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Blue Light 2021-2
It reached the DESUK members quite some time. The issue is the last one put together by Patrick Olsen and he has made sure that he marks his departure with a fanfare.
It is dominated by two ambitious and very interesting research-oriented articles.
The first one is about Harold Ashby.
In his six pages article, Peter Gardiner gives the readers a good insight into Ashby’s career and struggles. The section “Recordings Before the Duke” is a valuable survey of his participation in small group recordings with Ellingtonians as is the two following two parts of the article – “With the Duke” and “After the Duke”. The last one is particularly interesting since it is a quite detailed account of a rather unknown part of Ashby’s musical life.
Another very substantial article in the new Blue Light issue is Roger Boyes’ “More from the Hurricane, Summer 1943”.
The longest part of it is a mapping of the changes in the Ellington band during the Hurricane period caused particularly by military drafts and the attractiveness of the West Coast to some key band members like Rex Stewart and foremost Juan Tizol. He also covers the arrival of Al Hibler and the sacking of Ben Webster in this part.
The final part of the article covers Ellington apperances on radio and in and around New York.
Other articles in the BL issue are one by Fred Glueckstein’s about Duke Ellington’s Yale University Connection and one by Ian Bradley on DESS’ Ellington 2021 meeting. They are good reading as well.
The next issue of Blue Light will appear in early January.
Former Blue Light editor, Ian Bradley, has started a newsletter – Tone Parallel – dedicated Ellington news. The first issue was published in October and covers aspects of Duke Ellington’s tour of England in 1971.
It takes it starting point in Ellington’s concerts at the Winter Gardens in Bournemouth on Wednesday, 20 October 1971. He has had access to the archive of the late Richard Davis, who attended the concert and took notes of what was played during the two concert and reprint Davis’ list of music selections.
Davis and his wife also attended Ellington’s concert in Birmingham on 24 October. Ian Bradley uses this to advance his article to the English Concert LP album issued on the United Artists label in United Kingdom in 1972. The same album was issued as the London Concert in France and other European countries. In USA, it was called Togo Brava Suite.
From there, he makes an excellent discour on Togo Brava Suite and makes good use of an 2001 article by Stefano Zenni on The Aesthetics of Duke Ellington Suites.
Ian has put together for us a very interesting and well written article that everybody in the Ellington community should read. It is also a very good example how one can knit together different threads into a shining costume.
For his newsletter, Ian uses Substack – an American online platform, which allows writers to send digital newsletters directly to subscribers. The link to the article is https://toneparallel.substack.com. There one can also subsribe to the newsletter.
The next issue of the newsletter will be published at the end of January.
Radio Jazz Copenhagen
We wrote about this Danish jazz radio station earlier this year and we continue to enjoy its ambitious programming every week.
The best way to find out about Radio Jazz is to go to http://www.radiojazz.dk and walk around. After the summer, it has a new interface and some new features.
Most importantly, the Radio Jazz team has made it easier for listeners to access old broadcasts by making them available as podcasts. At the moment, 433 podcasts are available and the number is constantly going up.
Among the podcasts are some of the latest The Wonderful Life of Duke Ellington programs with Henrik Wolsgaard-Iversen. By now, Radio Jazz have broadcasted 139 programs in the series and number 140 is scheduled for 10 pm on December 15.
Every second Saturday, Bjarne Busk presents a concert and often it is an Ellington one. Two programs with such concerts are available as podcasts.
In one, Busk presenterar snapshots from Johnny Hodges’ concert in Berlin 1961 together with The Ellington Giants and in the other he talks about and plays musik from Ellington’s concert in Milano Jan. 30, 1966. By that time Elvin Jones had been hired by Ellington as a second drummer and Busk particullarly spotlights this.
However, the Ellington programs are only a small part of what Radio Jazz ofers. It offers much more of great interest to friends of jazz. There are several program series running like Jazz in Swedish, Rudy van Gelder, ECM etc but also programs about individual jazz muscians.
Go to website, check out the programming and enjoy!
Desscafé opened the first time on October 29, 2020. It is a virtual Zoombased Duke’s place for DESS members to meet and play music for each other.
The format for the meetings inthe DESScafé is very simple. A theme is chosen a couple of weeks and DESS’ members and other interested propose the music that should be played and discussed. 12 or 14 pieces are chosen among the proposal and presenters identified.
Some of the themes this year has been Rex Stewart, Irving Mills, Joe Nanton and his followers, Clark Terry, Female vocalists singing Ellington, Essentially Ellington and Ellingtonians in small groups.
The presentations and discussions are in Swedish but on March 15 David Palmquist came to the café to talk about his work with The Duke – Where and When (tdwaw.ca). Possibly, next year there will be more frequent meetings in English in parallel to the one in Swedish.
Most of the meetings have been recorded and put on the DESS website. They are available under the tab DESScafé at the front page of the website. Just scroll down the list and click on meeting date and you will get directly video and playlist for the meeting. Unfortunately, a couple of meetings were not recorded due to technical problems.
Here are direct links to some of the most recent ones.
It is amazing to see how aliveEllington still is. Three fresh CDs with Ellington music have been issued so far this year. In addition, a book on the role of the piano in the Ellington orchestra has also been published and more books are on their way.
The book is written by the French pianist, composer, arranger and orchestra leader Leîla Olivesi. It is dedicated to Claude Carrièr and published by IREMUS – Institut de recherch en musicologie. The book is available for download (no cost) from La Maison du Duke website (http://www.maison-du-duke.com/recherche-et-publications). The book is in French. Those, who cannot read this wonderful language, can hear Leïla Olivesi’s presentation on the topic at the Ellington 2021 Meeting in English (https://ellington.se/2021/05/20/ellington-2021-leila-olivesi).
In his presentation at the Ellington 2021 Meeting, Laurent Mignard gave some glimps of his new Ellington project Duke Ladies.
It is a very creative and ambitious project to give new perspectives on Duke Ellington’s music and Mignard is using his talent as arranger, his Duke Orchestra and seven female guest artists – the Duke Ladies – to achieve this.
The first result is demonstrated in the CD released last week.
It comes with a very good liner notes with detailed information about the 13 tracks.
More information is available at the links below. Together they give the song and performer list of the CD, a very nice video teaser, a short video presentation of Duke Ladies and text presentation of the project in English.
Volume 2 will be released next year and there will be a release concert with the Duke Orchestra and some of the Duke Ladies at the Chatelet concert venue on May 12 2022.
The easiest way is to buy the CD from Laurent Mignard’s website (https://www.laurent-mignard.com/shop) but it is also available at Amazon.fr and the website of the production company Just A Trace (https://www.juste-une-trace.com/en/store)
Duke Ellington in Berlin 1959
In the autumn of 1959, Duke Ellington came back to Europe for a more extensive tour than in 1958. It started in The Netherlands on September 18 and ended in Germany on October 20. Between those dates, Ellington played concerts in The Netherlands, France, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and one in each of Switzerland and Austria.
At the end of this summer, Storyville released a CD with Ellington’s concert at Sportpalatset in Berlin on October 4, 1959.
The concert has been available commercially before on vinyl as well as CD.
The English label Swing House published two LPs with most of the concert in 1978 (SWH 4) and 1982 (SWH 28). Some of the material on the LPs appeared on a Sound of Yester Year CD in 1986 and the CD The Incomparable Duke Ellington issued in 1987 has about half of the Swing House material but also two unissued songs from the concert – Newport Up and I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart/Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.
The new Storyville CD is a big improvement compared to what has been available before. The sound is much better and the music is presented in chronological order. Bjarne Busk as producer and Jorgen Vad as sound engineer are responsible for this
With the CD comes also extensive and very informative liner notes by Dan Morgenstern with detailed comments on the music.
Another CD by Storyville highly recommended !
According to NDESOR, Happy Anatomy, All of Me, Just Sqeeze Me/It Don’t Mean A Thing and Happy Reunion were played at the concert but they are not on the CD (and not on other issues either). Perhaps someone has got those tracks and can let the DESS website publish them as goodies.
The concert in Berlin was not the only one recorded during the tour.
The two concerts at Salle Pleyel on September 20 were recorded as well and most of the material has been issued on the Affinity and Sarpe Top Jazz labels.
Also recordings of the two concerts in Stockholm on September 26 exists and have been circulating among collectors for a long time.
To make them more widely available, the DESS website offered them as “goodies” to DESS members in November 2019. Go to https://ellington.se/2019/11/12/stockholm-26-september-1959-forsta-forestallningen and https://ellington.se/2019/11/15/stockholm-26-september-1959-andra-forestallningen to read the articles and download the concerts (DESS members only).
Ellington gave his first concerts in Sweden in Malmö on September 23. It was the author’s first live encounter with the Maestro and my body began shaking when the orchestra intoned Take The “A” Train and Ellington strolled onto the stage.
The concert in Zurich on October 9 was televised and a rather poor copy of the telecast is available on YouTube.
There is also a recording of the concert in Munich on October 11 but to the knowledge of the author it has not been released in any form.
Johnny Hodges in Paris 18 February 1961
Just before the summer, the French record company Frémaux et associés added another Ellington-related gem to its very impressive catalog. It is a recording of a concert by Johnny Hodges and the Duke Ellington Giants at Olympia in Paris March 18, 1961.
The music is typical Ellington repertoire except for a new song – Blues for Madeleine – dedicated to Madeleine Gautier, Hugues Panassié’s collaborator and wife.
Only one song in the concert – Blue Moon – is not included in the CD.
The sound is excellent. The concert was recorded by Europe 1 and the producers have had access to the master tapes. Thank you George Debroe for this information.
The concert was part of a 14 day European tour organised by Norman Granz taking advantage of the fact that members of Ellington orchestra were on vacation for a long period when Ellington and Billy Strayhorn were in Paris to work on the Paris Blues movie.
The Ellington Giants, who joined Hodges, were Lawrence Brown, Harry Carney, Ray Nance, Al Williams and Sam Woodyard.
Besides Paris, Hodges and his men gave concerts in Stockholm (March 14 or 15) and Helsinki (March 16).
The group also played concert(s) in Berlin at Sportpalatset but more research is needed to establish the exact date(s).
Some sources say that it was the last concert after the one in Paris. However, the Tom Lord jazz discography claims that there was also a concert in Scandinavia (Copenhagen?) on March 22. If this is correct, then the concert in Berlin could have taken place just after the Paris concert but followed by the Scandinavian one.
The website will come back to Hodges’ tour in another article next month.
DESS Bulletin 2021-1
The first issue of the DESS Bulletin for 2021 was sent to the DESS members yesterday. Its editor, Bo Haufman has produced another ambitious issue.
This time, the featured artist is trumpeter Louis Metcalf, who participated in recording sessions with the Ellington band in 1926 and 1927 and finally become a regular member of the orchestra for about a year in late 1927.
In a four-page article, Bo Haufman goes through Metcalf’s life and career with emphasis on his time with Ellington. It is supplemented by a reprint of an “Oral History” interview with Metcalf.
Another theme in the new issue of the DESS Bulletin is Harlem. It has two articles by Bo Haufman himself on the theme – one about the Ellington recordings of s music with Harlem in its name and another about Ellington’s composition The Sidewalks of New York.
A third theme is Ellington’s composition Sepia Panorama. There are two articles on this topic – one is by Mike Zirpolo and another quoted from Walter van de Leur’s presentation at the Ellington ’94 conference in Stockholm on the Ellington-Strayhorn collaboration.
In addition to these six articles, there are some more good reads in the new Bulletin. Just pick it up and find out about them yourself.
Blue Light Autumn 2020
The last issue of DESUK’s Blue Light for 2020 arrived a couple of weeks ago. It is quite research focused. The key article in this section is another impressive piece by Roger Boyes’ series on Ellington in the years of the Petrillo recording ban.
It is titled Live At The Hurricane but it covers much more than the title indicate.
It starts with the aftermath to the Carnegie Hall concert on Jan. 23, 1943 and the ensuing road tour, continues with different aspects of the engagement from April 1, 1943 at the Hurricane Restaurant on the second floor of the Brill Building on 1619 Broadway at 49th Street and ends with discussing the famous Mutual Broadcasts from Hurricane in a wider context.
Another solid and interesting research-oriented article is Pedro Cravinho’s Jazz, Revue and a Thriller. The Response of the Birminham Press to Duke Ellington’s 1933 Tour.
It is developed from a presentation he gave at the 2018 Ellington conference in Birmingham. Because of the organisation of the conference in workshops, many participants were not able to listen to it so it is most welcome that a further developed version is published by Blue Light.
The last articles in the research part deals with the Lockdown Lowdown initiative, which provides weekly broadcasts with all sorts of people with knowledge and views on Ellington.
Finally, the new Blue Light has also an enjoyable article by Brian Priestly full of insights about Clark Terry on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth.
The tireless YouTube observer Brian Koller has drawn the attention of the community of Ellington fans to this new Ellington sound-only video on YouTube. Thank you, Brian.
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.
Spring issue of Blue Light
This issue was delayed because of the Covid 19 pandemic and reached the DESUK members in early May.
It is dominated by a 12 page article by Roger Boyes titled Black, Brown and Beige – New York City Winter 1943. It is a very impressive piece of work which in a sense is series of mini essays with BB&B as the common theme. Some of the titles are A Theme for a Lifetime, Very Public Preparations, Rye High and Carnegie Hall, The Reviews and Boston – A Modified Programme.
The article follows similar articles published in earlier issues of Blue Light and hopefully there will be more. Will there in the end be a book about Ellington in the 1940s?
Boyes also contributes to the new issue with an interesting and detailed comment on the article Duke Stride Piano in the previous issue of Blue Light.
A lengthy comment by Brian Priestly on Con Chapman’s Hodges book belongs to the same category. It expresses quite a critical view on the book.
Finally Mike Westbrook writes about his composition On Duke’s Birthday which was supposed to have been performed at Ronnie Scott’s in London on Ellington’s birthday this year.
Upbeat CD with rare Ellington
The English Upbeat Mail Order company, which specialises in New Orleans revival and Dixieland music, took over the Canadian Jazz Oracle label last year. This label with John R.T. Davies as President produced a total of 71 CD titles of comprehensive and rare recordings from the 1920s and ‘30s. “The sound quality and remastering were state-of-the-art, the liner notes were lengthy and authoritative, and the packaging was top-notch.” (Scott Yannow)
Jazz Oracle rewarded good customers with a Gift from the President CD with very rare takes. One of them was take B of Ellington’s recording of Tishomingo Blues on June 28, 1928 and another take 2 of Without You Emaline recorded by Bubber Miley and His Mileage Makers on May 16, 1930.
Upbeat has recently reissued the CD as Vintage Jazz Rarities.
The CD has the same excellent sound as the original CD. However, a track with Mound City Blue Blowers has been left out for us who would like to have it all. But is is good that the tracks are in chronological order.
Essentially Ellington 2020
Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition organiserad av Jazz at Lincoln Center börjar fira sitt 25-årsjubileum i morgon. P.g.a. av Covid 19 pandemin är det ett rent virtuellt evenemang som kommer att vara tillgängligt genom strömmande medier som Facebook Live och Livestream.
Hela programmet finns tillgängligt här. Skrolla bara ner en liten bit på sidan. Själva tävlingen äger rum på fredag med början kl 20.00 svensk tid. Den föregås av av en stor virtuell jamsession på torsdagen och ett evenemang kallat 25 solon – 25 år. Men det bjuds naturligtvis mycket annat intressant. Det är bara att titta i programmet.
The Seven Tones Project
Detta är ett fantastiskt projekt på Facebook..
Enkelt uttryckt handlar det om ett kortfilmsprojektprojekt i vilket filmmakare och musiker kombinerar mycket vackra filmbilder med Ellington och Strayhorn musik. “Inspired by Ellington” är projektets huvudslogan.
Facebookadressen är https://www.facebook.com/theseventonesproject/. Där finns alla filmer att se och höra.
Projektet finns också på YouTube.
Här är några exempel på filmer.
Covid19 stoppade Ellingtonkonferensen i Washingto D.C men den utlöste också att nya tolkningar av Ellington- och Strayhornmusik strömmade ut över världen!
The Ellington Effect
David Berger – composer, arranger, orchestra leader, lecturer, Ellington collaborator and foremost expert on the music of Duke Ellington – launched last month an ambitious and important initiativ to write a new, 5-part book series that will analyzes in depth the music of Ellington.
He is calling for support to make the project happen and the most important at the moment is to raise USD 25.000 to match a much larger grant. He is counting on the support of the Duke Ellington community. Give it before May 13!
Jimmie Blanton – again
In January, the website reported on the Blanton CD issued by Maison du Duke (https://ellington.se/2020/01/12/smatt-och-gott-i-januari-2020-1/).
We noticed then that two tunes from the Kraft Music Hall broadcasts were not included in the CD – Jive Rhapsody from Jan 16, 1941 and Flamingo from Oct. 9 1941 – and promised to make them available to DESS members and other visitors to the website.
Here they are.
In the Goodies Room, DESS members can also listen to and download a segment with Pyramid, Pussy Willow and I’m Checking Out -Goom Bye from the broadcast from Club Caprice in the Coronado Hotel in St. Louis on Nov. 1 or 2, 1939.
DEMS and NDESOR give the date of the broadcast as Nov. 1 but the consensus today is that it is rather from Nov. 2.
There is an extensive summary of the di’sscussion of the dates for the broadcast and Blanton’s joining of the Ellington orchestra in the TDWAW website (http://tdwaw.ellingtonweb.ca/TDWAW.html#Yr1939). Go to the Nov 1 and Nov 2 entries.
Ellington Exhibition at Georgetown University
For the Ellington 2020 conference, Professor Anna Celenza had prepared an exhibition of Ellington items held in the Georgetown University Library’s Special Collections. To give as many as possible the opportunity to visit the exhibition, the library has posted a virtual version of the exhibition on their webpage. “If you click on the images, you can download high-resolution images of the various items”, she says in the email she circulated to everybody, who had registered for the conference.
Ellington Concert in Lebanon 1963
In mid April, there was an extensive discussion in the Duke-LYM mailing list about Ellington’s concert in Bagdad or Lebanon on Nov. 18, 19 or 20,. 1963 It was televised and possibly also filmed. The result is titled Le Roi du Jazz Americain Duke Ellington et Son Orchestre.
Lee Farley, the editor of the Duke Ellington Society of Southern California’s newsletter, wrote an article about the concert and the video in the 2011 Summer-Fall issue of the newsletter.
He has generously shared the article with the international Ellington community. On the DESS website, it is available here
The concert is available on YouTube.
NDESOR correction sheets
The complete set of correction sheets for NDESOR put together by Sjef Hoefsmit with contributions and help from many in the Ellington community is now available in the Ellington Archive of the DESS website.
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.