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Juan Tizol, the composer

Juan Tizol-1

Juan Tizol

His most famous composition is undoubtedly Caravan, which was first recorded in 1936 by a small group, Barney Bigard & His Jazzopators, and then in early 1937 by the full Ellington orchestra.

 

Tizol was a very skilled player of the valve trombone with brilliant technique and a beautiful tone. On his instrument he could play passages that were more or less impossible to do on a slide trombone, and for this reason he was often used by Ellington to play with the sax section. His warm sound can be compared with that of Tommy Dorsey and is easily recognized, whether played in the Ellington orchestra or with others. He first joined the Ellington orchestra in 1929 and stayed until 1944 when he joined Harry James via a short stint with Woody Herman. In 1951 he was back with Ellington again for a two year tenure, again finding his way back to Harry James. In 1960-61 he played with Ellington temporarily. He became a very important member of the Ellington organization helping Duke with the extraction of scores and copying notes for the band members. Undoubtedly, this must have spurred his talants for arranging and writing his own material. His compositions, which in sheer numbers cannot compete with Duke and Strayhorn, are relatively numerous, and include ballads, swingers and more exotic tunes in the latin and oriental vein. Members can go to the Goodies Room and listen to some of Tizol’s finest compositions. (mer…)

Duke Ellington’s Small Group, June 4, 1958

Bildresultat för Clark Terry and Shorty Baker

Clark Terry and Harold ”Shorty” Baker flanking Paul Gonsalves in 1958. Gonsalves did not take part in the small group we refer to below.

60 years ago, in the beginning of June, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra were playing at the famous Blue Note in Chicago.

On June 4, we find Duke and a small group in a CBS TV-studio in Chicago. He leads a small group consisting of Clark Terry and Harold Baker on trumpets, Britt Woodman on trombone, Jimmy Hamilton clarinet, Jimmy Woode, bass and Sam Woodyard drums and of course Duke himself at the piano. This instrumentation  is pretty unusual for Duke Ellington, maybe the only one in existence, but nevertheless it sounds very good. The telecast title was ”Jazz In The Round”.  Unfortunately we don’t have access to a video copy, but the sound track is of fair quality. Our source material is coming from this telecast, which obviously also had some other contents, hence the announcer says he was going to introduce some girl singer, which does not appear on the tape.

Jimmy Hamilton in Tenderly

Members can go to the Goodies Room to listen to the complete telecast. (mer…)

A Birthday Party with Duke Ellington and His Orchestra (3, n.c.)

Bildresultat för Joe Williams      

Joe Williams and Oliver Nelson also participated in the celebrations

The third part of Bob Udkoff’s birthday party is not complete, due to problematic source material, but if we can obtain a better copy we’ll publish the full recording later on. Instead we now have to contend ourselves with one hour and three minutes, the rest, about 17 mins long’ not fit for listening. At the end of the hour, we can hear clear signs of deteriorated, but bearable sound.

First out is Oliver Nelson in Body And Soul

(mer…)

Duke Ellington i Storvik den 23 april 1939

Storviks järnvägsstation som den kan ha sett ut vid Ellingtons besök 1939

Många av våra medlemmar kanske är osäkra på var man kan hitta Storvik på världskartan, eftersom orten idag kan tyckas obetydlig. På 1800-talets senare hälft då man byggde stambanorna i Sverige hade man kommit fram till att två viktiga järnvägslinjer skulle korsa varandra här, vilket gjorde att det lilla samhället blev en viktig trafikknutpunkt. Orten är idag en del av Sandvikens kommun och tågen fortsätter att passera här, men stationen är numera knappast i ursprungligt bruk.

Duke Ellington och hans orkester gjorde i april 1939 en månadslång turné i nord- och västeuropa och besökte bl.a. Frankrike, Holland och Belgien, men huvuddelen av turnén tillbringades i Sverige, som tycks ha utgjort huvudmålet för Duke och hans mannar. Den 22 april hade orkestern kommit till Eskilstuna där man hade en konsert och nästa morgon satte man sig på tåget till Storvik, där man skulle ha en konsert kl 14.30 på eftermiddagen för att senare fortsätta med tåg till Uppsala där ytterligare en konsert skulle gå av stapeln. Nedan ses några tidningsnotiser om det kommande evenemanget. (mer…)

A Birthday Party with Duke Ellington and His Orchestra (2)

jimmy-jones

Jimmy Jones also took part in the birthday party

The first part of Bob Udkoff’s birthday party ended with Duke at the piano playing New World A-Comin’, an important composition of his from the first part of the 1940’s. After a number of attemped intros, the second part of the celebrations starts with New York City Blues, a sweet little tune that was introduced at Carnegie Hall in 1947 and very seldom played in later years. Jimmy Jones joins Ellington at the piano in Fats Waller’s Just Squeeze Me, and then Johnny Hodges plays in his usual solo style Drag, Prelude To A Kiss and Things Ain’t What they Used To Be, the latter being cut short because the tape ran out.

New York City Blues and birthday chatter

After Johnny Hodges’ performances, it is Cootie Williams’ turn to handle I’m Beginning To See The Light and then Satin Doll is played yet another time as background to Duke’s introduction of Bob Udkoff and his wife Evelyn which is followed by a speech by Udkoff and a joint performance of the band and guests of Happy Birthday. (mer…)

Duke at The Hollywood Empire in 1949 (3)

Tom Breneman's Hollywood Restaurant

The predecessor to The Hollywood Empire was called Tom Breneman’s

Thomas Breneman Smith (June 18, 1902 – April 28, 1948) was a popular 1940s American radio personality known to his listeners as Tom Breneman. For most of his career, he was based in Southern California, in Los Angeles and Hollywood. His radio program was such a success that he established  Tom Breneman’s Restaurant in Hollywood, which attracted many actors, musicians and others. In 1948 it was renamed The Hollywood Empire with Gene Norman as one of the partners. For the opening in December 1948, Woody Herman’s 2nd Herd was hired and before Duke Ellington and his orchestra appeared in Februari 1949, both Louis Armstrong and Billy Eckstine appeared there. Our third programme from The Empire is also from Februari 1949, according to New Desor, the session number is DE4906 which would indicate that the recording date is after February 10. Below you can listen to one of Kay Davis’ better performances from the period, He Makes Me Believe.

Kay Davis sings

The complete broadcast, originally issued as  AFRS Jubilee J-349 can be found in the Goodies Room. (mer…)

The Duke at The Hollywood Empire in 1949 (2) with Billie Holiday

Duke & Billie

Duke & Billie around 1949

Our next visit to the Empire Hotel in Hollywood brings you music from February 9, 1949, originally issued on AFRS JJ-47 (AFRS=Armed Forces Radio Service). It has not been issued commercially, but one of the numbers, The Tattooed Bride, appears on an LP record presented at the Ellington-90 conference. Our source tape also includes two numbers sung by Billie Holliday, but it is not known whether this was part of the original broadcast material or if the Holiday songs were inserted for a re-broadcast. Be that as it may, it is always a pleasure to listen to her singing.

Billie sings Miss Brown To You

Members will find the complete recording from this occasion in the Goodies Room, the sound quality being acceptable, and hopefully the contents is of interest. (mer…)

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