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Storyville has now issued volume 24 in “The Treasury Shows” series. It is the next to last in the series and it represents a jump of seven years from the broadcasts in volume 23.
It is a very different orchestra from the one heard in the 1946 broadcasts and the world has changed a lot around Ellington and big band music.
By 1953, Ellington is the only big band leader, who has not disbanded his orchestra since the start and the year before, Downboat Magazine gave the Duke a special recognition for this.
The album offers four June 1953 broadcasts from Blue Note in Chicago and an April 1, 1944 broadcast from Hurricane Restaurant in New York. The Blue Note broadcasts were originally issued as volume 47 and 48 in the DETS LP series.
They demonstrate very well the energy and skills of the rejuvenated Ellington orchestra. I hope that those who consider the early 1950s a disastrous period in Ellington’s career take time to enjoy what the newcomers to the band like Clark Terry, Willie Cook, Britt Woodman, Paul Gonsalves and others brought to it.
For the first time in the DETS series, two of the broadcasts have no U.S. Government bond promotion whatsoever. Both were apparently transmitted in the “Music For Modern” series, which was one of NBCs programs for jazz and big band music.
By the time the broadcasts took place, Ellington had made his first recordings for Capitol. In the absence of bond promotion, he took ample time to promote them.
When Storyville’s DETS series comes to its end with volume 25, Storyville has achieved something incredible for which it must be highly lauded by the Ellington and other jazz fans.
Storyville has just released volume 23 in its Treasury Shows series. Now only two more issues remain until the series is complete.
It picks up where volume 22 ended, i.e. with a broadcast from Meadowbrook Garden Café but this time it is from August 24, 1946. Actually, Ellington did two broadcasts from Meadowbrook Garden Café on this date – the one for ABC on CD 1 of the album and another for MBS later in the day.
After his long engagement at Meadowbrook Garden Café August 9-25, 1946 had ended, Ellington moved on to Los Angeles. The second broadcast in volume 23 (on CD 2) is one from Lincoln Theatre in Los Angeles on August 31, 1946.
A month later, Duke was back in New York for a month-long engagement at the Aquarium Restaurant. It is from here that the third “Your Saturday Date With The Duke” broadcast in volume 23 emanates. The date is October 5, 1946.
The bonus broadcast in volume 23 is another one from the Hurricane Restaurant – this time from August 26, 1943.
The details of the broadcast can be found at the Storyville website and of course in NDESOR.
Storyville has also issued a CD called “An Intimate Piano Session” with music from the “stockpile” recording in New York on August 25, 1972.
On this occasion, Ellington sat down with only his two singers at the time – Anita Moore and Tony Watkins – to record a number of songs not featured very often. At least one version of all the songs recorded except one is included in the CD. In additon, the CD has four tracks recorded at the end of the Rotterdam concert in 1969 when Duke sat down with Wild Bill Davis, Victor Gaskin and Ruus Jones to give the audience some extras.
Details are available at the Storyville website.
Earlier this month, Storyville released volume 22 of its “Duke Ellington Treasury Shows” and the end of the series is slowly approaching. Like volume 21, it gives us two broadcasts from the West Coast or, more precisely, California.
The first one is from August 3, 1946 and the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco and the second one from August 17, 1946 and the Meadowbrook in Culver City. They are supplemented by two bonus broadcasts – one from El Patio Ballroom, July 15, 1942 and the other from the Hurricane Restaurant in New York August 21, 1943.
The two 1946 broadcasts were part of the original Duke Ellington Treasury Show LP series (volume 42 and volume 43) and are Treasury Show broadcasts #43 and #44.
The two bonus broadcasts have not been issued commercially before except for one of the songs played at the El Patio Ballroom, which was included in a Jazz Archive album many years ago.
The release of the radio program “Your Saturday Date with the Duke” is a fascinating project. In 1981 the first LP in a series of 49 was issued and it took most of the 1980s before the whole series was available. After a break of more than 10 years, a re-release on CD started and as said in yesterday’s article, there are at least three more volumes to come.
So the project will have lasted more than 35 years before it is finished but then the worldwide community of Ellington fans and others will have access to a gold mine of Ellington music from 1943-1953 with excellent sound.
The DESS Bulletin 2011:4 includes a long and detailed article by Bo Haufman on the “Your Saturday Date with the Duke” broadcasts and the “Duke Ellington Treasury Shows” series. It is highly recommended.
The first ”Your Saturday Date with the Duke” was broadcasted live with an audience on April 7, 1945 and then every Saturday until October 5, 1946.
The broadcasts were promotions to buy war bonds. Duke Ellington was a true patriot and spoke convincingly about the need to support the country and its war efforts.
Some broadcasts were released already in the 1950s but the quality of the sound was not very good.
The American Ellington scholar, record producer, record engineer and much more, Jerry Valburn, manage to collect all the transcriptions of the broadcasts and issued the whole series of them as the “Duke Ellington Treasury Shows” on LP in the 1980s.
Valburn announced this ambitious project to the members of his record club, Merritt Record Society, in December 1980 and the first three records were distributed in March-April 1981.
In the beginning there were new records almost every month but then there were longer and longer intervals between them and the last volumes became available only towards the end of the 1980s.
For the subscribers, it was not always easy to get the records delivered, possibly because of financial problems of the project. In the end, the best way to get the records was to call Valburn when one was in New York and go and get them. One of the last sets he delivered to me (Ulf) during a lunch at Eddie Condon’s Jazz Club on the last day of the club’s existence.
The sound engineer behind the LP series was Jerry Valburn’s close friend Jack Towers.He was responsible for the transfer of the transcriptions to tape and for the sound editing. In a fascinating interview with Rob Bamberger, Towers described his work which often meant to scrape magnetic particles off the tapes.
The interview is available to DESS members in the Ellington Archive
Already when the project was launched, Valburn announced that a book on the ”Your Saturday Date with the Duke”-broadcasts was to be published. It was to be co-written by Valburn and Benny Aaslund available to subscribers of the DETS-series at half price.
In mid-1982 Valburn reported that the book was more or less finished
However, this was apparently not the case because more than ten years later Valburn announced in DEMS 1994/2: “Duke Ellington and the Treasury Series: This 85 page book is completed and awaiting publishing later this year.”
But the years went on and no book appeared. There are some rumours that it was seen in one form or the other in the offices of Storyville in Copenhagen at the end of the 1990s.
Storyville Records started to issue the DETS-series (with a lot of bonuses added) in 2000. Valburn himself was involved in the beginning as was Jack Towers and he wrote the some of the first CD booklets.
But then this task was taken over by different members of the inner circle of Ellington scholars and collectors. The booklets are very well written and rich in information. If one has got all of them, there is really no reason to hope for a book as well.
The DETS series are available from several sources. The price for a new CD is about 17-18 EUR (Storyville, Amazon, JazzMessengers, Plugged Records) but one can find second-hand ones in shape as new for about 11-13 EUR (Amazon). The most expensive way is to download from iTunes, which charge 20 EUR.
Another way is to listen to the series at Spotify or Apple Music. Both of these streaming audio services offers most of the series but which ones seems to vary from time to time.
Authors: Ulf Lundin / Göran Wallén
Storyvilles utgivning av serien Duke Ellington Treasury Shows serien har nu kommit till volym 21. Totalt skall det bli 24 dubbla CD-volymer.
Den här volymen innehåller vad som fanns på de ursprungliga LP-utgivningarna DETS 40 (6 juli 1946) och LP DETS 41 (27 juli 1946). LP-serien omfattade 49 skivor men redan med LP DETS 46 med material från den 5 oktober 1946 avslutas radioprogrammet ”A Date with Duke”.
De sista tre skivorna I LP-serien innehåller material från juni 1953 (fyra sidor), 1 juli 1953 och 14 april 1945.
Bonusmaterial i volym 21 är dels tre nummer från Lakeside Park, El Patio Ballroom i Denver, Colorado den 14 juli 1942 (som DESS-medlemmar fick som månadsgodis i maj) och tre nummer från Trianon Ballroom i South Gate, Californien den 2 maj 1942.
Noterbart i denna utgåva är att man hyllar Tricky Sam Nanton med tal och orkestern spelar hans favoritnummer i ett medley. Nanton avled natten mellan den 19 och 20 juli 1946.
Cat Anderson framför på sitt speciella sätt ett fint nummer i ”A Gathering in a Clearing” och visar att han inte bara var en höjd specialist.
Författare Göran Wallén / Ulf Lundin