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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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
It is also available to DESS members in the Ellington Archive.
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.
The summer issue of Blue Light arrived in my mailbox in early July. It is marked by the sad passing away of DESUK chairman Geoff Smith in March last year but also provides some good Ellington reading.
The key feature is a 10 pages long article on Ellington at the piano. It is written by Jack Chambers – a regular contributor to Blue Light.
He guides us through Ellington’s stylistic development as a pianist from someone being firmly anchored in the stride piano tradition to a man open to venture into post bop styles.
Chambers singles out the two LP albums – The Duke Plays Ellington (aka Piano Reflections) on Capitol and Money Jungle on United Artists – as highlights in Ellington’s pianist career. His reason: they are major advances in his way of dealing with the piano.
However, his choice for the ONE piano performance is the spontaneously played Lotus Blossom at the end of one of the recording sessions for the “…And His Mother Called Him Bill” album.
Chambers also considers that the recital at the Whitney Museum in New York in 1972 – eternalized in the “Live at the Whitney” CD album – “might be the most comprehensive view of Ellington as a piano player”.
The original article was apparently written some years ago and even if it has been revised and updated there are a couple of mistakes.
On page 7 Chambers writes about the Paramount recording of Jig Walk which for almost 2o years is considered as a non-Ellington recording. He also says (page 11 and 15) that the recital at the MOMA in 1962 is unissued but Maison de Duke made it available on CD almost 10 years ago.
In addition to Chamber’s article, Blue Light provides us with reviews of recently issued Ellington CDs and concerts with Ellington music.
The first issue for 2017 has started to arrive in the mailboxes of DESUK members.
The postman delivered it to my box a couple of days after I learned about the passing-away of DESUK’s Chairman, Geoff Smith and it is moving to read his “From The Chairman” editorial. As always, he talks about the next thing to do to serve DESUK members and the world-wide Ellington community. Geoff was a man full of energy and kindness and he will be deeply missed by our community! The website sends its condolences to his family.
Otherwise, the key feature in the new issue is an eight pages long article by DESUK member Stuart Emerson about “Such Sweet Thunder”. It is fascinating to follow his steps to solve some of the mysteries linked to the suite and doing so widen our perspective on the work.
Also the Blue Light editor, Ian Bradley, tries to solve a mystery. In his article he tells us about “The Jaywalker” play – its background and the music. Another good reading!
In the “News” part, we are told about the venture of Birmingham Conservatoire to form a new Ellington orchestra. From September 2017, it will play every two weeks at the Conservatoire’s jazz club.