grover och Leland Farley med hustru (foto Bo Haufman).
The program of the conference included two keynote presentation and 12 shorter presentations in thematic workshops. The themes were:
– Ellington in the Midlands
– Collaboration and Process
– Sonic Reverberations
– Instrumental approaches
– Technology and Mediation
The website will give more details in a later article.
Thanks to the Ellington Orchestra composed of students of the Jazz Department of the Conservatoire, the conference participants could enjoy four full concerts with Ellington music and also an afternoon jamsession.
Here is an example of what we heard. The clip starts ”Tourist Point of View” and ends with ”Blue Bird of Delhi”.
The Director of the Jazz Department, Jeremy Price, has done a very nice job bringing this orchestra together.
New Issue of Blue Light
The summer issue of Blue Light was published just in time for the Birmingham conference. It was actually hand-delivered to the conference participants. The reason for this was that this issue of Blue Light has the full program of the conference, including abstracts of the presentations.
But the new issue also have some major articles. One is by Blue Light editor Ian Bradley on ”Ellington in Academia”. It deals with Ellington appearances at universities and his relationships with some of the major American universities.
There is also a lengthy article by Ethan Hine titled ”Duke Ellington, Percy Grainger and the Status of Jazz in the Academy. Highly recommended reading!
The Ellington Orchestra of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire played a concert with Ellington’s Sacred Music in the Lincoln Cathedral on May 12, 2018 and Ian Bradley also provides the readers with a review of this concert.
Ellington ’18 in Birmingham
Finally, information on the presentations to be made at the conference is starting to become available.
Among them are:
Jack Chambers: Celebration, Duke Ellington’s Lost Symphony
Matthias Heyman: Plucked Again: Ellington’s bassists and the mediation of technology
Vic Hobson: Ellington: Collective Improvisation and Arranging
Barry Long Ellington and Coltrane: Tone Parallels
Brian Priestley: Monk and Duke
Alyn Shipton: Ellington and synaesthesia: to what extent did Duke Ellington hear sounds as colours?
New Storyville Ellington CDs
Volume 25 in Storyville’s DETS series – was issued a couple of weeks ago and can be bought at the musicroom website (https://www.musicroom.com/product-detail/product1140872/variant1140872/duke-ellington-the-treasury-shows-vol-25/).
It is the last in this important and invaluable series. The CD set has the final recorded broadcast from Ellington’s stay at Blue Note in Chicago in June 1953 issued on the last volume of the original DETS LP series plus a 1943 Pastel Period broadcast from the Hurricane Club in New York and two other Hurricane broadcasts (April 22nd and May 5th 1944)
By issuing the original Treasury Show series and adding to it a large number of broadcasts from the Hurricane and other New York clubs, Storyville has served the Ellington community in an incredible way and must be lauded by all friends of Ellington for its effort.
In mid-August, Storyville will issue another Ellington CD. It will have the concert the Coventry Cathedral in England on February 21st 1966. A restored version of the telecast is rumoured to also exist and participants at the Ellington conference in Birmingham later this month might have a showing of it.
Remembering Brooks Kerr
The almost blind jazz pianist and performer of Duke Ellington’s music, Brooks Kerr, passed away last Saturday.He was reputed to have known every Duke Ellington composition by the time he was 8 years old.
An article about him in New York Times in 1974 was headlined ”He Knows More Ellington Than Duke Himself” and Duke himself said to students at the University of Wisconsin back in July 1972 “If you have any questions about my music, just, ask Brooks Kerr.”
In the late 1970s, Kerr performed in jazz clubs with a trio often including Sonny Greer and Russell Procope. He also did some recordings of Ellington music with Greer and/ or George Duvivier in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Kerr was a featured attraction at the New York 1981 and Washington 1982 Ellington conferences. Here is an example of his way of playing from West End Cafe in New York during the 1981 conference.
New pod at Ellington Reflections
This excellent Ellington blog (https://ellingtonreflections.com/) has published a new pod. It deals with Sonny Greer and is called ”Portrait of Sonny Greer.” It can be listened to at the website and downloaded from iTunes (https://t.co/2yKFpLm0jF)
DESS Bulletin 2016-2
This issue is now available also for non-DESS members in the Bulletin 2013-2016 section of the website.
The main feature is long article about Ben Webster written by Steve Wallace. But there are also many other interesting article to read like the one by Fred Glueckstein about the unfinished film for which Ellington was supposed to write the music.
The Ellington Conference in Birmingham
There is still no website for the conference but it seems for sure that it will take place. The facility for buying conference tickets is up and running. Go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/25th-duke-ellington-conference-3-day-tickets-tickets-44978484859.
A three-day ticket to the conference costs £75 and one-day tickets will cost £30 for the Friday events, £35 for Saturday and £15 for Sunday.
Have trust in the organizers, buy your ticket(s) and book flight and hotel asap!
Jump For Joy documentary
A documentary about the musical revue is under preparation by a team in Los Angeles. One member of it is the jazz film specialist Mark Cantor, which should guarantee that it will be of high quality. It is still not known when it will be released. The DESS website will keep you posted.
Those of you that are not aware of Cantor’s fabulous website ”Jazz on Film (http://jazz-on-film.com) are strongly adviced to visit it. It is a treasury of information about films with jazz elements, especially from the 1930s and 1940s, and a labour of love.
Spring issue of Blue Light 2018 and 2016
The latest issue of DESUK’s Blue Light has arrived in the mailbox. Once again, its editor Ian Bradley provides a lot of interesting Ellington read.
The issue is dominated by the third installment of the series on Irving Mills’ Advertising Manuals for Ellington. This time it is a reprint of a third manual but without any commenting texts.
It also includes a major five-page article by Roger Boyes on ”Creole Rhapsody” and an article by Krin Gabbard on the firing of Charles Mingus from the Ellington Orchestra.
Since two years has passed since the 2016 Spring issue of Blue Light was published, it is now available to DESS members in the Ellington Archive.
Among the articles are two about Ellington’s Sacred Concert in the Coventry Cathedral in 1966, one about Harold Ashby as leader on records and one about Ellington’s visit to Châtaeu Goutelas in Loire (France) in 1966.
Steve Bowie, who is a muscian living in Pasadena, California, publish regularly podcasts on different aspects of Ellington and his music.
The latest podcast published just a couple of days ago is called ”Beyond The Usual Suspects, Again” and has as its starting point the handful of Ellington compositions like Mood Indigo, Satin Doll, In A Sentimental Mood, etc.which played over and over again at tribute concerts and in recording.
The one before was about Ray Nance as violinist and called ”Duke Ellington’s String Section”.
The podcasts are available on http://www.ellingtonreflections.com and can be downloaded from iTunes. They are also announced on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Ellington Study Group Conference May 25-27, 2018
Even if there is still no official announcement, it seems that the 25th Ellington Study Group Conference will take place in England or more precisely in Birmingham on May 25-27.
It is organized and hosted by the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the School of Media, Birmingham City University in association with Duke Ellington Society UK (DESUK).
The conference starts at 17 o’clock on May 27 and ends on 13 o’clock on May 29.
The programme includes two keynote presentations, six thematic panels with presentations and four concerts by the Birmingham Conservatoire’s Ellington Jazz Orchestra.
The keynote presentations will be given by Dr. Harvey Cohen, Senior Lecturer, Kings College London and Dr. Katherine Williams, Lecturer in Music, Plymouth College. Dr. Cohen is the author of ”Duke Ellington’s America” and Dr. Williams is doing research for a new book on Duke Ellington.
The web editor has done some research on hotels in Birmingham not far from the site of the conference and the result can be found here.
In the beginning of January, Laurent Mignard and his Duke Orchestra presented a ”spectacle musical” in Paris called Jazzy Poppins. The show is inspired by the musical Mary Poppins and Duke Ellington’s Reprise album ”Duke Ellington Plays Mary Poppins”.
Another set of performances took place at the end of February and early March. Most likely, there will be even more.
Those, who do not live in Paris, can enjoy the show on CD. It can be ordered at the Laurant Mignard website http://www.laurent-mignard.com/jazzy-poppins-boutique/
On May 6 at 11 o’clock, the Duke Orchestra and the lead singer in the show, Sophie Kaufmann, will appear on the public radio station France Music (www. francemusique.fr) to perform a substantial part of the show.
In accordance with the agreement between the website and DESUK, issues 2015:4 and of Blue Light are now available to members of DESS in the Ellington article.
Especially interesting features in this issue is a report by DESUK’s late chairman Geoff Smith on the 2015 Ellington Study Group Conference in Portland, Oregon on Nov. 6-8, 2015, the first of two article by Matthew J. Cooper on Ellington as a pianist and a discussion between Roger Boyes and Geoff Smith on the Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington published in 2015.