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Smått och gott /Bits and pieces

Nästa DESS-möte

Det äger rum den 18 februari. Efter sedvanligt årsmöte kåserar konstnären Rune Sjögren på temat Jazzatmosfär. Efter mingel och förtäring blir det konsert med pianisten Davor Kajfes. Som Leif Jönsson skriver i senaste Bulletinen. ”Förbered er på ett elegant pianospel som Ni inte får höra varje dag.”

Slut upp mangrant!!

New CD from Maison du Duke

La Maison du Duke has now provided its members with CD no. 11 in its series of rare Ellington material.

The particular focus of the new CD is the music that Ellington wrote and recorded for a production of the 18th century comedie Turcaret at La Comédie Francaise in Paris in 1960. But the CD has several other ”goodies” like the soundtracks of  two TV shows  and the American Airlines ”Astrofreight” film.

The full details of the can be found at http://maison-du-duke.com/c7j8vr2v58/fichiers/MDD011.pdf.

Brian Koller – the Ellington and film specialist – has provided the discographical details of the CD in a post to the LYM-Duke mailing list and we are happy to have his permission to make it available also to DESS members. It can be read here.

The Turcaret recordings have earlier been issued  on the DEMS K7 Eleven Years Later but the CD has of course better sound and seems to provide two more takes of Frontin. On the CD, the master takes have also been edited together into Turcaret Suite and it is welcome to hear it like this rather than in small snippets.

Those, who would like to get the CD, get it automatically as member of La Maison du Duke. It is easyyp become one. Just go to http://maison-du-duke.com/espace-membres/adherer-2/, fill in the form on this page and pay 20 EUR plus 5 EUR for postage.

New issue of Blue Light

DESUK members received the Winter issue 2018/2019 of Blue Light quite some time ago. It came with another CD produced in collaboration between DESUK and DESS.

The main feature in this final issue of Blue Light with Ian Bradley as editor is a very substantial article by Professor Anna Celenza about Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and the Adventures of Peer Gynt in America. She holds the Thomas E. Caestecker Chair of Music at Georgetown University and the article is a developed from a paper on ”Duke Ellington’s Late Extended Works” she presented in 2010.

In the article, Professor Celenza places the Ellington/Strayhorn Peer Gynt Suite in its American cultural context and takes the contrarian view that the work is ”one of the most innovative examples of program music in the Ellington/Strayhorn repertoire”.

It is obvious that the Ellington legacy is more and more in the hands of academic musicologist. They will present the result of their work in academic conference papers and in articles in academic journals. As a result, it will be difficult for a more general audience interested in Ellington follow the discussion on Ellington’s work and life. Hopefully, Professor Celenza’s article will set an example to be followed by other musicologists and researchers.

Possibly, this could be a topic for discussion at the next Ellington Study Group Conference, which take place next year in Washington D.C. at the initiative of Anna Celenza (!).

The second article in the latest issue of Blue Light is also intersting. It is a reprint from an 1940 issue of Detroit Free Press Sunday Magazine of an interview with Duke Ellington in his appartement in New York.


Copenhagen Sep. 30, 1959 corrected

The file with the Copenhagen Sep. 30, 1959 concert made available to DESS members on Jan. 26 turns out to be something totally different. It brings together selections from Ellington’s concert in Paris on Sep.20, 1959 (both first and second concerts) and the second concert in Stockholm on Sep. 26, 1959.

We apologize for having put it on the website and thank Bjarne Busk for bringing the issue to our attention.

However, when the file was published, it was believed to be a genuine recording of the Copenhagen concert.

It was found by the DESS group charged with cataloguing Benny Åslund’s tape collection, which had been donated to DESS.

In the fall of 2011, the group sent the file together with a number of files of Ellington concerts in Sweden to Sjef Hoefsmit, who wrote about them in the 2012-1 issue of the DEMS Bulletin.

Under the headline A lot of Swedish NEW FINDS, he reported what the group had found. Amongst other things Hoefsmit said ”A totally unknown (to us) concert is from Copenhagen, 30Sep59, K.B. Hallen”.

He followed this up by publishing a correction sheet (1107) to NDESOR with the ”new” information.

So, not surprisingly, the DESS group thought that they had found an unknown recording of the Copenhagen concert.

However, what Hoefsmit forgot when he said ”a totally unknown concert to him  was that 20 years earlier at the Ellington conference in Los Angeles in 1991, he had said and written that the concert was ”a fake” in a review of the 3rd edition of the Willie Timner’s Ellingtonia”. He repeated this in comments on Timner’s 4th edition in the DEMS Newsletter 2001-3.

Hoefsmit built his view on a presentation Erik Wiedemann made at the Ellington conference in Washington D.C. in 1989. Wiedemann had by then published a very detailed paper on Ellington’s visits to Denmark and recordings made of the concerts there. As regards the 1959 concert, he says: ”There seems to be no recordings of the concerts.”


The source of the ”fake” file is not known to us but it was apparently rather widely circulated among Ellington collectors. Benny Åslund had it, Willie Timner had it and it is also listed in the catalogue for the auction of more than 100 reel-to-reel tapes belonging tho the French Ellington collector André Mahus, which Sjef Hoefsmit (!) organised for his widow.

The Jan. 26 article on the website has been deleted. However, the file in the Goodies Room will stay there for the time being and a list of its contents is here.





Sherman Hotel, Chicago, juli-augusti 1942

Bildresultat för Hotel Sherman Chicago in 1942

För några år sedan gav DESS ut en CD till sina medlemmar med material från The Panther Room, Hotel Sherman, Chicago. inspelat från radioutsändningar i september/oktober år 1940. Två år senare var Duke Ellington och hans orkester tillbaka igen, med i huvudsak samma musiker, dock hade Barney Bigard, Cootie Williams och Jimmy Blanton ersatts av respektive Chancey Haughton, Ray Nance och Alvin ”Junior” Raglin.

Orkesterns engagemang påbörjades den 13 juli och varade till den 13 augusti 1942 Denna period sammanföll med Ellingtons sista inspelningar innan det mer än två år långa inspelningsförbudet trädde i kraft. Från sistnämnda period finns inte lika mycket material bevarat, och ljudkvaliteten på för oss tillgängliga bandkopior, lämnar faktiskt en hel del att önska och det mesta därför outgivet. Det som presenteras  här har alltså aldrig kommit ut på skiva.

Joya Sherrill i Manhattan Serenade

Detta är Joya Sherrills (ännu ej fyllda 18) debut som vokalist med Duke Ellington.Tråkigt nog är denna sekvens allt som vi har med Joya från det här tillfället. Hon skulle på allvar etablera sig som sångerska med orkestern ett par år senare.

I Godisrummet hittar DESS’ medlemmar en halv timmas musik i samma stil. (mer…)

Sacred Concert Barcelona Nov.10, 1973

On Oct. 23, 1973 Duke Ellington arrived in England to start his last tour of Europe. It lasted for six weeks, which included one week of concerts in some East Africa countries.

An important element of the tour was the Third Sacred Concert, which had been commissioned from Ellington in 1972 for the 25th anniversary celebrations of the United Nations in London on Oct. 24, 1973.

In Duke Ellington’s America, Harvey G. Cohen says that Ellington ”stayed up two nights straight before the premiere trying to finish the concert and even then he was writing music up to tem minutes before the showtime”.

Anyhow, the Third Sacred Concert was performed as scheduled but the reviews were mixed.

At he time of the performance in Westminster Abbey, Ellington was apparently not aware that he was expected to do another Third Sacred Concert in Barcelona two weeks later.

Alice Babs told the story about this to the participants of the Oldham ’88 Ellington conference.

So Alice Babs arrived in Barcelona in the evening of Nov. 9, 1973 and given the circumstances it is understandable that she was not at ease. Ellington and the orchestra were playing a concert in Lisbon that night and it is doubtful if they arrived in Barcelona before the afternoon of the day of the Barcelona concert.

The whole situation is well captured in an opening sequence of the film of the concert in Basilica De Santa Maria Del Mar. It is two rather stressed persons, who arrives in the church.

It is an evidence of the extraordinary professionalism of Ellington, Alice Babs and the members of the Ellington orchestra that the concert took place at all and even got an enthusiastic reception by the audience.

With the concert in Basilica De Santa Maria Del Mar in Barcelona on Nov. 10, 1973 concert, we wish all members of DESS and other visitors to the website Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. We hope that you will follow the website also  next year and we are already planning to provide you with more ”goodies”

Don’t forget to pay DESS membership fee for 2019. It allows us to stay alive. This is how you do it.


Second Sacred Concert in Paris Nov. 16, 1969

When Ellington started his 1969 European tour at the end of October that year, three performances of the ”Second Sacred Concert ” was scheduled, The first one was to take place in Stockholm on November 6, the second in Paris on November 16 and the third one in Barcelona on November 24.

The website has published the full performance of the ”Second Sacred Concert” in the Gustav Vasa Church in Stockholm on November 6, 1969. It was done in two installments – the first one was published on December 8, 2016 and the second on April 27 this year.

Now the website turns to the second performance of the ”Second Sacred Concert” – one in Paris.

After having criss-crossed Europe after the visit to Stockholm, Ellington and the orchestra must have arrived in Paris on November 15 to be fully available for both a rehearsal and the concert in the Church of Saint Sulpice in the 6th arrondissement of Paris on November 16.

The Swingle Singers had been engaged to do the choir part at the concert and Wild Bill Davis was present as well.

Based on NDESOR, it seems that the program in Saint Sulpice was identical to the one in Stockholm except that two numbers were added to the program – ”The Preacher’s Song” sung by Tony Watkins and ”In The Beginning God” with Babs, Watkins and The Swingle Singers.

The website has not been able to locate a film with the full version of the concert but it was certainly filmed and the material used to produce a 40 minutes film. Possibly it was done by a company called Le Service des Variétés or as part of a series with this name.

The film covers about half of what was performed at the concert and includes the following songs: Praise GodThe ShephardHeavenFreedomMeditationTGTT Praise God and Dance.

We are happy to share it here with DESS’ members and our other readers. Unfortunately, the last 3 minutes of the film is missing. Perhaps someone can provide us with a complete version.

It is obviously recorded from one of Philippe Adler’s Jazz 6 programs on the French TV channel M6. His voice is heard in the beginning and in the middle of the film.

Bill Berry and Buster Cooper interview

Bildresultat för Bill Berry and Buster Cooper

In the November 2018 issue of the DESS Bulletin, Bill Berry (1930-2002), ex-Ellington trumpeter, was featured rather heavily. We came across an interview by doctor Michael Woods, where he was talking to not only Bill Berry, but also Buster Cooper (1929-1916) who played in Ellington’s trombone section from 1962 to 1969. Berry was a member of the trumpet section in the beginning in 1962 and also later on played with Ellington on a few other occasions, so the two men’s tenure with the band was over-lapping for a few months.


By clicking above you will be able to se and hear this interesting interview from 1995. We hope you will enjoy it!

New CD from DESS


DESS and its sister organization  in UK, DESUK, have together produced a CD as a gift to the members, just in time for Christmas. This year we have selected a dance date from the Holiday Ballroom in Chicago on November 10, 1957. The band is the same as appeared at the Newport Festival in the previous year, except that Harold Baker on trumpet and Ozzie Bailey, vocal, are added.

Blue Jean Beguine

The sound on the CD is quite all right, and above you’ll find a sample with Cat Anderson playing trumpet on his own composition. The sound of the audience adds to the autenticity of this real dance date. The contents can be seen on the copy of the CD booklet (top picture), which on its inside has got interesting liner notes by Roger Boyes. We find some rare numbers in the program, such as Mambo Jambo by Perez Prado, In The Mood by Joe Garland and Happy One by Duke himself. In the years just after the Newport ’56 Ferstival, Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue with the Wailing Interval was more or less mandatory in any appearance by Duke Ellington and his orchestra.

We wish all DESS members happy listening!


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