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Casa Mañana, Feb 20, 1941

Casa Manana

In last week’s article on Billy Strayhorn’s ”Chelsea Bridge”, Walter van de Leur was quoted as saying in his book ” Something to Live For, The Music of Billy Strayhorn”, that ”an unissued broadcast from the Casa Manana, Culver City” is “the only known full recording of Chelsea Bridge by the Ellington Orchestra.”

That was said before Joe Medjuck spotted that a full version was also played in the broadcast from Radio City in New York on September 8, 1945.

For DESS members who would like to compare the two ”full” versions, the broadcast from Casa Mañana in Culver City, CA on Feb. 20, 1941 is the second ”goodie” for November together with three songs from a broadcast made at  Trianon Ballroom, Southgate,CA, in June 1941. They are available for listening and downloading in the ”Current Goodies” section.

Chelsea Bridge (Casa Mañana, Culver City, Feb 20, 1941)

Our program starts with four surviving numbers from an MBS broadcast of Feb. 20 1941. The opening number is Are You Stickin’, which was obviously written for Barney Bigard to show his technical brilliance on his clarinet. Although the announcer nicknames him ”Speedometer”, Barney plays this number in a relatively slow tempo.

The main reason for presenting this program is to make it possible for our members to get access to both the recordings of Chelsea Bridge which Walter van de Leur was referring to in his book about Billy Strayhorn. (The first one was presented last week). Most people associate this composition with three people: Duke, Billy Strayhorn and Ben Webster. Webster made his interpretation stick, but it must be said that also Paul Gonsalves, later on, made a lasting impression when playing this tune.

Another Strayhorn original comes next: Love Like This Can’t Last, sung by Ivie Anderson. This number was shortlived, there are only three known recordings of it, all from 1940.

The last number we play from this broadcast is Moon Mist, composed by Duk’e son Mercer. This is in many ways an interesting performance; it is the first recording of this song,  Ben Webster plays a long solo and we hear Wallace Jones playing muted trumpet and it continues into Take The A Train as a sign-off. Later on, Ray Nance would play a violin solo and it would be used as a radio sign-off theme.

As a bonus for DESS’ members, three numbers from a broadcast at Trianon Ballroom in Southgate, California in June 1941 are also included in this month’s ”goodie”.

Again a rare performance: It’s Square, But It Rocks (by Freddie Slack and Carl Sigman) has only been recorded on two occasions (within a week or two) by Duke Ellington and his orchestra. It is sung by Ivie Anderson. The next tune, In A Mellow Tone, in contrast, has become a well-known jazz standard. Johnny Hodges and Ray Nance are the soloists.

In 1940 Duke had often used Sepia Panorama as his theme song but at the time of the Casa Mañana engagement, in early 1941, Take The A Train had been added to the band’s book. The first surviving live recording using this song as the theme comes from the Casa Mañana dance date on Feb. 16, the day after the first famous Victor recording was made The first ever recording was made exactly one month before that for Standard Transciptions.



Interpreting Ellington (2)

ehrlingthoreMel Tormé


Thore Ehrling & his orchestra play East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

The above recording is our starter for a small programme of prominent jazz musicians who present their own interpretations of Ellington’s music, to which we include also Billy Strayhorn’s compositions.

Thore Ehrling’s recording of East St. Louis-Toodle-Oo comes from an SR broadcast in 1945. This orchestra had many talanted jazz musicians, such as Gösta Törner on trumpet, Georg Vernon, trombone, John Björling and Carl-Henrik Norin reeds and they together present a very enjoyable version of Ellington’s early theme song. The rest of the programme is of mixed origin, and we present the tunes in the original Ellington chronology. You will find the complete programme below. (mer…)

Stockholm 2004 revisited (1)

The 19th Duke Ellington Study Group conference took place in Stockholm May 12-15, 2004. Sven Eriksson – DESS member, Ellington collector, hi-fi expert and much more – recorded the proceedings on his cassette player and the result was 13 cassette tapes of music and presentations.

The box with Sjef Hoefsmit’s video and sounds tapes from the Study Group conferences included copies of them and this week the website will give a couple of examples of what is on the tapes.

Jan Bruér – musicologist, jazz historian, music producer, Ellington expert etc. – started the first full day of the conference with a presentation – ”Ellington In Swedish” – about Ellington music played by Swedish musicians. As you can here, he covered a lot of ground from the early 1940s to the 1970s. Many of the conference participants must have heard the music in the presentation for the first time.

Conover interviews Ellington 1973

Willis Conover and Duke Ellington were good friends and they got to know each other already when Conover arrived in Washington D.C. in the late 1940’s.

Source: Digital Library, North Texas University, Willis Conover Collection

Over the years, Conover interviewed Ellington many times and when one listens to the interviews, it is obvious that the two men respected each other highly.  This comes through very clearly in this last interview that Conover made with Ellington in April 1973.

Source: Digital Library, North Texas University, Willis Conover Collection


Föredrag av Gert Palmcrantz

Göran Axelsson spelade in Gert Palmcrantz’ föredrag på DESS-mötet den 27 april så att DESS-medlemmar som inte var närvarande nu kan lyssna på det i Ellington-arkivet.

Göran har gett webbplatsen följande kommentar till inspelningen.

”I DESS Bulletin 2017-02 såg jag inbjudan till medlemsmötet 28 april. Jag förstod att Gerts presentation skulle bli både något unikt för DESS och förmodligen även något alldeles enastående.

Eftersom Sällskapet har många medlemmar som inte har möjlighet att komma på medlemsmöten fick jag idén att försöka spela in Gerts presentation så att den kunde bli tillgänglig för alla DESS medlemmar.

Jag har ingen speciell inspelningsutrustning, men den nyinköpta smartphonen har ganska bra inbyggd mikrofon och ett stort minne – jag ville prova.

Gert Palmcrantz gav sitt medgivande till att inspelningen görs tillgänglig för alla DESS medlemmar via DESS’ webbplats i Ellington-arkivet.

Ett stort tack till Gert för detta!

Efter presentationen fick jag tillgång till Gerts manus med en spellista som innehåller värdefulla detaljer om musiken. Det framgår att Gert spelade 16 unika inspelningar av Duke Ellingtons musik. Ellingtons orkester spelade det första stycket.

Gert talade utan mikrofon och spelade upp musiken med två stora högtalare. Det blev ett ”nybörjarfel” av mig att talet har en lägre volym än musiken, men jag tror att du ska kunna ta del av vad han sade. Vrid gärna upp volymen!

Jag ha lyssnat 2 gånger på inspelningen – och vill intyga att Gerts presentation är enastående.”


Birdland, May 3, 1951


Thelma Carpenter sings

Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me

We have one last recording from Birdland in May 1951 to offer our members in The Goodies Room, namely music from an ABC telecast titled ”The Kreisler Bandstand”, sponsored by a watchband manufacturer, named Jacques Kreisler and supposed to have taken place on May 3, 1951. (some sources say May 2). We here the same band as in all previous broadcasts in May and June 1951, but with two new singers, Thelma Carpenter and Avon Long, who were only to appear with Duke Ellington and his orchestra on this specific occasion. Both singers were well-known personalities in the entertainment world, Thelma Carpenter had replaced Helen Humes in the Basie orchestra, and Avon Long had been performing in the role of Sportin’ Life in Gershwin’s Porgy And Bess on Broadway. (mer…)

Duke Ellington at Birdland, June 30, 1951, part 2

Relaterad bild

How High The Moon

The second part of the WMCA broadcast with Duke Ellington & his Orchestra continues. This part of the programme consists of:

*How High The Moon*Mood Indigo*Love You Madly#*Fancy Dan*Diminuendo In Blue/Wailing Interval/Crescendo In Blue¤*Take The A Train#/Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid into bc close*

# previously issued on Stardust 202

DESS members are welcome to the Goodies Room to listen or download.   (mer…)

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