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The DESS Bulletin – New Issue

The indefatigable editor of the DESS Bulletin, Bo Haufman, has produced a new issue. It is the 2019-2 one and it is on its way to the DESS members.

The trumpeter Harold Baker – nicknamed ”Shorty” – is the featured artist in the new issue.

Thomas Eriksson covers his life and career in a five page article. The focus is of course on his time in the Ellington band but the readers with also learn about his time with the big bands of Don Redman, Teddy Wilson and Andy Kirk before Baker joined Ellington in 1942. His time and marriage with Mary Lou Williams is also well covered as are his periods as freelancer.

A second Baker article in the new Bulletin is a reprint from Jazz Journal, in which Clark Terry tells Steven Voce about him. ”There was never a better trumpet player to come out of St. Louis than Harold ”Shorty Baker”, he says.

Another major article in the new Bulletin is about Al Sears. It is written by Nigel Haslewood, an Englishman living in Leicester, UK who runs the online Sadman Record shop.

It is the first part of an article, which was originally published in the IAJRC Journal. Like Thomas Eriksson’s article on Harold Baker, it is very well researched and very detailed. When the second part is also published, the DESS members should have a good monography on Al Sears.

This issue also have some shorter articles by Bo Haufman himself like one about The Women’s Duke Ellington and another on the Ellington-Strayhorn composition The Eighth Veil.

The DESS member Erling Torkelsson have also contributed to the new Bulletin with an article about Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and Duke Ellington.

 

 

 

The Duke and The Tiger

Duke Ellington recorded Tiger Rag for the first time on January 8, 1929 for Brunswick. It was an extended version, which was issued on a 12 inch 78 (Brunswick 6510)

At the Ellington ’92 conference in Copenhagen, Dan Morgenstein – Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University for more than 30 years – spoke about Ellington’s performances of Tiger Rag and how he used the Tiger Rag themes in many imagitative ways.

He had spoken on this topic already at the Ellington ’83 conference in Washington D.C. but only a very short excerpt of that presentation has been preserved.

Ellington DR Broadcasts (34)

The second ”goodie” in February is program 34 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 October 13, 1985 and presented by Bjarne Busk.

It starts with a snapshot from Ted O’Reilly’s interview of Ellington in Toronto on March 17, 1970 in which Ellington talks about his stockpile of unreleased recording.

Next comes New Concerto For Cootie recorded on September 13, 1962. The day before Cootie Williams had rejoined the Ellington orchestra and recorded Ellington’s welcoming piece for him – Tutti For Cootie.

The broadcast then moves on to the February 1957 stockpile recording session, from which Busk let the listeners hear C-Jam Blues and In A Sentimental Mood with Paul Gonsalves soloing. He shares this role with Clark Terry in ”C Jam Blues”.

After this, Busk features in the program an Ellington’s medley of French songs recorded on February 27, 1962 – My Heart Sings, My Man and No Regrets.

The last two are Edit Piaf songs –  Mon Homme and No Je Ne Regret Rien – and the first one an early 1940’s song Ma Mie written by the team Henri Herpin and Jamblan and first recorded by Jean Sablon.

However, ”My Heart Sings” and ”No Regrets” included in the Midnight In Paris album are from the recording session June 26, 1962. (mer…)

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. (mer…)

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.

 

 

 

 

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