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Are Ellington and Strayhorn studying the UMMG Score?
Upper Manhattan Medical Group
In April and May 1954 Ellington and his orchestra were touring in western USA. This has been documented in a concert from Embassy Auditorium in Los Angeles on April 13, and from a dance date at McElroy’s Ballroom in Portland on April 29. In addition, songs from a Capitol Recording session on April 26 have been issued on the Capitol label.
On May 1, Duke and the orchestra were performing at a dance date at Trianon Ballroom in Seattle and the first part of this is rather interesting due to the the fact that the tunes played are not so common in the band’s repertoire. DESS members can enjoy this by logging into the Goodies Room.
När Duke Ellington och hans orkester reste på Europa-turné i oktober 1958, så var det 8 år sedan den förra turnén och av manskapet som deltog 1950 återstod nu bara c:a hälften. I stället hade nya musiker etablerat sig i orkestern.
Publiken i Europa fick nu för första gången höra och se ett antal nya intressanta solister som Clark Terry, Cat Anderson, Britt Woodman, John Sanders, Paul Gonsalves, Sam Woodyard m. fl., som visserligen inte var okända, men som var nya för den europeiska publiken.
Turnén började i London den 5 oktober och avslutades i Paris den 20 november och då hade orkestern haft konserter nästa varje dag däremellan.
Den 4 november hade turen kommits till Sverige och Stockholm, där orkestern konserterade i Kungl. Tennishallen. Från denna konsert finns tyvärr inget bevarat, men däremot besökte orkestern Göteborg två dagar senare och därifrån finns två hela konserter bevarade.
1958 års upplaga av Duke Ellington och hans orkester var tveklöst en av de av de bästa som besökte Europa under alla år. Musik från den andra föreställningen i Göteborgs konserthus har tidigare utgivits i urval på olika skivmärken, men inte i sin helhet, samt sänts i radio (i utdrag) både 1958 och senare.
DESS’ medlemmar får den här gången ta del av den första konserten från Göteborg, vilken aldrig utgivits på skiva (undantag: Diminuendo and Crescendo In Blue & Wailing Interval). Nedan hör vi ett exempel från konserten, medan resten av konserten finns i Godisrummet.
Ellington’s 1965 European tour lasted from January 25 to February 28. It started in France where Duke and the orchestra performed in Paris, and Lyon. They then went north, first to Copenhagen (Denmark) and then to Sweden for concerts in Lund, Malmö and Stockholm. After stops in Germany and Switzerland, the tour ended with two weeks of concerts (and a telecast) in England from February 13 to February 28
Ellington’s concerts in Stockholm took place on February 2 and the venue was Konserthuset (Stockholm Concert Hall).
Photo and copyright: Roland Sterner
The two concerts – one at 7 pm and one at 9pm – were well attended but the critics were rather negativ.
Orkesterjounalen’s Bertil Sundin seems to have had his opinion formed already before the concerts started. ”One can not expect that this group of older gentlemen will sound particularly inspired and in Stockholm on February 2 they didn’t ” he wrote. Sundin only had positiv comments on Johnny Hodge’s performance of ”Come Sunday” and Paul Gonsalves’ of Chelsea Bridge. However, Leif Andersson reviewing the Ellington concerts in Copenhagen, Lund and Malmö also in Orkesterjournalen was much more positiv.
The two reviews are available in the Ellington Archive
One of the concerts were broadcasted by Swedish Radio, most likely the second one, and DESS members can listen to it and download it in the Goodies Room. Here is a short excerpt from the broadcast.
Willie Smith and Harold Baker are soloing in Sophisticated Lady
To complete our series of broadcasts from the Meadowbrook in New Jersey, we can now present to the DESS members, in the Goodies Room, the final recording from this venue. For this event, discographies do not specify the exact date, only June 1951. According to the New DESOR, it was once issued on VOA POD-41/POD-42, but the exact circumstances are not known. VOA stands for Voice Of America, so this music was probably sent over its own network.
Like all previous recordings from Meadowbrook in June 1951, this one also comes from an MBS broadcast. The following numbers were played:
All Day Long*Sophisticated Lady*The Hawk Talks*Midriff*Just A-Sittin’ And A-Rockin’*Caravan (mer…)
This article covers the MBS “Coast To Coast” broadcast with Ellington and his orchestra from Meadowbrook on June 11, 1951. The full broadcast is available to DESS members in the Goodies Room.
Announcing the broadcast, the presenter says that it comes “to you from Frank Dailey’s Meadowbrook here on Route 23, the newest Pompton Turnpike in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, just a short fifteen miles from New York City”.
The Newark-Pompton Turnpike was a roadway in northern New Jersey that was originally a tolled turnpike. The roadway was first laid out in the mid-18th century and given its name in 1806. As originally designed, it connected Newark with the area north and west of the Pompton River in what is now Riverdale.
The songwriters (and bandleaders) Will Osborne and Dick Rogers wrote a song – Pompton Turnpike – in 1940. It is a strong plug for Meadowbrook. The lyrics says “Pompton Turnpike leads you / To a place not far from Broadway / Still it’s on a farm. / You dine with lights subdued / The music interlude puts you right in the mood.”
Charlie Barnet recorded the song in an instrumental version on July 19, 1940 and Louis Jordan followed suite with a vocal version on September 30.
In the broadcast, Ellington features the following songs: Take The A Train & intro*VIP’s Boogie*Jam With Sam*Don’t Get Around Much Anymore*Sultry Serenade*Duet*Love You Madly*The Hawk Talks*The Happening*Gotta Go (mer…)
I DESS-rummet finns det en tillfällig avdelning som heter ”Julklapp / Christmas Gift”. Där hittar man alla ”godbitar”, som gjorts tillgängliga till DESS’ medlemmar sedan starten av webbplatsen plus en ny med speciell anknytning till Sverige. Avdelningen finns på plats fram tills nyår!
In the DESS Lobby , there is a new temporary section called ”Julklapp / Christmas Gift”. There you will find all the ”goodies”, which have been made available to the members of DESS since the launch of the website. In case you have missed one of them, this is the opportunity for you to download it. The section is there only for one week, It also contains one new ”goodie” with a Swedish flavour.
We wish you all God Jul & Merry Christmas!!
Ulf & Anders
Frank Dailey & Duke Ellington
The Eighth Veil
Back in Frank Dailey’s Meadowbrook Ballroom it is now June 10 in 1951. The programme offered to our members this time is the sixth in our series and comes from an MBS broadcast. Three of the seven numbers that we present have been issued on records, but on difficult-to-get labels like VOA and Swing Treasury.
The broadcast starts with a very nice rendition of Warm Valley, by Paul Gonslaves. This tune had hitherto mainly been connected with Johnny Hodges fine alto sax playing, but in his absence it was taken over by Paul, who plays it beautifully. Next Al Hibbler faces a similar challenge singing Flamingo, which was one of Herb Jeffries’ hits back in December 1941. Hibbler is not doing so badly either, and the arrangement seems to be the same as the original, which was written by Billy Strayhorn. Tea For Two became a solo-piece for Willie Smith during his reletively short stay with the band, and here he shows what an outstandig alto sax player he was.
Eighth Veil, with a trumpet solo by Cat Anderson is next. Not so much ”pyro-technics” by Cat this time, he could also play very well in the lower and medium registers, which he proves here, and one feels that due to his role in the orchestra, he might have been somewhat under-rated in comparison with other trumpet players. Eight Veil, jointly credited ro Ellington and Strayhorn, has an interesting background in that it is derived from another tune called Out Of This World by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer.
Listen to Ray Nance in the next number! He plays a very unusual trumpet solo in Blue Lou, a Chick Webb hit, composed by Edgar Sampson. The broadcast ends with Creole Love Call, which Duke himself tells us he remembers from when he was 5 yers old!