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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?
One of the most emotional events at the Ellington ’88 conference was when Sam Woodyard was presented with a complete new drumset to replace the one that had been stolen from him in Paris.
It all begun at the start of the third day of the conference.
Woodyard did good use of his gift at the gala concert that ended the day.
In the concert, Bob Wilber and The Ellingtonian ’88 Orchestra presented a program of extended works by Ellington.
Here is the first part of the concert. It starts with a longer version of Daybreak Express using the scores from the Cotton Club movie. Then follows Creole Rhapsody transcribed by Brian Priestly and Idiom ’59.
Next a smaller group of the orchestra – The Rugcutters – plays a selection of small band Ellingtonia before the full orchestra is back to give the audience Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue.
The second part of the concert will be published in September.
Bob Wilber was not only the musical director of the Ellington ’88 and leader of The Ellington ’88 Orchestra but also one of the presenters. In the first session of the third day of the conference, he presented his perception of Johnny Hodges of which he was a great fan. Wilber writes a lot about him in his autobiography ”Music was not enough”
We start by joining the crowd in the Cotton Club to listen to the second part of the concert by Bob Wilber and the Ellington ’88 Orchestra, which ended the second day of the conference. Among other songs, the audience enjoyed Midriff, Passion Flower and Lush Life.
As said in the previous article on Ellington ’88, a feature in the conference program was to let the Ellington alumnies share their memories of Ellington and their time with him in different panels.
In line with this, the English jazz journalist and Ellington specialist Steven Voce had a spot in the conference to share with the attendees recorded interviews with musicians talking about the Ellington orchestra.
After Voce’s presentation, it was time to listen to what Sam Woodyard, Jimmy Woode and Gloria Nance (wife of Ray Nance) have to say about their time with Ellington. Patricia Willard moderated the panel and has also some words of her own to say.
Earlier in the conference, Patricia Willard had made a very interesting presentation about ”Dance – The Unsung Element of Ellingtonia”.
Just before the panel started, Sam Woodyard had been given a special present. Having learnt that Woodyard’s drumset had been stolen in Paris, the participants decided give him a new one. We will return to this in another article.
A highlight of the second day was another nightly concert.
This time it was Bob Wilber and the Ellington ’88 Orchestra that took the stage and they did so to honor Billy Strayhorn.
The Ellington alumnies Bill Berry, Buster Cooper, Jimmy Woode and Sam Woodyard were part of the band on and off during the evening. They appeared particularily in the rendition of the small group band ”The Coronets” known from recordings on the Mercer label.
A recurring feature in the conference program was to let the Ellington alumnies share their memories of Ellington and their time with him in different panels.
The first one took place on the second day when the doyen of British jazz critics and the author of important books on jazz in the 1950’s and 1960’s interviewed Bill Berry and Buster Cooper ”about their times with the maestro”.
It was followed up later in the day when Herb Jeffries and Sjef Hoefsmit sat down together to talk about Ellington and the orchestra in the early 1940’s and about ”Ellington the man”. Don’t miss the end of this video! It got the conference crowd on its feet.
More from Ellington ’88 will follow! But in between comes Ellington ’18 in Birmingham from which the website also will report.