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DESS Bulletin 2021-1
The first issue of the DESS Bulletin for 2021 was sent to the DESS members yesterday. Its editor, Bo Haufman has produced another ambitious issue.
This time, the featured artist is trumpeter Louis Metcalf, who participated in recording sessions with the Ellington band in 1926 and 1927 and finally become a regular member of the orchestra for about a year in late 1927.
In a four-page article, Bo Haufman goes through Metcalf’s life and career with emphasis on his time with Ellington. It is supplemented by a reprint of an “Oral History” interview with Metcalf.
Another theme in the new issue of the DESS Bulletin is Harlem. It has two articles by Bo Haufman himself on the theme – one about the Ellington recordings of s music with Harlem in its name and another about Ellington’s composition The Sidewalks of New York.
A third theme is Ellington’s composition Sepia Panorama. There are two articles on this topic – one is by Mike Zirpolo and another quoted from Walter van de Leur’s presentation at the Ellington ’94 conference in Stockholm on the Ellington-Strayhorn collaboration.
In addition to these six articles, there are some more good reads in the new Bulletin. Just pick it up and find out about them yourself.
Blue Light Autumn 2020
The last issue of DESUK’s Blue Light for 2020 arrived a couple of weeks ago. It is quite research focused. The key article in this section is another impressive piece by Roger Boyes’ series on Ellington in the years of the Petrillo recording ban.
It is titled Live At The Hurricane but it covers much more than the title indicate.
It starts with the aftermath to the Carnegie Hall concert on Jan. 23, 1943 and the ensuing road tour, continues with different aspects of the engagement from April 1, 1943 at the Hurricane Restaurant on the second floor of the Brill Building on 1619 Broadway at 49th Street and ends with discussing the famous Mutual Broadcasts from Hurricane in a wider context.
Another solid and interesting research-oriented article is Pedro Cravinho’s Jazz, Revue and a Thriller. The Response of the Birminham Press to Duke Ellington’s 1933 Tour.
It is developed from a presentation he gave at the 2018 Ellington conference in Birmingham. Because of the organisation of the conference in workshops, many participants were not able to listen to it so it is most welcome that a further developed version is published by Blue Light.
The last articles in the research part deals with the Lockdown Lowdown initiative, which provides weekly broadcasts with all sorts of people with knowledge and views on Ellington.
Finally, the new Blue Light has also an enjoyable article by Brian Priestly full of insights about Clark Terry on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth.
The tireless YouTube observer Brian Koller has drawn the attention of the community of Ellington fans to this new Ellington sound-only video on YouTube. Thank you, Brian.
New Ellington CD from Maison du Duke
The 13th CD in La Maison du Duke’s series of rare Ellington music and performances is available to MDD members since some weeks.
It is titled is Special Occasions with Cab Calloway, Menuhin & Kenton 1955-1963 but Paul Whiteman’s should also have appeared in it because the first part of the CD is from Whiteman’s telecast with Ellington in the CBS’ series America’s Greatest Bands.
This series ran in the summer of 1955 with Whiteman as host and featured in addition to Ellington guests like Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Xavier Cugat, Ralph Flanagan and Eddie Sauter, Gene Krupa, Charlie Barnet, Percy Faith and others.
Ellington appeared on July 9 following Armstrong the week before.
Two weeks later – July 26 – Ellington was featured on another CBS’ telecast called Music ’55. It was hosted by Stan Kenton and was a weekly show, which ran every Tuesday night from July 12 to September 13 1955.
The CD has Ellington playing a couple of bars of Artistry In Rhythm and then sharing Take The A Train with Stan Kenton at a separate piano. This is followed by Yehudi Menuhin performing Come Sunday together with Ellington.
Missing from the CD is Ellington narrating Pretty And The Wolf (aka Monologue) with the Kenton “television band” doing the music part.
However, it is included in full filmclip of the July 26 Music telecast. The clip also demonstrates that the principal guest of the show was Yehudi Menuhin and not Ellington.
Kenton’s new singer Ann Richards, who had joined the band 6 months before, also appear in the clip and sings two songs.
The show ends with an “exotic” dance number to Peanut Vendor.
The final part of the CD – and the most enjoyable one – is the concert in Lambertville, New Jersey on August 12, 1963 when Cab Calloway stepped in to conduct the Ellington orchestra and Billy Strayhorn took over the piano chair.
Ellington was at the time in Chicago for the final preparations of the premiere of My People, which opened four days later.
The concert had two parts – a first one with the typical repertoire of the Ellington orchestra at the time and a second with Calloway singing some of his popular songs. Only one of them – St. James Infirmary – is on the CD.
The first part of the concert has previously been issued on the Azure CA 19 cassette.
Like previous MDD CDsones, the new one is only available for members of La Maison du Duke. The membership fee is 20 euros and in addition one has to pay 5 euros for the postage.
In the early 1990’s Kenny Burrell participated in some Ellington conferences.
The first one was Ellington ’90 in Ottawa, where he was was an important part of the music program. Together with Harold Ashby, Wild Bill Davis, John Lamb and Butch Ballard, Burrell formed the Ellingtonians group and also appeared as soloist with the Andrew Homzy Jazz Orchestra.
The concert with the Ellingtonians has been published on the website.
Kenny Burrell was back at the Ellington ’93 conference in New York, where he once again was part of the music program but also made a presentation on Teaching Ellingtonia the second day.
Burrell first became involved in jazz education in 1978, when he started to teach a 10-week overview of Duke Ellington for UCLA’s Center for African American Studies.
By that time his two first LP album dedicated to Duke Ellington’s music – Ellington Is Forever (Fantasy F 79005) and Ellington Is Forever vol 2 (Fantasy 79008) had been issued.
Burrell’s love for Duke was not obvious in his early career. He belonged to the part of the hardbop generation that came out of Detroit and joined those coming from New York or Philadelphia in recording the new style of jazz for labels like Blue Note and Prestige.
They occasionally included an Ellington song like Cotton Tail, Caravan, The The A Train, Perdido etc in what they recorded but if it was thanks to Kenny Burrell is hard to say.
An interest in Ellington could possibly be spotted in the 1961 Taft Jordan Plays Ellington album (Moodsville MVLP 21). It is not known to which extent Burrell participated in the selection of songs but he certainly played a lot of Ellington music when the album was recorded.
In an interview on the WBUR jazz program in Boston in 1985, Kenny Burrell told the interviewer Tony Cennamo that it was the publicist Al Morgan who had introduced him to Ellington’s music. Unfortunately no date for this is given.
In an interview for National Public Radio in 2014, Burrell said: When I was at Wayne State University in the ’50s, it was a problem studying jazz, even talking about it in some cases, so I decided if I had a chance, I would teach jazz.” And this he did for many years.
In his presentation at Ellington ’93, he explains his approach to this as regards Ellingtonia.
At Ellington ’93 in New York, Kurt Dietrich did another presentation on Ellington’s trombone players. On this occasion, he talked about Juan Tizol, Ellington’s valve trombone player 1929-1944 and 1951-1953 and occasionally in the early 1960’s.
In the presentation, Dietrich gives a short biography of Tizol but the focus is on Tizol – the trombone player.
He talks about Tizol’s stylistic features and illustrate them with excerpts of Twelve Street Rag (Jan. 14, 1931), Caravan (May 14, 1937), Battle Of The Swing (Dec. 19, 1938) and Come Sunday (Jan. 23, 1943). I
It is a pity that his presentation was restricted to 30 minutes because it is obvious that he had much more to share.
For those, who would like to know more about Tizol, Nanton, Lawrence Brown and other Ellington trombonists, Dietrich’s book Duke’s Bones: Ellington’s Great Trombonists is highly recommended.
Anyone, who would like to go deeper into Tizol’s life and career, should read Basilio Serrano’s biography Juan Tizol – His Caravan Through American Life and Culture
A three page overview of Tizol’s life, career and achivements written by Bo Haufman is available in DESS Bulletin 2011-2.
There exists also an interview in which Tizol talks about his time with Ellington.
Another interesting video is a short lecture in the Jazz Academy series in which the lead trombone player in the Jazz At LIncoln Center Orchestra, Vincent Gardner, demonstrates the Tizol way to play the trombone melody in Ko-Ko.
Kurt Dietrich continued his presentations on Ellington’s trombone players with one at Ottawa ’90 about Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton. Since the one on Lawrence Brown at Washington ’89, he had finished his dissertion and Nanton was the second trombonist, which Dietrich had researched for it.
In his presentation, Dietrich plays excerpts of Jubilee Stomp (March 3, 1927), Black And Tan Fantasy (Nov. 3, 1927), It Don’t Mean A Thing (Feb. 2, 1932), Under The Old Apple Tree (Aug. 15, 1933), Harlem Speaks (July 13, 1933), Work Song (Jan. 23, 1943) and Blue Serge (Feb. 15, 1941).
Summer issue of Blue Light
The summer issue of Blue Light is available to DESUK members since a couple of weeks ago.
As usual it provides some good reading. This time, Patrick Olsen presents a couple of new contributors.
Gareth Evans, who is of the new generation on the DESUK Committee, writes about the LP album Duke Ellington, Masterpieces: 1926-68 with 70 Ellington recordings, that Martin Williams together with Gunther Schuller was working on for the Smithsonian at the end of the 1980’s but which never saw the light of the day.
Williams talked about the the project at the Ellington ’89 conference in Washington D.C. and the DESS website published his presentation on 10th April 2018 together with some other presentations on the first day of the conference. Link: https://ellington.se/2018/04/10/ellington-89-in-washington-d-c-3/
Evans lists the recordings that Willams and Schuller had chosen, makes some critical comments to the selection and provides his own Ellington masterpieces list. He has also put up a playlist on Spotify with a selection from his list ( https://open.spotify.com/playlist/78G0522OsSohS7B7ZCwzkO).
Another first-time contributor is the American researcher Dr. Katherine Leo, who specializes in “the intersection of American music and legal histories”. Her five-page article deals with the 1993 court case Tempo Music, Incorporated v. Famous Music Corporation (i.e. the Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn estates) regarding copyrights to Satin Doll.
She gives the background to the case, the legal framework, the court’s dealing with the case and the impact of its conclusion. The key issue in the case was if a harmonic progression could be copyrighted and the court decided that “the Satin Doll progression met the legal threshold for originality and thus copyrightability”.
Dr. Leo will publish an article in the upcoming issue of Jazz Perspectives on copyright aspects of ODJB’s Livery Stable Blues.
Besides these two articles, the new issue has contributions by Ian Bradley (Uptown Lockdown), Brian Priestly (review of the new BB&B record), Frank Griffith and others. The feature Reminiscing introduced a couple of issues ago also has interesting contributions to read.
Jimmie Blanton Blog
Matthias Heyman – the Jimmie Blanton specialist and much more – has set up a page on his website “with tidbits, little-known facts, and deep dives on jazz bassist Jimmie Blanton (1918– 1942). The url is https://www.mattheyman.com/pitter-panter-chatter.
The page has also a link to articles that he has published in academic journals on Blanton, Ellington, and jazz bass playing. They are very interesting and stimulating. Good reading while one waits for Heyman’s book on Jimmie Blanton.
Wynton Marsalis on Ellington
In the June 1991 issue, Down Beat published an article by Wynton Marsalis on Duke Ellington
It was an adaptation of a speech he gave at the 1991 International Association of Jazz Educators conference in Washington D.C. The article is not an analysis of Ellington’s music but rather an expression of love and respect.
Marsalis admits that he never listened to Ellington’s music when growing up and when he heard it, he didn’t really like it. “It sounded like like the type of music that old people dance to in ballrooms, thinking they were doing something hip.”
But when he had moved to New York, things started to change. Thanks to Stanley Crouch, Marsalis one days started to listen to Ellington records and his view changed. “I could see a broad vision of what our country was about, a broad vision of what we should be dealing with.”
The full article is available to DESS members in the Ellington Archive.
Ellington på YouTube m.m.
Ellington- och filmspecialisten Brian Koller håller kretsen av Ellingtonvänner underrättad när det dyker upp nya Ellington videos på YouTube. Tack för det, Brian! Nedan är ett urval av de som har lagts upp de senaste månaderna.
Nyligen lade någon upp konserten av Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra för att fira 100 årsdagen av Billy Strayhorns födelse. Den gavs i juni 2016.
En lång video med The Royal Variety Performance 1973 lades upp så sent som igår och i den framträder också Ellington och hans orkester. Den delen börjar 56 minuter 35 sekunder in i videon och varar ungefär 15 minuter.
Den 23 mars 1965 spelade Ellington på Tyrone Guthrie Theatre i Minneapolis och under en av pauserna intervjuade jazzradiomannen Leigh Kamman honom. Två utdrag ur intervjun lades upp på YouTube under sommaren.
Det är också fallet med en kort reklamfilm för ett känt cigarettmärke.
Koller har också uppmärksammat oss Ellingtonvänner på en artikel i jazztidningen The Syncopated Times om Ellingtons tidiga trumpetare.
Bo Haufman, the Bulletin editor and President of DESS, has delighted the DESS members by sending out the autumn issue of the DESS Bulletin quite early this year. This allow them to digest and enjoy another Bulletin with a lot of good reading during the last weeks of the summer holiday.
This time the cover story is about Wellman Braud – Ellington’s first main bass player
In the well-researched four page lead article, Bo Haufman gives the full career of Braud.
He starts with his early years in Chicago (1917-1923), his two month visit to England in early 1923 as member of the Charles A. Elgar’s Orchestra to play in the show “Plantation Days” and his settlement in New York upon the return from England.
In New York, Braud got engaged by Wilbur Sweatman and also played in pit bands for musical comedies. He also also participated in his first recording sessions – two Victor sessions with Thomas Morris and his Seven Hot Babies on November 12 and 14, 1926.
In June 1927, Duke Ellington hired him as bass and tuba player and he became very quickly an important element in the Ellington orchestra. Braud stayed for almost eight years and left in March 1935.
In the article, Bo gives a detailed account of Braud’s period with the band. He talks about Braud’s style and role in the Ellington Orchestra, goes through Braud’s main recordings with the band and tells about the circumstances that led the Braudman’s departure.
The final part of the article gives snapshots of what Braud did after having left Ellington. He was not engaged by any other major orchestra but seems to have stayed in the environment of blues and music anchored in the New Orleans tradition.
At one point, he moved to California In 1955, he started to play with Kid Ory there and went with the Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band to Europe in 1956. In 1959, he started “a long lasting musical relationship” with the blues and folksinger Barbara Dane. Braudman accompanied her with a trio and did this also for blues artists performing at her club “Sugar Hill – Home of the Blues.
Braud passed away in Los Angeles in 1966.
But there is not only the article about Wellman Braud to read in the new issue of the DESS Bulletin but several others.. (more…)
The third of the three programs with Ellington material from the Mercer Ellington donation, which Danish Radio put on the air in July 1960, was broadcasted on July 23, 1990 with Fleming Sjølund-Jensen as presenter.
The program starts with a segment of another Ellington interview, this one made by Guiana Broadcast Service. “If you had to do it all over again, would you?”, the interviewer asks Ellington. “Yes”, he replies, “but I don’t know if I would be as lucky” and then dwells on this issue.
Sjølund-Jensen dates the interview to October 1969 but it is actually from June 9, 1969. It was most likely done in Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, which was included in Ellington’s West Indian June 6-18, 1969.
Ellington and the band spent the first two weeks of October 1969 in Las Vegas. Possibly the interview was done during this engagement?
The broadcast continues with stockpile recordings from the early 1970’s. First comes The Checkered Hat from Feb. 23, 1971 with Norris Turney soloing in his own composition. It has been issued by Storyville on its Togo Brava CD.
Next are two selections from the May 13, 1971 stockpile session – Perdido (-11) and Charpoy (-12). Perdido is a feature for Money Johnson while Wild Bill Davis has the solo role in the Strayhorn composition Charpoy. It is issued on the Musicmaster label (CD) while Perdido can be found on the Togo Brava CD.
I Got It Bad, which follows, is an interesting version in an arrangement of Wild Bill Davis. Harry Carney and particularly Cootie Williams have the solo roles. It was recorded in the stockpile session Dec. 11, 1970 and has been issued by Storyville on the New York, New York CD.
After this, the program continues with Mood Indigo and Don’t You Know I Care from the stockpile session June 12, 1972.
Sjølund-Jensen then gives the listeners the pleasure to hear two full takes of Mood Indigo with a brk take in between them. This is no doubt the highlight of the broadcast. The first one is more than 9 minutes long and has not been issues on LP or CD so far. The second full take is almost 6 minutes long and is also included in Storyville’s New York, New York CD.
Ellington played similar versions of Mood Indigo at dance dates in Pennsylvania on April 14 and 19 but in June 12 Tyree Glenn was back in the band for a short time and that makes a lot of difference!
Don’t You Know I Care is a particular feature for Harold Minerve, who had joined the Ellington band in April 1971 to take over after Johnny Hodges.The take (-1) played in the broadcast has not been issued on LP or CD.
The broadcast ends with two contrasting songs.
First comes the solemn Christman Surprise sung by Lena Horne at the first performance of Concert of Sacred Music in Fifth Avenue Presbytarian Church in NYC on Dec. 26, 1965. The lyrics are by Rev. C. Julian Barlett and the music by Billy Strayhorn.
It is followed by Ray Charles’ I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You, which Ellington recorded on May 19, 1964 for Reprise. The version played in the program (-2) has not been issued so far.
As Sjølund-Jensen says is his sign-off “We Can’t Stop Lovin’ You, Duke!”
The second of the three programs with Ellington material from the Mercer Ellington donation, which Danish Radio put on the air in July 1960, was broadcasted on July 16, 1960 with Fleming Sjølund-Jensen as presenter.
It is the second DESS “goodie” this month and is available in the ”Goodies” section of the website.
The program starts with another three selections from the stockpile session March 16, 1962. The Blues Ain’t sung by Milt Grayson ended broadcast 41. This time Sjølund-Jensen plays three more numbers with Grayson – Do Nothin Till You Hear From Me (-7) which also has a long solo by Lawrence Brown, Where In The World (-11, -12-13- 15) and One More Twist aka One More Once (-15, -16), in which Paul Gonsalves also solo.
None of the selection have been issued on records so far.
Next comes two selections from the stockpile session Aug. 30, 1965 – Trombone Buster (-7) with Buster Cooper and Louie Bellson in leading roles and When I Am Feeling Kinda Blue aka Imagine My Frustration (-6) featuring Johnny Hodges. Trombone Buster is issued in the Private Collection series (vol 8) while the take of When I Am Feeling Kinda Blue is not issued so far.
The two following numbers are not easily found in discographies.
They are from a small group recording session with Cat Anderson as leader. Nothing from the session has been issued so far and Ellington participate only as a coach from the control room.This is why it is absent from the most common discographies.
In the broadcast, the session is said to be from August 18, 1962 but this is rather unlikely since Ellington recorded with Coleman Hawkins for Impulse that day.
In a article in the DEMS Bulletin 1990-3, Benny Åslund claims that the correct date is Sep. 18, 1962. It is a possible date. Ellington was in New York at the time and busy in recording studios. On Sep 17 he recorded the Money Jungle album.
Sjølund-Jensen lets the listeners first hear what he says Cat Anderson calls De De Dada Dum but also gives the title as Organ Grinder’s Swing. Anderson takes the opportuni to demonstrate his growl style.
The second tune is called On Flight and Anderson is certainly flying high in it. Paul Gonsalves also has a solo spot.
Next in the broadcast come two selections from the Jan 7, 1967 stockpile session. Ellington sits once again in the control room and this time it is Melba Liston, who has taken over the piano chair. She is also responsible for all the arrangements.
The selections are Jump For Joy (-7, -9 brk, -10) and I Like The Sunrise (-2, -3, -4, -5 and -9). Both are sung by Tony Watkins.
The broadcast ends with Together and Jeep’s Blues (nc) from a concert in November 1958. It is most likely the second concert at Theatre De L’Alhambra in Paris on Oct. 29, 1958.
Spring issue of Blue Light
This issue was delayed because of the Covid 19 pandemic and reached the DESUK members in early May.
It is dominated by a 12 page article by Roger Boyes titled Black, Brown and Beige – New York City Winter 1943. It is a very impressive piece of work which in a sense is series of mini essays with BB&B as the common theme. Some of the titles are A Theme for a Lifetime, Very Public Preparations, Rye High and Carnegie Hall, The Reviews and Boston – A Modified Programme.
The article follows similar articles published in earlier issues of Blue Light and hopefully there will be more. Will there in the end be a book about Ellington in the 1940s?
Boyes also contributes to the new issue with an interesting and detailed comment on the article Duke Stride Piano in the previous issue of Blue Light.
A lengthy comment by Brian Priestly on Con Chapman’s Hodges book belongs to the same category. It expresses quite a critical view on the book.
Finally Mike Westbrook writes about his composition On Duke’s Birthday which was supposed to have been performed at Ronnie Scott’s in London on Ellington’s birthday this year.
Upbeat CD with rare Ellington
The English Upbeat Mail Order company, which specialises in New Orleans revival and Dixieland music, took over the Canadian Jazz Oracle label last year. This label with John R.T. Davies as President produced a total of 71 CD titles of comprehensive and rare recordings from the 1920s and ‘30s. “The sound quality and remastering were state-of-the-art, the liner notes were lengthy and authoritative, and the packaging was top-notch.” (Scott Yannow)
Jazz Oracle rewarded good customers with a Gift from the President CD with very rare takes. One of them was take B of Ellington’s recording of Tishomingo Blues on June 28, 1928 and another take 2 of Without You Emaline recorded by Bubber Miley and His Mileage Makers on May 16, 1930.
Upbeat has recently reissued the CD as Vintage Jazz Rarities.
The CD has the same excellent sound as the original CD. However, a track with Mound City Blue Blowers has been left out for us who would like to have it all. But is is good that the tracks are in chronological order.
Essentially Ellington 2020
Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition organiserad av Jazz at Lincoln Center börjar fira sitt 25-årsjubileum i morgon. P.g.a. av Covid 19 pandemin är det ett rent virtuellt evenemang som kommer att vara tillgängligt genom strömmande medier som Facebook Live och Livestream.
Hela programmet finns tillgängligt här. Skrolla bara ner en liten bit på sidan. Själva tävlingen äger rum på fredag med början kl 20.00 svensk tid. Den föregås av av en stor virtuell jamsession på torsdagen och ett evenemang kallat 25 solon – 25 år. Men det bjuds naturligtvis mycket annat intressant. Det är bara att titta i programmet.
The Seven Tones Project
Detta är ett fantastiskt projekt på Facebook..
Enkelt uttryckt handlar det om ett kortfilmsprojektprojekt i vilket filmmakare och musiker kombinerar mycket vackra filmbilder med Ellington och Strayhorn musik. “Inspired by Ellington” är projektets huvudslogan.
Facebookadressen är https://www.facebook.com/theseventonesproject/. Där finns alla filmer att se och höra.
Projektet finns också på YouTube.
Här är några exempel på filmer.
Covid19 stoppade Ellingtonkonferensen i Washingto D.C men den utlöste också att nya tolkningar av Ellington- och Strayhornmusik strömmade ut över världen!