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Ellington News-Nyheter Jan. 2022

I used to call this type of articles “Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces” but I think “Ellington News-Nyheter” is more relevant and I will call them this from now on.

DESS Bulletin 2022-1

The new issue offers – as usual – a lot of interesting reading both in Swedish and in English.

This time, the major article is about Lil Greenwood – “Duke’s Blues Belter” – who sung with the Ellington band for 30 months in the late 50’s and early 60’s.

This seven-page piece is written by DESS member Sven-Erik Baun Christensen and it gives the reader everything there is to know about Greenwood. He writes about her early career as gospel and R&B singer, her early records, her meeting and 30 months with the Ellington Orchestra and her years and appearances on the West Cost thereafter.

It is obvious that Sven-Erik has an affection for her and would like the Ellington community to learn more about her than what one finds in Ellington discographies.

In his view, her main contribution during the two and a half years with Ellington “was to bring to the band a new vocal earthiness, based in her gospel and blues background, that aroused the band and exited audiences”… “The studio recording of Walkin’ and Singin’ the Blues and the best of the concert performances released in later years are evidence that she was worthy of the distinction of being, if only for a short period, Duke Ellington’s female vocalist”.

The Bulletin has this time two more articles in English.

One is a reprint of an article in the souvenir program for Ellington’s 1958 European tour titled The Future of Jazz. It does not read like a true article written by Ellington but rather a text versioin of an interview. But who knows? Anyhow, it is interesting to read as are the comments by Bo Haufman.

The other is a contribution by Mike Zirpolo about Billy Strayhorn or more specifically about The Peaceful Side of Billy Strayhorn album. He tells how the album came about – Strayhorn was in Paris with Ellington for the Paris Blues film and one day a young American record producer approached him in a café about making a recording of his own compositions and Strayhorn said “Why not” and two days later the recording session took place – look closely into A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing.

The article originates from a blog post on Zirpolo’s blog Swing & Beyond.

In the issue, Bo Haufman himself has contributed two interesting articles in Swedish. One is about Ellington’s performances at Carnegie Hall and the other about the song Wanderlust which Hodges recorded with a small group on 20 December 1938.

It is most likely a Hodges composition but it is officially attributed to both Hodges and Ellington.  It also appears on Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins and the Pablo album Up in Duke’s Workshop. There is also a stockpile recording of the piece from 23 May 1969.

Blue Light Winter 2021-22

Whether it is the third issue for 2021 or the first for 2022 one can discuss, but in any case it is – as Blue Light’s new editor Gareth Evans has said – “a bumper issue”. It is expanded from the usual 22 pages to 30 pages and Evans has managed to use the extra space very well.

The new issue is dominated by two major articles, which take up almost half of the 30 pages.

The first one is Roger Boyes’ A Month At The Capitol. It is another one in his very valuable and impressive series on Ellington in the 1940’s. This time, he “looks at the Ellington Orchestra’s 1943 activities in the weeks following the 30 September Philadelphia concert and it follows straight on from Stability and Change in BL 28/2.”

In the first part of the article, Boyes deals with Ellington’s month-long engagement at the Capitol Theatre on Broadway and 51st Street in October 1943.

It was apparently a very succesful engagement both artistically and financially, which is detailed in the article.

Since Shorty Baker, Nar Jones and Junior Raglin were not members of New York’s Local 802 of the Musicians’ Union, Ellington had to use temporary stand-ins during the engagement. As a result, Otto Hardwicke came back to the orchestra and Dizzy Gillespie had a brief tenure in it. There were several stand-ins for Junior Raglin but Wilson Meyers seems to have done “over half” of the subbings.

As regards Gillespie, Boyes does not only state that “Dizzy Gillespie substitued for Shorty Baker” but uses the statement as the starting point for a mini essay on the impact of Gillespie’s four weeks with Ellington on himself and on the orchestra. There are many other examples in article of this style of essay writing and they makes it even more enjoyable to read it.

The article’s second part is devoted to Ellington’s recordings of transcriptions for World Broadcasting System. They took place in two sessions in November and in December. Boyes goes through them in detail and expands particularly on new soloists and new compositions. There will be reasons to come back to this.

The second major article – The Race for Space  – is written by Gareth Evans himself and is about Ellington recordings connected with the cosmic scene. The title is from an article Ellington presumably wrote  in late 1957 but which was never published. It is a kind of springboard for Evans’ look at seven Ellington/Strayhorn pieces with titles associated to space or cosmos.

The first five are from Colmbia 1957-1959 albums – Ballet of the Flying Saucers (A Drum is a Woman) , Spacemen (The Cosmic Scene), Launching Pad and Duel Fuel (Festival Session) and Blues In Orbit (Blues In Orbit). The sixth one is Telstar – a stock pile recording in 1962 and the last one Moon Maiden – the result of a commission from ABC-TV.

Evans has interesting things to say about all of them and it is refreshing to get the perspectives of a younger generation of Ellington experts. I don’t think I have seen Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pink Floyd and similar artists mentioned in articles about Ellington before. Or am I wrong?

The article is accompanied by a playlist on Spotify, which includes not only the Ellington recordings but also a recording of Peter Long’s reworking of Gustav Holst’s The Planet by the Echoes of Ellington Jazz Orchestra. A nice widening of perspectives!

Among other things in the new issue I particularly recommend Fred Glueckstein’s article about the relationship between Tony Bennett and the obituary on Charlie Watts. It was very good to learn that my image of the Rolling Stones’ drummer has been totally wrong all those years. Now I know better!

Tone Parallel

Ian Bradley published the second issue of Tone Parallel some weeks ago. It is available at https://toneparallel.substack.com/p/tone-parallel-5ad.

The issue is about singer, dancer, composer Ann Henry and her composition Pockets, the dedication of the new Alvar Aalto Library at Mount Angel Abbey, a Benedictine community, near Portland in Oregon in May 1970 and Duke Ellington’s appearance there with his orchestra.

Bradley wrote about this subject about two years on his blog Ellington Live  http://ellingtonlive.blogspot.com/2020/05/ but since then he has done a lot of work to find out more about Ann Henry and to improve the sound of the Vimeo video and the reel-to-reel tape which have the music from the event.

It seems fair to presume that Pockets: It’s Amazing When Love Goes On Parade was composed with the dedication of Alvar Aalto Library in mind but Bradley does not go into this, he rather focus on the work itself.

It is written in three movements. The first one is a waltz, the second one a march and the last one “meditative. Based on musical notation by Henry, Ron Collier did the orchestration and conducted the Ellington orchestra in the performance of the work on 29 May 1970. Henry herself sings the lyrical parts.

The Vimeo video with the first hour of the concert is an integral part of Bradley’s video together with an 8 minutes excerpt from a professionally restored sound track of the video and a clip from the reel-to-reel tape with Don’t Get Down On Your Knees To Pray Until You Have Forgiven Everyone sung by Tony Watkins. It is not clear if Bradley intends to share the full Ellington part with other Ellington collectors.

Smått & Gott/Bits & Pieces Dec 2021-1

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.

Tone Parallel

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

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.

Oct 12 – Ellingtonians In Small Groups – 1930’s and 1940’s

Nov 1 – Cat Anderson

Nov 15 – Essentially Ellington part 2

Dec 6 – Ellingtonians In Small Groups – 1950’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smått och gott / Bits And Pieces Jan 2021

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.

Youtube

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.

 

Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

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.

Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

New issue of  Blue Light

The 2019-2020 Winter issue of Blue Light was published recently. This time, the journal particularly recognises the passing of clarinetist, saxophonist and orchestra leader Bob Wilber. He died August 4 at his home in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, England at the age of 91.

Elaine Marsh (nee Norsworthy), who was very much involved in the organisation of the Ellington ’85 and ’88 conferences, shares her memories of Wilber from those conferences.

Wilber was the musical director of both conferences and in the ’88 one, he also did a presentation on Johnny Hodges. It was originally published by the DESS’ website on 24 June 2018 but we republished it now in a better resolution.

The new Blue Light has a six and a half page transcription of the presentation and the BL team has also created a Spotify playlist with the music Wilber played in his presentation.

Quite appropriately, the two Bob Wilber articles are  followed by a (rather lukewarm) review of Con Chapman’s biography of Johnny Hodges.

The Winter issue also has the second installment of Roger Boyes’ article Cabin In The Sky, which deals with Ellington’s activities in California ibetween mid-September and mid-October 1942. The first part was published in the Autum 2019 issue of Blue Light. A related article by Roger – Sherman Shuffle – was published in the Summer 2019 issue of Blue Light. It covers Ellington’s stay in Chicago and the Midwest in the summer of 1942.

Radiojazz Køpenhavn

Detta är radiostationen att lyssna på alla dagar i veckan för den verkligt jazzintresserade. Den drivs av en stor skara entusiaster och har ett imponerande programutbud. Den erbjuder djuplodande program om enskilda jazzmusiker eller jazzstilar, jazzkonserter framplockade ur privata arkiv eller inspelade på dagens klubbar och festivaler, nyheter om nyutgivna skivor och mycket annat.

Vid lunchtid varannan lördag låter Bjarne Busk lyssnarna ta del av konserter från 50, 60 och 70-talen – ofta med Ellington). Nästa lördagskonsert sänds den 28 mars.

Sedan en tid tillbaka har Ole Matthiessen en serie om Rudy van Gelder Den 18:e delen av den kan höras den 19 mars kl 22:00. Tom Buhman har precis en serie om Coleman Hawkins – (Self) Portrait of the Bean – och det andra programmet sänds den 23 mars kl. 23:00.

För vänner av Duke Ellington är programserien The Wonderful World of Duke Ellington av Henrik Wolsgaard-Iversen ett måste. Program 116 i serien sänds den 18 mars.

Äldre program i serien finns i bloggdelen av Radiojazz tillsammans med många andra tidigare sända program.

Internetadressen till Radiojazz är http://www.radiojazz.dk

Till sist: Varför finns det inte tillräckligt många jazzentusiaster i Sverige intresserade av att erbjuda något liknande i Sverige?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Light 2019-3

Höstnumret av Blue Light har just nått medlemmarna av Duke Ellington Society UK (DESUK)

Blue Lights nye redaktör Patrick Olsen har valt “to give something back” som tema för det nya numret.

Det innehåller substantiella artiklar med högt läsvärde.

Brian Priestly – pianist, arrangör, radioröst och mer – bidrar med en artikel om musiken Ellington komponerade för en uppsättning i Paris av skådespelet Turcaret som skrevs i början av 1700-talet. Han använder sig flitigt av material från en fransk radiodokumentär från 2004, Duke au TNP (Théâtre National Populaire) och från den CD med musiken till Turcaret som La Maison du Duke gav ut förra året (MDD 011). Dokumentären kan höras här men den är naturligtvis på franska.

Roger Boyes  – Ellingtonspecialist och DESUKs vice ordförande – fortsätter där han slutade i förra numret av Blue Light i sin artikel Sherman Shuffle. Den handlade om Ellington i Chicago och Mellanvästern sommaren 1942. Den nya har rubriken Cabin in the Sky men handlar inte om filmen utan om Ellingtons engagemang av Shorty Baker i mitten av september 1942 och utvecklingen av trumpetsektionen från tre till fyra medlemmar.

Men Boyes’ sätt att ta en liten tråd och låta den bli en matta av insikter och associationer ger oss en artikel med vidare utblickar än så. Det skall bli intressant att se hur han använder det i andra delen av artikeln som skall handla om filmen Cabin in the Sky.

Frank Griffit – musiker, musiklärare och kompositör – bidrar till det nya numret av Blue Light med en längre recension av The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington som kom ut för nästan fem år sedan. Essäsamlingen fick mycker blandade recensioner, de flesta kritiska. En orsak till det var den filosofiska ram som huvudredaktören Edward Green gav boken.

Griffits recension är välkommen därför att den bidrar till att nyansera bilden av boken, som innehåller många bra artiklar med starkt forskningsinnehåll av en kvalificerad grupp av Ellingtonspecialister och musikforskare.

Eftersom DESS har en överenskommelse med DESUK att nummer av Blue Light äldre än två år kan göras tillgängliga för DESS’ medlemmar finns nu också de fyra numren för 2017 tillgängliga i Ellingtonarkivet

Smått och Gott /Bits And Pieces

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.

Ellington Reflections

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 IndigoSatin DollIn 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.

 

Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

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.

Jazzy Poppins

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.

Blue Light

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.

 

Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

Next Ellington Study Group Conference

The next Ellington Study Group Conference will take place in Birmingham, England on 25-27 May 2018.

The conference is organized jointly by the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the Birmingham City University in cooperation with DESUK. The main conference venue will be the  Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Details about the conference is in the announcement (attached) in the latest issue of DESUK’s Blue Light.

Member CDs

Maison du Duke has issued a new CD – “Mingus Chez Duke” – to the benefit of its members. It has 20 tracks from the appearance of the Duke Ellington orchestra at Bandbox in New York Jan. 30-Feb. 9, 1953. To get the CD, one only has to pay the 20 EUR membership fee plus 5 EUR to cover the postage. Follow this link http://maison-du-duke.com/espace-membres/adherer-2/ to learn how to do it.

With the new issue of Blue Light, also DESUK provides its members with a CD. It is a copy of the CD of Hurricane airshots from the Timme Rosenkrantz collection, which Frits Schjøtt put together for the benefit of the participants at the 2016 Ellington conference.

Ellington article

In its August 17, 2017 issue, The New Yorker published an Ellington article by the pianist and composer Ethan Iverson, which is highly recommended for reading.

It is titled “Duke Ellington, Bill Evans and A Night in New York” and can be found at this link:

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/duke-ellington-bill-evans-and-one-night-in-new-york-city

It is also available to DESS members in the Ellington Archive.

 

Blue Light 2017-3 and 2015-3

The 2017 autumn issue of Blue Light has been distributed to DESUK members.

Following in the steps of the previous issue, it basically has one major article and some more house-keeping ones about DESUK activities and information on concerts with Ellington music in the U.K.

Possibly, this is because of the length of the article on Irving Mills’ Publicity Operation in the 1930s contributed by Steven Lasker. This very interesting and detailed article is highly recommended.

It discusses the four advertising manuals / press books that the Irving Mills organization produced in the 1930s of which the first two were entirely dedicated to promoting Ellington. The article includes a 20 pages facsimile of the 1931 advertising manual for Ellington. It was republished in 1933 together with additionally 26 pages.

Those pages will apparently be published in the next issue of Blue Light together with an article by Carl Woideck, who gave a presentation on the advertising manuals at the 2016 Ellington Study Group Conference in New York.

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