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Ellington DR Broadcasts (33)

The first ”goodie” in February is program 33 in the Duke Ellington series broadcast by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. The broadcast is available in the ”Goodies” section of the website.

This program was broadcasted on September 29, 1985 and was presented by Bjarne Busk.

It is totally dedicated to the stock pile recording session December 28-29, 1966. The session took place in the RCA Studios in New York.

Busk starts with what transpired on the second day, which was Tony Watkin’s day.

He recorded three Ellington songs – I’m Just A Lucky So And So, Blues At Sundown and The Lonely Ones. The first one was originally a number for Al Hibler and the second one sung by Jimmy Grissom on a couple of occasions in 1952 and in My People.

Before Watkins, ”The Lonely Ones” had been recorded by Johnny Ray and the Ellington band for Columbia on September 26, 1958.  and by Milt Grayson in a stockpile session on September 13, 1962.

None of the songs recorded by Watkins and played in the broadcast have been issued on K7, LP or CD so far.

Next in the broadcast , Ellington sits down at the piano for some meditation. On the tape box, the number is simply called Piano Track 1. Later it became Meditation.

Busk says that Ellington sat down at the end of the second day. However, according to Ellington discographies he actually did this at the start of the first day when he played a total of four songs for himself.

The rest of the day was a small group session. Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney, John Lamb and Rufus Jones joined Ellington to record I’m Beginning To See The Light, Dragon Blues, Now Ain’t It, Cotton Head and Last Time Around.

”Now Ain’t It” is a Melba Liston arrangement and in Ellington discographies ”Dragon Blues” is called Draggin’ Blues. Only ”I’m Beginning To See The Light” has not been issued on K7, LP or CD so far.

In all, another interesting and enjoyable broadcast making good use of the Mercer Ellington donation.

The Mercer Ellington donation

The program of the Ellington ’92 conference also included a presentation on the Mercer Ellington donation to Danish Radio. It was delivered by Erik Wiedemann, Bjarne Busk and Flemming Sjølund Jensen.

Photo: Bjarne Busk

First Erik Wiedemann spoke about Mercer Ellington’s donation of 781 Ellington tapes to Danish Radio on the condition that it would properly mixed onto new tapes.

Then Bjarne Busk and Flemming Sjølund Jensen followed up by letting the audience listen to examples from the archive.

Busk talked among other things about his excitement when he listened to the first tape, which started with what turned out to be Pastel from the Degas Suite. He also gave some figures on the donation. 443 tapes were studio recordings from 128 dates. There was also 69 tapes with live recordings from 35 occasions and 53 tapes with interviews of Ellington.

Photo: Bjarne Busk

Busk finished his presentation by playing a recording from the Aug. 18, 1966 session ”which will never be issued” but also other examples from the tapes were included in it.

Sjølund Jensen focused his presentation on an untitled blues recorded on Nov. 23, 1968 and used it to demonstrate ”how Ellington and the band developed their material”. He very much featured Lawrence Brown in his clips.

Brian Priestly on Duke – The Pianist

Brian Priestly was also one of the speakers at the Ellington ’92 conference in Copenhagen.

Photo Bjarne Busk

He talked about ”Ellington The Pianist”.

During the 45 minutes presentation, Priestly played eight Ellington recordings with the piano at the centre and used them to highlight different aspects of Ellington’s piano playing. From time to time, he also sat down at the piano to give emphasis to his comments.

The music played in the program was Rockin’ in Rhythm (1937), Melancholia (1953), See See Rider (1972), (I’m Riding On the Moon and) Dancing on the Stars (1938), Band Call (1954), The Clothed Woman(1947), Bang Up Blues(1950) and Body and Soul (1961)

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Soccer Club, US Army, Wiesbaden, May 25, 1963

Duke Ellington and Paul Gonsalves in 1963

(Photo is not from the Soccer Club)

Just before Duke Ellington and his orchestra played the week-long engagement at Gröna Lund in Stockholm in June 1963, a brief visit was made in Germany. We will let our members enjoy an unissued recording from a typical dance date for the US troops stationed in Germany. In this version of the Ellington band, Cat Anderson was missing and Rolf Ericson had just joined. The bass player was Eddie Shepard, who had a short stay with the band, a couple of years later he suffered a heart attack and died, but then he had already left the Ellington orchestra.

Diminuendo In Blue & Wailing Interval

The rest of this dance date (the long medley is omitted) can be found in the Goodies section. (mer…)

The Degas Suite

Over the last week, we have published articles on Danish Radio’s Ellington broadcasts Nos. 31 and 32. These broadcasts are very much focused on the music Ellington composed and recorded for the art film Degas’ Racing World (sometimes referred to as The Impressionists at the Racetrack. The soundtrack for this never completed film is what is called The Degas Suite.

The film was the brainchild of the American film maker Sam Shaw. He was the producer of Paris Blues and this is how he got acquainted with Duke Ellington.

The idea of Racing World was apparently triggered by a major exhibition of impressionists and post-impressionists works with horse track and horse racing motives, which Shaw saw during his stay in Paris for Paris Blues.

He approached Ellington to write the music for the film, which he accepted. According to Stanley Dance, Ellington even was ”enthusiastic” about it.

The music was recorded on three occasions, November 6, November 23 and December 3, 1968.

”After seeing the Degas material for the first time, Ellington decided to use just four horns and piano” (Dance). However, in the end, Ellington changed his mind and involved himself and 9 of his band members  in the recording of the music.

Before the film projected stopped because of lack of money, a sound track for the film was put together out of the recorded music. Ellington got the rights to it as a compensation for having paid for the studio time and for his musicians.

But he never made use of the sound track and he does not refer to the (unissued) film and The Degas Suite in Music Is My Mistress. This can be interpreted as there was no Degas Suite to him, just a soundtrack of a failed film project.

Instead, the originator of the name The Degas Suite is Stanley Dance. For the fifth volume of the Ellington Private Collection issued in 1987, he selected a set of takes from the Racing World recording sessions based on the soundtrack and issued them under the name of The Degas Suite in the CD album. In his liner notes, he says ”The soundtrack…solves the problem of deciding which takes Ellingtom himself considered definitive”.

His selections and the order of them are slightly different from the one Erik V. Krustrup had in DR 31 and 32.

A comparative list can be found on page 582 in Klaus Stratemann’s ”Duke Ellington Day by Day, Film by Film”

In 1987, the President of the Southern California Chapter of the Duke Ellington Society, William Fawcett Hill, together with the art historian James Dobbs, decided to produce a reconstruction of Degas’ Racing World. They did so without having able to find any of the original film clips and getting only vague information when he interviewed Sam Shaw.

So the ”reconstruction” must be considered as a rather personal interpretation of the original film both as regards the paintings which appears and the order of the music.

It was shown at the Ellington ’88 conference in Oldham and now DESS members can also enjoy it. We apologise for the poor quality of the images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellington DR Broadcasts (32)

The fourth ”goodie” in December is program 32 in the Duke Ellington series broadcast by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. The broadcast is available in the ”Goodies” section of the website.

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This program was broadcast on August 30, 1985 and the presenter is once again Erik V. Krustrup.

He continues to bring the listeners some of the music Ellington composed and recorded for film The Impressionists At The Racetrack.

The program starts with the version of Race with Harry Carney and Russell Procope that ended the previous broadcast. Krustrup then plays some more takes of the melody. The first one is played by Ellington solo and the second features Russell Procope in particular .

The next number is Pastel with Paul Gonsalves in the solo role. According to notes from the recording session, it was supposed to follow Race in the film.

After this, comes Drawings, which is an interplay between Ellington, Willie Cook and the trombone section. It is followed by Prat – a solo number for Harry Carney – and the same Opening Titles as was heard in the previous broadcast.

The section with music recorded for Racing World ends with Piano Pastel – an Ellington solo number. Krustrup says that he plays it ”as an epilog to the suite”. However, it was not meant to end the film. Apparently, this was to be done by Opening Titles.

The broadcast continues with three selections from stockpile sessions at the end of November 1969. First comes three takes of Reva recorded on November 29, 1969 and then two takes of each Just A Little Jive and Riverboat. In the broadcast they are respectively referred to as Untitled Blues and Country.

The broadcast ends with two rockin’ numbers from the stockpile session on December 9, 1970 – Sans Snyphelle and Big Luv (aka Amore Grande).

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