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

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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…)

Duke Ellington at Birdland, June 30, 1951, part 1


Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid & broadcast intro

Ellington had a rather busy schedule in June 1951, with Meadowbrook and Birdland  being the most important engagements, the latter lasting from June 21 to June 30. We have an existing WMCA broadcast from June 30, with the same orchestra members as earlier in June. The first half of this broadcast can be found in the Goodies Room. The sound quality is not the best but some of the music was issued on record, long time ago (Stardust 202, 1975), and can probably be heard to better advantage with this record available. In this first part of the broadcast, the following numbers are included:

Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid*Take The Train*Midriff*Warm Valley#*Eighth Veil*The Hawk Talks*Flamingo*Boy Meets Horn#                                                                               # Stardust 202 (mer…)

An Ellington debate in 1943

In 1942, the English jazz journalist and author Max Jones founded together with Albert McCarthy and Charles Fox the English jazz magazine Jazz Music. Its issue no. 8/1943 was  focused on Duke Ellington and called Special Ellington Number.


Among the many articles in the issue were two very critical of Ellington’s recent development at the time – some might even call them vicious. One was by Stanley Dance entitled Jazz On And Off  The Track and another by Charles Fox called He’s Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good.

Discussing the two articles in the winter issue of Blue Light in 2014, Roger Boyes says that they ”reveal that the writers could not engage with Ellington’s new music”.

And this is certainly obvious.

Dance starts his article by saying ”Judging from the records we have heard recently the Ellington Orchestra was never worse” and later on he says about Billy Strayhorn that ”he will have originality at the expense of beauty. His work is entirely to be deplored.” Fox’ article is less condemning but its title summarizes very well what he has to says.

However, not everybody agreed with in particular Dance. One of them was a young man by the name of Vic L. Belleby – later in life DESUK chairman – and he provided a rebuttal, which was published in the October 1943 issue of Jazz Music.


The three articles were reprinted in Blue Light in 2002 and a further reprint in new typeset were planned for Blue Light 2014/4 together with the summarizing article by Roger Boyes quoted above. However, in the end only Boyes’ article was published.

Ian Bradley, the current editor of Blue Light, has kindly made the refreshed versions of the articles in pdf format available to the website and they are now in the Ellington Archive together with Roger Boyes´2014 article.

It might be true, as Boyes says in his article, that ”there are better things to reprint” but the three articles provides an interesting read of clashing views on Ellington at one of his career peaks but also from a historiography point of view.


Duke Ellington in 1956 – November and December

Ellington must have had a fairly comfortable time in November and December 1956. He had some good bookings, which should have allowed him and the band to relax, particularly since they could spend some extended time in New York.

November seems to have started with a week-long tour of the southern part of the east coast but specific information exists only for November 3 when he played at North Carolina State College in Raleigh.

By November 8, Ellington was back in New York to start his two-week engagement at Birdland. During his stay there, on November 18, Ellington was apparently the master of ceremonies for the ”6th Annual Religious, Gospel and Folk Music Concert featuring Mahalia Jackson”. The same night CBS aired a Steve Allen Show in which Ellington appeared.


Alice Babs i DESS-bulletinen

DESS-bulletinen är en guldgruva av information. När man vill fördjupa sig i ett ämne är det ofta bra att börja med att läsa gamla Bulletiner. De är lätt tillgängliga eftersom de alla finns i pdf-format på webbplatsen tillsammans med en kort sammanfattning av innehållet i varje nummer.

Alice Babs har naturligtvis varit ett återkommande ämne och Bulletinen har publicerat fem längre artiklar om henne.

Den första finns i nummer 1999-4 och handlar om DESS-träffen den 9 mars 1999 där hon var huvudattraktionen.

Hon gav glimtar ur sin långa karriär vilka illustrerades med skivexempel. Kvällen avslutades med en visning av TV-programmet ”Indigo” och den fick en extra dimension genom att Babs kommenterade programmet och berättade om inspelningen.



Danish Radio Ellington Broadcasts – Program 11

The 11th Ellington program broadcasted by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s based on the Mercer Ellington donation is the second ”Goodie” for the month of November.


As usual, it is available in the ”Goodies of the Month” section of the DESS Lobby (DESS-rummet).

It was broadcasted on February 8, 1985 and this time the program presenter was Bent Schjarff.

With one exception, it covers two stockpile recording sessions – May 15, 1963 and May 18, 1965.

It starts with five selections from May 15, 1963. ”Stoona” was recorded with Alice Babs two and a half month earlier in Paris. Here it is different version with Ray Nance and Johnny Hodges as soloists.

”Serenade To Sweden” was also part of the recording session with Babs. The version in the program has Shorty Baker and Ray Nance at the center.

Then comes ”Bad Woman” (aka Walk Right In) and Schjarff let us follow the evolution of the song in the studio by offering  to two slightly different takes  – take 8 and take 10.

The May 15, 1963 section ends with ”Harmony In Harlem” in a new arrangement with Johnny Hodges, Ray Nance, Jimmy Hamilton and Paul Gonsalves as soloists.


Duke Ellington With Ella Fitzgerald At Newport 1966

On July 3, 1966, Duke Ellington was back at the Newport Jazz Festival after a couple of years of absence. His previous performance at the Festival was in 1963. He did not mark it as the 10th anniversary of his 1956 success. Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue was not even on the program but he stayed with his standard program of the time.

Take The ”A” Train

The Swedish photographer and DESS member Olle Lindholm, who lived in New York at the time, attended the Festival and took some photos during Ellington’s concert even if the light conditions were not ideal.

One of them was of Johnny Hodges, who played a 10 minute set of ”I Got It Bad, ”Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” and ”Wings and Things” during the concert.


Lindholm also got a good shot of the sax section when it played its part of the ”Kind A Dukish”/”Rockin’ In Rhythm” combination.


”West Indian Pancake” entered the repertoire as a feature for Paul Gonsalves during the European tour earlier in the year and Olle Lindholm managed to catch him with his camera when Gonsalves played it at Newport as well.



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