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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).

DESS Bulletin 2018-3

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.

 

The Spring Issue of the DESS Bulletin

The second issue of the DESS Bulletin is on its way to the DESS members and some might already have got it in their mailboxes.

It is an issue with total focus on Cat Anderson except for some DESS house-keeping information.

It starts with the presentation that the late Ellington specialist and aficinado, Alexandre Rado, made at the Ellington ’94 conference in Stockholm about his friend Cat Anderson. A video with his presentation was published on the DESS website on December 3 last year and can be viewed here.

Bo Haufman, the editor of the DESS Bulletin, contributes an interesting articles about ”The Cat” as a composer and has transcribed an interview with him, which was published in a Facebook group last year.

The Chairman of DESS, Leif Jönsson, writes very personally about ”My Cat”, for which he has a particular fondness and admiration and the new issue of the Bulletin also includes a reprint of an article about Cat Anderson by the late Leif Andersson in the Swedish jazz magazine Orkesterjournalen in April 1963.

It provides also a discography of Cat Anderson’s recordings under his own name and some examples of video- and sound files with Cat Anderson on YouTube.

 

New Issue of the DESS Bulletin

The new issue of the Bulletin was sent to the DESS members a couple of days ago.

The cover story is about Britt Woodman.

In a two-page article, Thomas Harne gives us the life and career of this ”master of balance and team player” as Harne calls him.

His article is accompanied by an interview of Woodman by Göran Wallén, a discography of recordings with Woodman as a soloist outside the Ellington orchestra and an excerpt about Woodman from Kurt Dietrich’s book ”Duke’s Bones – Ellington’s Great Trombonists”.

Another main feature in the new Bulletin is Bo Haufman’s five-page article about trumpeters, who played with Ellington during shorter periods like Jabbo Smith, Louis Metcalf, Shorty Baker, Al Killian, Rolf Ericson, Herbie Jones, Jimmy Coles and a hand-full of others.

There is also an interesting article by the late comic book writer and music critic Harvey Pekar about Ellington’s bassists. It is a reprint from the ”Bass Player” magazine from 2000.

Besides these three articles, there is, of course, a lot of other good reading in the new Bulletin.

Particularly, the Swedish readers shouldn’t miss Thomas Harne’s report from the December meeting of DESS. It tells in an elegant way what all DESS members, who did not show up for the meeting, missed.

 

DESS Bulletin 2017-4

The new issue of the Bulletin has been published and is on its way to DESS members. As usual, a lot of good and interesting reading.

The feature articles this time is about Louie Bellson. Over four pages, Bo Haufman, who had met Bellson personally, paints a portrait of him. He gives us Bellson’s career and his time(s) with Ellington but also Bellson -the drummer and Bellson – the composer. A separate article descibes Bellson’s drumkit as it was circa 1952.

The new issue also has another article by Fred Glueckstein related to early Ellington films. This times it deals with Fredi Washington – the co-star in the film-short ”Black and Tan”.

These are the articles in English this time but for those, who able to read Swedish, there are another four to enjoy. One gives snapshots of what the local press wrote about Ellington’s 1963 tour and another is a reprint from the Swedish jazz magazine ”Estrad” from April 1947, in which Nils Färnström tells about his visit to Harlem and particularly to Apollo Theatre.

The other two articles in Swedish come from the hand of Bo Haufman. One is about Bojangles and the other a review of a concert by Stockholm Swing Stars ”In the Spirit of Duke Ellington” in September 2017.

New issue of the DESS Bulletin

The third issue of the Bulletin is now on its way  to the DESS members. As usual, it is full of interesting articles within a broad range of Ellington subjects. The fact that the editor and his team manage to do this quarter after quarter is really impressive.

This time, the cover article is about Russell Procope – the clarinet and alto sax player, who was a solid part of the Ellington orchestra for more than 25 years.

In a four-page article, Bo Haufman – the Bulletin editor – let us follow the career of Procope from his early days on the New York big band scene in the 1920 and 1930s to the John Kirby Sextet and military service before focusing on his years with Ellington, whom he joined in 1946. Of course, the author goes more into detail as regards the Ellington period and separately deals with Procope – the altosaxophonist and Procope – the clarinettist.

The article lists many of the recordings in which Procope participated both with Ellington but also other bands like Clarence Williams, Fletcher Henderson and John Kirby. They can be listened to in the (right) music player of the website. Details of the songs are listed in a comment to this article.

The Swedish readers of the Bulletin can also enjoy a reprint from Orkesterjournal of a review by Bo Scherman of the concert by Cootie Williams and Russell Procope in the Stockholm jazz club Fasching on February 22, 1978. (mer…)

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