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The second day of the conference ended with a concert by Doug Richard’s Great American Music Ensemble. It provided the audience with “A Panorama of Ellington’s Music From The Late 20’s To The Late 50’s”. As an extra bonus, Jimmy Hamilton and Herb Jeffries appeared as guest artists and made the concert a very special and memorable event of the conference.
The orchestra, also known under its acronym GAME, was formed in the mid-80s when Richards was director of Jazz Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. It made a recording of standards from the Great American Songbook in 2001 but it was only released in 2016 on the Jazzed Media label.
Here is the full two-and-a-half hour concert (except for the very end, which will be published on April 29).
Besides the presentations included in the previous article on the conference, there were two more on the second day.
Dr. Ted Hudson – active member of Chapter 90 and much more – gave a presentation on “Literary Sources For Ellington’s Music”.
It ends with a filmed performance of a song – “Heart of Harlem” – that Ellington and Langston Hughes apparently wrote together. Ellington copyrighted it in 1945.
And Dr. Joseph McLaren talked about “Ellington’s Afro-American Heritage”.
The second day of the conference also had a very full program.
and the President of Chapter 90 of the Ellington Society, Terrell Allen, guided the audience through it with firm hands but also with a lot of jokes.
It started with the handing over of the Eddie Lambert gavel and some welcoming words.
Then Jerry Valburn asked Sjef Hoefsmit, Klaus Strateman, Gordon Ewing and “the young man” Steven Lasker to join him at the podium for a discussion on ongoing research about Ellington.
The full video of the panel discussion is in Ellington Archive
Kurt Dietrich from Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin then took the floor. He came to the conference to tell about his PhD work on Lawrence Brown and to get some feed-back from the Ellington specialists gathered at the conference.
Follwing his doctoral dissertation and a number of journal articles, he published in 1999 his book, Duke’s ’Bones: Ellington’s Great Trombonists. It was follwed 10 years later by another book on a similar topic Jazz ’Bones: The World of Jazz Trombone. Both are highly recommended!
Another speaker during the second day was Andrew Homzy from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada – musicologist, arranger, big band leader, Duke Ellington as well as Charlie Mingus specialist and much more. He was a well-known profile at many Ellington Study Group conferences and is still an important part of the international network of Ellington aficionados and specialists.
This time he talked about Ellington’s La Plus Belle Africane.
Two other speakers during the second day were Bruce Kennan, member of the New York Chapter of the Duke Ellington Society, and Martin Williams.
The topic for Kennan’s presentation was “Spoken Ellington” and he let the the audience listen to excerpts from a number of Ellington interviews.
Martin Williams spoke about “Stealing from the Duke” and made his point with musical examples.
The other presentations from the second day of the Washington ’89 conference will be included in a later article together with some from the third day.
The day ended with a concert by Doug Richard’s The Great Americ Music Ensemble, which gave a panorama of Ellington’s music from the late 20’s to the late 50’s. Here is a tidbit from the concert. The full one will be included in the next article.