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It might not be winter yet but the new issue of the DESS Bulletin was sent to its subscribers = the DESS members yesterday. As usual a lot of good reading thanks to the energetic work of Bo Haufman.
Elmer Snowden is the featured artist this time.
”Was he really an Ellingtonian,” asks Bo and gives an affirmative answer in a detailed and well-researched article. The focus is of course on Snowden’s collaboration with Duke Ellington but other aspects of Snowden’s career are also well covered.
Another article by Bo Haufman deals with Duke Ellington’s ”occasional” vocalists i.e. the well-known 1920’s and 1930’s vocalists who Irving Mills paired with Ellington in recording sessions. Bo maps this group, gives short biographies and the songs recorded.
From Bo’s pen comes also an article about the Juan Tizol-Duke Ellington composition Congo Brava. NDESOR lists only two recordings of the song. Bo is puzzled by this and reflect on it in the article. He also quotes what Eddie Lambert and Gunther Schuller has written about it and refer the reader to an article by Lawrence Gushee in the Ellington Reader.
Mike Zirpolo’s contribution to the new Bulletin is an article about Morning Glory. It is a reprint from his website Swing & Beyond, where it was originally published in December last year. It was among the songs recorded by Ellington on his first session for Victor in 1940. He is credited as the composer but it is apparently Rex Stewart who composed it. The article tells the story of how the rights got into Ellington’s hands.
Another find by Bo for reprint in the Bulletin is the part about Ellington in the diary Spike Hughes kept during his visit to New York in1933. It paints an interesting picture not so much of Ellington as of Hughes.
In addition to these articles, the new Bulletin reports from the DESS meeting on 16 September and reviews of Jack Chambers new book Sweet Thunder – Duke Ellington’s Music in Nine Themes as well as Storyville’s CD with Ellington’s concert in Uppsala in 1971. It also has the program of the upcoming Ellington conference in Washington D.C. in March next year.
The new Bulletin with a lot of good reading was sent out to DESS members a couple of days ago.
Betty Roché is the featured artist this time.
Bo Haufman has written the main article about her. For him she is Duke’s ”unforgettable vocalist”. The article is supplemented by a discography of Betty Roché outside the Ellington organization.
The second installment of Nigel Haslewood’s article about Al Sears is also another major read in the new Bulletin.
Two well-known Ellington compositions – Rocks In My Bed and Mood Indigo – are presented in separate articles. From his website ”Swing and Beyond” Mike Zirpolo has contributed the article on Rocks In My Bed while the one about Mood Indigo is written by Bo Haufman.
He has also contributed an article about Frank Sebastian’s Cotton Club in Culver City in Los Angeles. In later incarnations it is also known as Casa Mañana and Meadowbrook Gardens Café.
The new Bulletin also reprints (with some changes) Anders Asplund’s article about Duke Ellington’s concert in Storvik on April 23, 1939, which was published on the DESS website last year.
In addition to all this, readers can find in information about the 2020 Duke Ellington Conference in Washington D.C. and a review of a DVD with one of Ellington’s last concerts in the next to last issue of DESS Bulletin for 2019.
The indefatigable editor of the DESS Bulletin, Bo Haufman, has produced a new issue. It is the 2019-2 one and it is on its way to the DESS members.
The trumpeter Harold Baker – nicknamed ”Shorty” – is the featured artist in the new issue.
Thomas Eriksson covers his life and career in a five page article. The focus is of course on his time in the Ellington band but the readers with also learn about his time with the big bands of Don Redman, Teddy Wilson and Andy Kirk before Baker joined Ellington in 1942. His time and marriage with Mary Lou Williams is also well covered as are his periods as freelancer.
A second Baker article in the new Bulletin is a reprint from Jazz Journal, in which Clark Terry tells Steven Voce about him. ”There was never a better trumpet player to come out of St. Louis than Harold ”Shorty Baker”, he says.
Another major article in the new Bulletin is about Al Sears. It is written by Nigel Haslewood, an Englishman living in Leicester, UK who runs the online Sadman Record shop.
It is the first part of an article, which was originally published in the IAJRC Journal. Like Thomas Eriksson’s article on Harold Baker, it is very well researched and very detailed. When the second part is also published, the DESS members should have a good monography on Al Sears.
This issue also have some shorter articles by Bo Haufman himself like one about The Women’s Duke Ellington and another on the Ellington-Strayhorn composition The Eighth Veil.
The DESS member Erling Torkelsson have also contributed to the new Bulletin with an article about Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and Duke Ellington.
The new issue of the DESS Bulletin is on its way the subscribers=DESS members. They can look forward to some good reading.
Wild Bill Davis is the featured artist this time. His career and his collaboration with Ellington is covered in three articles – one by Bo Haufman, one by T.C. Pfeiler from his Wild Bill Davis website and one by Steve Voce from The Independant. There is no WBD discography in the Bulletin but readers can find one at http://www.wildbilldavis.com.
Another main feature is an 1965 interview with Johnny Hodges originally published in Jazz Journal. In it, Hodges talks among other things about how he learned from Sidney Bechet and worked with him, how he got set up in New York and joined Ellington in 1928 and the challenges running one’s own band. An extensive comment by Bo Haufman gives further value to the interview.
Mike Zirpolo, who runs the Swing and Beyond website (/swingandbeyond.com), has this time contributed an article on Harlem Airshaft. Also highly recommended!
In the new issue, Bo Haufman also contribute an article on Ellington’s lyricists as well as one how the Ellington songs Bensonality and Jam With Sam got their names.
The last 2018 issue of the DESS Bulletin should have reached the DESS members in Sweden by now but members in other countries might have to wait some more days.
Bill Berry – trumpeter and big band leader who played with Ellington from Dec. 4 1961 to mid-Sep. 1962 – is a key feature of the issue. He is covered in three articles.
The Swedish jazz critic Jan Olsson has contributed the longest one, in which he summaries Berry’s career and particulalrly his time with Ellington. It is supplemented by an interview of Berry by Steve Voce c 1979/1980 and a non-credited article about how got engaged with Ellington.
An article by Mike Zirpolo from his blog ”Swing & Beyond” about Ben Webster and Cotton Tail is another feature in the new Bulletin. It is both a short portrait of Webster before his time with Duke and a guide into of Cotton Tail.
For the rest, it is Bo Haufman’s pen, which has been working.
He contributes no less than five article. Bo gives the readers a portrait of Willie ”The Lion” Smith, presents the new DESS CD (see below), walks us through some of the Ellington memorials, look at the issue of Ellington and colours and tells us how some Ellington tunes got their names.
The Winter issue of the Bulletin comes with a new DESS CD. It is most of The Holiday Ballroon dance date from Nov. 10, 1957 and has been produced in collaboration with DESUK.
It will be presented in an article on the website in a couple of days.
Next DESS meeting
It takes place on Monday September 17 at Franska Skolan in Stockholm. The doors open at 17:00.
Bo Lindström, well-known international author and specialist on early jazz, will talk about the background to his acclaimed book about Tommy Ladnier (co-written with Dan Vernhettes) and his new book on the early Fletcher Henderson trombone player George Brashear.
Bo and Dan Vernhettes have written several other books together like Jazz Puzzles with biographies of early New Orleans jazz muscians (vol 1) and about the riverboat jazz history (vol 2).
They and other books can be ordered from the JazzEdit website (http://www.jazzedit.org).
Next Ellington Study Group conference
It seems likely that it will take place in Washington D.C. in March 2020. Anna Celenza, Professor of Music at the Georgetown University, is the driving force behind this initiative to keep the Ellington conferences going. It will be the fourth such conference in Washington D.C. since the series started.
Ellington OKeh recordings
In a follow-up to his article in ”Smått och gott published on May 30, Bo Lindqvist has taken a closer look at the LP-album ”The Ellington Era” (Columbia C3L-27).
He writes to the website: ”According to Rust’s Jazz Records (at least the editions 4 and 6) and the album booklet, three previously ’unknown’ takes, Black And Tan Fantasy (81776-A), Old Man Blues (404521-D) are Mood Indigo (400023-A) are included
However, after having listened to the three takes, it seems to me”, says Bo, ”that they all are identical to take B of the recording, which was issued on 78s long before the Columbia LP album appeared.”
DESS Bulletin 2016-3
With the publication of the DESS Bulletin 2018-3, the third Bulletin from 2016 is now available to the general public. It can be found under the Bulletinen tab at the top of the front page.
The main focus in this issue is Willie Cook but there are of course much more to read about.
New pods at Ellington Reflections
The excellent Ellington blog (https://ellingtonreflections.com/) has published three new pods since the start of the summerbreak of the DESS website.
Piano in The Foreground II (28 July 2018)
Portrait of Al Hibbler (14 July 2018)
Beyond the Valley of The Usual Suspects (30 June 2018)
They can be listened to at the website and downloaded from iTunes (https://t.co/2yKFpLm0jF).
The DESS members got the autumn issue of the Bulletin already in mid-August and have most likely read and digested by now.
For those that have not done so yet, here is a short summary of the content.
Rolf Ericson is the key feature in this issue.
Göran Wallén, who knew Ericson very well and had many talks with him over the years, has contributed a five-page detailed article about Ericson’s long and varied career in Sweden, USA and Germany from the 1930’s to 1990s. It gives a perspective much beyond “the Ellington trumpeter” and makes one hope that Göran will find time and enthusiasm to go deeper into Roffes years with Stan Kenton and his years in Germany in another article.
The article is supplemented by a reprint from the May 1994 issue of Orkesterjournalen of an interview that Martin Westin and Lars Westin did with Ericson at the time. It was originally published in Swedish but now it has been translated into English. The original article also appeared in the Bulletin 1999:3
The photo on the cover was shot in 1967 by Lars Westin in the small town of Kramfors.
The interview provides some further glimpses into Ericsons time with Ellington like the story on the 70th birthday party for Ellington in Paris. He also tells the two Westins about what happened when the Ellington band played at dances with a black audience.
”On such nights I almost cried because it was so good. It was the most fantastic thing I have ever experienced.”
Now one only has to hope that a recording of such a dance will surface.
The new issue also has an article by Bo Haufman on ”Trumpet in Spades” – the concerto that Ellington wrote for Rex Stewart in 1937 – and three on new CDs with Ellington connections. In particular, don’t miss Anders Asplund’s review of vol. 25 in Storyville’s DETS series. It is full of valuable information.