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Kurt Dietrich on Tricky Sam Nanton

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).

Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

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.

DESS Bulletin 2020-3

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…)

DR Duke Ellington Broadcasts (43)

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.

It is the fourth DESS “goodie” this month and is available in the ”Goodies” section of the website.

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!

 

DR Ellington Broadcasts (42)

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.

 

 

Smått och gott / Bits and pieces

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 LifetimeVery 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!

Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

The Ellington Effect

David Berger – composer, arranger, orchestra leader, lecturer, Ellington collaborator and foremost expert on the music of Duke Ellington – launched last month an ambitious and important initiativ to write a new, 5-part book series that will analyzes in depth the music of Ellington.

Read more about it here.

He is calling for support to make the project happen and the most important at the moment is to raise USD 25.000 to match a much larger grant. He is counting on the support of the Duke Ellington community. Give it before May 13!

Jimmie Blanton – again

In January, the website reported on the Blanton CD issued by Maison du Duke (https://ellington.se/2020/01/12/smatt-och-gott-i-januari-2020-1/).

We noticed then that two tunes from the Kraft Music Hall broadcasts were not included in the CD – Jive Rhapsody from Jan 16, 1941 and Flamingo from Oct. 9 1941 – and promised to make them available to DESS members and other visitors to the website.

Here they are.

Kraft Music Hall Jan. 16, 1941

Kraft Music Hall Oct 9, 1941

In the Goodies Room, DESS members can also listen to and download a segment with Pyramid, Pussy Willow and I’m Checking Out -Goom Bye from the broadcast from Club Caprice in the Coronado Hotel in St. Louis on Nov. 1 or 2, 1939.

DEMS and NDESOR give the date of the broadcast as Nov. 1 but the consensus today is that it is rather from Nov. 2.

There is an extensive summary of the di’sscussion of the dates for the broadcast and Blanton’s joining of the Ellington orchestra in the TDWAW website (http://tdwaw.ellingtonweb.ca/TDWAW.html#Yr1939). Go to the Nov 1 and Nov 2 entries.

Ellington Exhibition at Georgetown University

For the Ellington 2020 conference, Professor Anna Celenza had prepared an exhibition of Ellington items held in the Georgetown University Library’s Special Collections. To give as many as possible the opportunity to visit the exhibition, the library has posted a virtual version of the exhibition on their webpage. “If you click on the images, you can download high-resolution images of the various items”, she says in the email she circulated to everybody, who had registered for the conference.

https://www.library.georgetown.edu/exhibition/duke-ellington-stage-and-screen

Ellington Concert in Lebanon 1963

In mid April, there was an extensive discussion in the Duke-LYM mailing list about Ellington’s concert in Bagdad or Lebanon on Nov. 18, 19 or 20,. 1963  It was televised and possibly also filmed. The result is titled Le Roi du Jazz Americain Duke Ellington et Son Orchestre.

Lee Farley, the editor of the Duke Ellington Society of Southern California’s newsletter, wrote an article about the concert and the video in the 2011 Summer-Fall issue of the newsletter.

He has generously shared the article with the international Ellington community. On the DESS website, it is available here

The concert is available on YouTube.

NDESOR correction sheets

The complete set of correction sheets for NDESOR put together by Sjef Hoefsmit with contributions and help from many in the Ellington community is now available in the Ellington Archive of the DESS website.

Ellington ’90 in Ottawa

The 8th Ellington Study Group conference took place in Ottawa on May 17-20, 1990. It was the second one organized in Canada. The first one there was in Toronto in 1986 (5th).

Lois K. Moody was the general co-ordinator of the conference and she had an effective organizing committee at her side. Andrew Homzy was one of the members of the committee and responsible for the musical program of the conference.

The conference was well attended and it had the biggest number of participants at an Ellington conference so far.

The conference opened on May 18 following an evening reception on May 17. Ann Ledgister – co-ordinator of Ellington ’89 – passed the Eddie Lambert gavel to Lois Moody, who welcomed the participants and presented the members of the organizing committee.

Many stalwarts of the Ellington conferences were of course in Ottawa like Jerry Valburn, Sjef Hoefsmit, Jack Towers, Alice Babs, Patricia Willard and others. They gave presentations, led panels and shared generously their knowledge on Ellington.

 

But there was also those who were fairly new to the conferences. One of them was Lee  Farley, who flew in from Germany where he lived at that time.

“One feature of the conference I remember is how incredibly well organized it was. Everything occurred when it was supposed to, and no one seemed flustered about anything.

The conference orchestra was well rehearsed, well led (by Andrew Homzy) and well received. Their performance with the group of Ellington alumni and Kenny Burrell was a standout that was scheduled for a later national broadcast on CBC radio. I particularly remember Alice Babs in a duet with Kenny Burrell, although I don’t remember at which of the conference concerts that occurred.”

The musical program was no doubt a strong point of the conference. Andrew Homzy Jazz Orchestra from Montreal played two concerts – one in the evening of the first day and one as the last event of the conference. It regaled the audience with music from some Ellington suites, some more “pop” tunes , some seldom-heard Ellington and Sacred Concert music. Alice Babs shared the stage with the orchestra in both concerts and got an enthusiastic response to her performance.

The second night belonged to a small group of Ellingtonians – Harold Ashby, Wild Bill Davis, John Lamb, Butch Ballard – to which Kenny Burrell was added. It was apparently a concert “wild and wonderful”.

There were a total of 18 presentations and three panels.

Program (full version)

One group of the presentations was about key figures in the Ellington band like Sonny Greer, Ray Nance, Tricky Sam Nanton and Harry Carney. Another group shared memories of meetings with the Duke. A third group covered specific events in Ellington’s life like Ellington’s tour of Europe in 1939 or when he got on the cover of Time Magazine. A Tone Parallel to Harlem was subject of a very substantial presentation and A Drum Is A Woman was shown on the screen. There was also a set of presentation related to the work done to unveil and consolidate information about Ellington’s career and whereabouts.

The three panels were about the Ellington collection at the Smithsonian, the Sacred Music Concerts and playing in  the Ellington orchestra.

All this will be available on the DESS’ website in one form of the other during the next three weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellington DR Broadcasts (35)

The first ”goodie” in December is program 35 in the Duke Ellington series of broadcast by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. The broadcast is available in the “Goodies” section of the website.

The program was broadcasted on October 27, 1985 and presented by Jørgen Frigård.

He had decided to focus on selections from 1967.

The program starts with two selections from the stockpile session March 15, 1967. In the recording session they are simply called No. 1 and No. 3. Later they were issued as The Intimacy Of The Blues and Tell Me ‘Bout My Baby. The latter is listed as I Don’t Want Nobody But You in NDESOR

Unfortunately, it is not possible to say if Tell Me ‘Bout My Baby is take 3 or 4 since it is faded out in the broadcast before the end.

Then Frigård lets us hear the first of three selections from The Jaywalker recorded on April 4, 67. Frigård gives the title as WARR but in the discographies and on the Storyville Jaywalker CD it is called The Biggest (WARR).

Later in the program he features Ego and The Little Purple Flower from the same session.

The next stockpile session in the program is the one from June 23, 1967.

First we hear Swamp Goo. According to Benny Åslunds discographical notes on the DR Ellington Broadcasts, it is take 5 but it can also be take 6 issued on the Musicmasters 5041 CD. Then comes Girdle Hurdle and Blood Count. For some reason Frigård has inserted an excerpt of an interview with Harry Carney between the two songs.

The program ends with two more selections from June 23, 1967 – Up Jump (take 4) and Rue Bleu (take 2) – and My Little Brown Book from a RCA recording session on August 30, 1967.

 

Ellington interviewed in Sweden, England and Denmark

Ellington was frequently interviewed during his concert tours all over the world. The website has already published some of those interviews like the CBC one by Bryng Whittaker on September 2, 1964 (https://ellington.se/2016/09/09/duke-ellington-cbc-interview-september-2-1964) and the one by Willis Conover in 1973 (https://ellington.se/2017/05/23/conover-interviews-ellington-1973/).

Here are three more.

During his visit to Sweden in 1971, the TV producer Gunilla Marcus managed to get Ellington to sit down with her for a talk after the second concert in Uppsala.

In 1964, Ellington started his European tour in England where he stayed 16 days. According to the indispensable TDWAW (http://tdwaw.ca/), they arrived on 15 February, most likely in the morning. Later in the day trumpeter and band leader Humphrey Lyttleton and the Melody Maker jazz critic Max Jones interviewed Ellington for BBC.

In the interview Ellington talks about how he started his musical career in Washington D.C., how he went on to establish himself in New York (NYC) and about Billy Strayhorn’s arrival in his life.

It is an excerpt of a longer interview. If anyone of the readers of the web site has the longer one, please contact the DESS web editor.

The last interview is from Ellington’s visit to Copenhagen in 1958, when he was interviewed on the news program Aktuelt Kvarter by a Danish journalist on September 7, 1958.

Ellington politely answers the questions of the journalist who summaries the answers in Danish. At the end of the interview Ellington says that he could do without the analysts and just keep the listeners.

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