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Frankie and Johnny

I den amerikanska nationalkaraktären, så som den återspeglas i konsten, existerar en beundran för de som protesterar mot etablissemanget och de som rör sig utanför lagens råmärken.

Berättelser av denna karaktär finner man även i den amerikanska sångskatten. Visor av bluesliknande slag skrevs redan under 1800-talet och skildrade då oftast mord och död i någon form.

”Frankie and Johnny” (ibland skrivet ”Johnnie”) tillhör den kategorin. Ibland kallas den ”Frankie and Albert”

Händelsen, som beskrivs, lär ha utspelats i St. Louis 1899 då Frankie Baker, en 22 år ung kvinna, skjuter sin 17-årige älskare som påstås heta Allen eller Albert Britt. Varför titeln senare blev ”Frankie and Johnny” är svårt att förklara. Vem som skrev melodin är också oklart men när den publicerades 1904 tillskrevs den en viss Hughie Cannon och hade namnet ”He Done Me Wrong”.

1912 publicerades den igen (av Frank och Bert Leighton) men nu med namnet ”Frankie and Johnny”.

Frankie and Johnny

Det finns över 250 registrerade inspelningar av numret. Den första gjordes av två amerikanska ragtimeartister för Pathé Records i London 1912.

Duke Ellington använde det i flera sammanhang under 40-talet och fram till 1950 men upplägget och arrangemangen utvecklas över tiden. (mer…)

Meadowbrook, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, June 6, 1951

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The second surviving MBS broadcast (June 6, 1951) from Frank Dailey’s Meadowbrook is one of the goodies in the ”Goodies of the Month” section of the website.

After the theme and introduction, we hear the second part of  THE TATTOOED BRIDE called Aberdeen with beautiful clarinet playing by Jimmy Hamilton. Indian Summer is next, this time with an alto solo (one of his best)  by Willie Smith showing why Duke wanted him in his band.

Love You Madly  is sung by Norma Oldham, Ellington’s new female singer, who has a pleasant voice but had a short stay with the orchestra.

Juan Tizol is soloing in his own composition Moonlight Fiesta, which was one of his feature numbers alsos with the Harry James orchestra. We then hear the first recorded performance of Billy Strayhorn’s All Day Long , perhaps not one of his most well-known compositions but typical of his writing and arranging.

After Al Hibbler’s rendition of I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart, it is time for Louie Bellson’s probably most well-known composition, The Hawk Talks. Bellson did not have Coleman Hawkins in mind when he wrote it. Instead it is dedicated to Harry James, his former employer.Next comes an unusual version of Take The A Train with an impressive solo in slow tempo by Paul Gonsalves. At the absence of Johnny Hodges, some of the other musicians also got the chance at playing slow ballads and similar tunes.

DESS members are welcome to ”the Goodies Month” section to listen to and download this broadcast.

Duke Ellington ”Live” 80 years ago

Congress Hotel 9 May 1936 Congress Hotel 26 May 1936

It is a well-known fact that Duke Ellington and his orchestra very early had the opportunity to take part in broadcasts from the Cotton Club in New York City, and that this was an important step in launching and popularizing the band to a broader audience.

However, those broadcasts seem  not available for listening, since they in all probability were not recorded or have been lost.

The earliest broadcasts, which are still available (according to NDESOR), are some glimpses from the Congress Hotel in Chicago, where Duke and his men were playing for the main part of May and early June in  1936, some 80 years ago.

Congress Hotel

The radio station WMAQ did half-hour broadcasts with Duke and the orchestra every night from from May 8 till June 4. (mer…)

Duke at Meadowbrook 1951

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Midriff

 

PÅ SVENSKA

Duke and the orchestra played for dancing at Meadowbrook, New Jersey in early June 1951 and we know of the existence of eight different broadcasts from this engagement. Meadowbrook was at the time a well-known venue for the very best jazz and swing bands of the dance band era. Unfortunately, very few items from those eight broadcasts have found their way on to commercially issued LP’s and CD’s which is a pity, because the orchestra really sounds great on these old recordings. (mer…)

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