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Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

New DESS Bulletin

The second 2020 issue of the DESS Bulletin was sent to the DESS members last week. It is an impressive piece of work by Bulletin’s editor Bo Haufman, who also is the new President of Duke Ellington Society of Sweden

The cover story is about Fred Guy – The Obscure Fred Guy as Bo Haufman headline his three page article about him. A highly recommended reading!

Another of Bo’s articles in the new issue is an encyclopedic one about Ellington songs with a reference to a dance style or similar. It is in Swedish but it might be worthwhile to have it translated into English to give DESS’ English-speaking members a chance to comment.

In another four-page article (also this in Swedish), Bo writes about the record companies with which Ellington was associated. Also this article is in Swedish.

The Royal Swedish Ballet performed Ellington’s and Alvin Allley’s ballet The River at the Royal Opera in Stockholm in 1993. Erik Wiedemann wrote the text for the program and it is reprinted in the new Bulletin issue. It is accompanied by what Ellington said about the River at the Grace Cathedral concert in San Francisco on April 16, 1970.

Another reprint is what George Avakian said to an interviewer in 1978 about his first meeting with Ellington when Avakian was 18 years old.

The article by Mike Zirpolo emanating from his website Swing & Beyond in this issue is titled Something To Live For. It deals principally with the start of Billy Strayhorn’s career with Ellington and Ellington’s recording of Something To Live For March 21, 1939. The article is supplemented by one of Bo Haufman about recordings of Strayhorn and others of the song. The two articles are in English.

Ellington 2020

Det nya numret av Bulletinen (se ovan) innehåller en heltäckande rapport om Ellington 2020 – konferensen som aldrig blev av. Här följer några korta tillägg och foton.

Allt tydde på att det skulle bli en bra konferens. Den var väl förberedd av musikprofessorn Anna Celenza som vi alla är skyldiga ett stort tack för hennes sätt att organisera konferensen och hantera krisen som ledde till att den ställdes in.

Den hade också ett tema som pekade framåt. Det tilltänkta programmet och en kortare sammanfattning av de planerade presentationerna finns på webbplatsen för konferensen – https://www.ellington2020.org/.

Men av allt som planerats blev det alltså nästan intet. När vi satte oss ner på den anrika jazzklubben Blues Alley i Georgetown på onsdagskvällen var konferensen reducerad till ett symposium med maximalt 35 tillresta deltagare och färre presentation än planerat. Ett par timmar senare var också detta inställt och för oss européer gällde det att snabbt boka om flygbiljetterna så att vi inte fastnade i USA på obestämd tid.

Konserten ”A Tribute To Billy Strayhorn på Blues Alley med Washingtongruppen Marshall Keys and Soulful Path var således det enda av det ursprungliga programmet som genomfördes.

Det var intressant och stimulerande att höra Billy Strayhornlåtar i beboptolkningar men det utlöste många diskussioner mellan de tillresta Ellingtonexperterna. Stämningen var dock överlag god.

 

Besvikelsen över att konferensen inte blev av ens i ett miniformat var naturligtvis stor särskilt bland de som arbetat hårt med att förbereda presentationer. På torsdagsmorgonen när konferensen skulle ha invigts tog några av dem upp initiativet att samla oss andra runt ett bord och en bärbar dator i ett hörn av konferenslokalen för att visa upp vad de förberett. Bl. a. visade filmmannen och Ellingtonkännaren Joe Medjuk filmen The Duke som CBC TV producerade 1965 för sin serie Festival. En mycket intressant film. Senast den visades på en Ellingtonkonferens var den i Toronto 1986.

Kanske det kan bli möjligt att visa den på ett kommande DESS-möte?

Frågan är naturligtvis nu om det kommer att bli fler Ellingtonkonferenser. Det är tveksamt. Det krävs mycket arbete för att organisera en konferens och tillflödet av en ny generation av Ellingtonexperter är svagt. Kanske behövs det andra former och mindre krävande former än en stor konferens för att driva arbetet på att ”Mapping Duke Ellington’s World” vidare.

New recording of Black, Brown and Beige

Some five years ago, Jazz At Lincoln Center launched its own record label Blue Engine Records.

On March 6, the label released  Wynton Marsalis’ first recording of the Black, Brown and Beige (https://wyntonmarsalis.org/discography/title/black-brown-and-beige)

The website boosts that it is ”a definitive, present-day recording of the suite.” This is true. It is not an effort to recreate what BB&B might have sounded at Carnegie Hall in 1943 but give Ellington’s composition a fresh face.

It will be interesting to hear the reactions of the Ellington community to this.

The work was recorded during a live performance of the work by the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at Time Warner Center’s  Rose Theater at the end of April 2018. The conductor was Chris Crenshow – trombonist and saxophonist in JALCO.

Some excerpts of the recording is available on YouTube like this one with Work Song.

The recording is available on most digital streaming platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer. A mp3 version costs around 10 euros on Amazon. It is also available in a high resolution format (24 bits/96 kHz). For those living in the E.U. the easiest is to buy this version at http://www.highresaudio.com. It costs 15 euros.

 

DESS Bulletin – The Winter Issue

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.

 

 

 

 

Autumn 2019 Issue of DESS Bulletin

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 DESS Bulletin – New Issue

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.

 

 

 

DESS Bulletin 2019-1

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.

DESS Bulletin 2018-4

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.

Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

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.

They are:

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).

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