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Ellington at Circus in 1966 – rehearsal

On September 15, 2016, we published an article by Jan Bruér with his recollections of the rehearsal for Ellington’s telecast from Circus in Stockholm on February 8, 1966. In his article, Jan says that during the rehearsal, the director of the telecast, Lars Egler, announced that Ellington was going to record a piano solo and asked for silence. He remembers that Duke played ”a wonderful solo version of Serenade To Sweden and also did a retake of it.”

Actually, Ellington recorded three songs in front of the TV cameras – in addition to Serenade To Sweden also Looking Glass and The Queen’s Gard. Together with footage from the beginning of the rehearsal, they were included in a 23 minutes telecast that was aired on Swedish Television on March 19, 1966 – the day before the broadcast of the concert itself. The TV-program is not availabe to DESS but it is archived at the Swedish National Library in Stockholm.

However, DESS members can listen to and download the full soundtrack in the ”Goodies of the Month” section of the website. Here is a sample:

Serenade to Sweden



New Ellington issues from Storyville

Storyville has just released volume 23 in its Treasury Shows series. Now only two more issues remain until the series is complete.

It picks up where volume 22 ended, i.e. with a broadcast from Meadowbrook Garden Café but this time it is from August 24, 1946. Actually, Ellington did two broadcasts from Meadowbrook Garden Café on this date – the one for ABC on CD 1 of the album and another for MBS later in the day.

After his long engagement at Meadowbrook Garden Café August 9-25, 1946 had ended, Ellington moved on to Los Angeles. The second broadcast in volume 23 (on CD 2) is one from Lincoln Theatre in Los Angeles on August 31, 1946.

A month later, Duke was back in New York for a month-long engagement at the Aquarium Restaurant. It is from here that the third ”Your Saturday Date With The Duke” broadcast in volume 23 emanates. The date is October 5, 1946.

The bonus broadcast in volume 23 is another one from the Hurricane Restaurant – this time from August 26, 1943.

The details of the broadcast can be found at the Storyville website and of course in NDESOR.

Storyville has also issued a CD called ”An Intimate Piano Session” with music from the ”stockpile” recording in New York on August 25, 1972.

On this occasion, Ellington sat down with only his two singers at the time – Anita Moore and Tony Watkins – to record a number of songs not featured very often. At least one version of all the songs recorded except one is included in the CD.  In additon, the CD has four tracks recorded at the end of the Rotterdam concert in 1969 when Duke sat down with Wild Bill Davis, Victor Gaskin and Ruus Jones to give the audience some extras.

Details are available at the Storyville website.

Danish Radio Ellington Broadcasts – Program 14

The 14th Ellington program broadcasted by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s based on the Mercer Ellington donation is the third ”Goodie” for the month of March.

As usual, it is available in the ”Goodies of the Month” section of the DESS Lobby (DESS-rummet).

It was broadcasted on March 1, 1985 and this time the program presenter is Erik Wiedeman.

The broadcast starts with three songs recorded at a stockpile session in Las Vegas on January 7, 1970 by a small group drawn from the band. Duke and the band had had a two-week engagement at Caesar’s Palace over the Christmas and New Year seasons and was on the way to the Far East for a six-week long tour.

The three songs – Tippying-toeing Through The Jungle, The Kissing Mist and Rocochet (aka Noon Mooning) – are all credited to Ellington but at least Tippytoeing Through The Jungle smacks a lot of Wild Bill Davis. Paul Gonsalves solos on all three, Lawrence Brown on the first two and Willie Cook on the first one. The Kissing Mist is one of the two songs from the session that has not been issued on LP or CD so far.

The broadcast then continues with excerpts from another stockpile session almost one and a half year later or on June 28, 1971 – this time with the full orchestra. The broadcast brings us early versions of two of the movements of what was later to be known as Togo Brava Suite – Mkis (aka Soul Soothing Beach) and Yogo (aka Naturellement) – together with Tego which Ellington considered to be part of the Afro-Eurasian Eclipse suite.

It ends with two songs – In A Mellotone and Happy Reunion – from the intimate session on June 24, 1958 in Chicago when Duke sat down with Paul Gonsalves to give him ample space to show his talents. Jimmy Woode and Sam Woodyard form the rest of the rhythm section. The session is the first known performance of Happy Reunion.

Blue Light Spring 2015

The first issue of DESUK’s Blue Light in 2015 is now available to DESS members in the Ellington Archive. It is added to the issues of Blue Light 2011-2014 already there and more 2015 issues will be added during the year.

As always when it comes to Blue Light, there is a lot of good reading.

The main feature of the issue is Jack Chambers’ very solid and detailed 10 pages article on Ellington’s Stockpile recordings. It includes a discography of the recordings published so far on CD.

In addition, DESS and DESUK member David Palmquist shares one of his many findings in his research on Duke’s where and when. This time is is the Ellington Orchestra’s appearance at the first annual Fiestaval in Emporia, Kansas on May 9, 1940.

In another article, Blue Light editor Ian Bradley reports on a tape that surfaced on eBay of the first set of Ellington’s appearance at the Chaote School in Willingford, Connecticut on January 23, 1968.

In addition to these three articles, there are all the usual regular features like the record reviews and reports on DESUK work and activities.



Interpreting Ellington 2

From Calloway to Mulligan

   Charlie Barnet            Boyd Raeburn           Gerry Mulligan

Bildresultat för Charlie BarnetBildresultat för Boyd Raeburn

Jimmie Lunceford

    Count Basie               Cab Calloway        Jimmie Lunceford

Black Beauty

Nobody really knows how many songs Duke Ellington wrote during his long career as a song writer, and many of them were only performed by himself or his orchestra. Quite a  few, however, became ever-greens and many others were appreciated as jazz standards which were favoured by other orchestras.

Charlie Barnet was probably the one band-leader that had the largest number of Ellington’s compositions in his book and he also was a good friend of Duke’s. He didn’t try to copy Duke’s arrangements, instead he made his own typical interpretation of his songs. Above, you can click to listen to his recording of Black Beauty, an early Ellington composition, played by one of Charlie Barnet’s last bands from 1967. In the Goodies Room you’ll find more music by other bands. (mer…)

DESS Bulletin 2015-1

Since two years has passed since its publication, the first issue of the DESS Bulletin in 2015 is now available in pdf-format to anyone interested in Duke Ellington and his music – DESS member or not. It can be downloaded from the Bulletin section of the DESS website http://www.ellington.se.

The cover feature in this issue is Freddy (Freddie) Jenkins.


In an five-page article about this Ellington trumpeter in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Bo Haufman gives the reader a detailed account of his life and career. The article includes some nice photos of the Ellington orchestra from early 1930s.

Other things to read is an article by Bo Scherman about Cootie Williams’ European tour in 1959 complete with a discography of all the music from the tour, which has been issued and another one is Fred Glueckstein’s about Ruth Ellington.

In his series ”Other Duke’s Places”, Claes Englund writes in this issue of the Bulletin about Nat Hentoff’s perspective on Ellington and Bo Haufman contributes also an article about Accordion Joe.

Friends of comic strips can also enjoy a three page one about Ellington published in 1948.

Thank you to Göran Axelsson for having scanned the issue and provided a short summary of its content.

Smått och Gott / Bits and Pieces

This time the topics of ”Bits and Pieces” are the DESS-meeting last Monday, an interview with Alice Babs in Musiktidningen in 1975 about her and Ellington and some more on Ellington’s apperance at the Grinnel College Jan. 10, 1957.

DESS-mötet den 13 feb. 2017

Det var en trevlig och ganska välbesökt tillställning. Årsmötet med styrelseval och annat som hör till klarades av snabbt. Anders Asplunds filmvisning bjöd på Count Basie, Woody Hermann och – naturligtvis – Ellington. Konserten med duon Mårten Lundgren och Kjell Fernström blev mycket uppskattad. En längre rapport med bilder finns i avdelningen DESS-möten. Där finns också information om nästa möte som äger rum den 27 april.

Jan Falk hedersmedlem

Vid årsmötet meddelades att styrelsen utsett DESS’ tidigare ordförande Jan Falk till hedersmedlem i Sällskapet. Han var ordförande från september 2005 till början av 2011 då han avgick på egen begäran.


Alice Babs och Ellington i Musiktidningen 1974

Musiktidningen var ett av dessa djärva initiativ utan vilken världen skulle vara mycket fattigare. Initiativtagaren var DESS-medlemmen Torgil Rosenberg och det första numret kom ut 1973. Med hårt arbete och stora personliga uppoffringar lyckade han hålla tidningen gående till 1978 till stor glädje för många svenska musikälskare, webbredaktören inkluderad.

”Musiktidningen kostade mig mitt hus men jag ångrar det inte. Det gav mängder med lärdom och möten med personligheter (André Previn, Nelson Riddle, Sixten Ehrling, André Kostelanetz, Eubie Blake, Earl Hines, Lena Horne m fl)” sade Torgil nyligen när vi intervjuade honom.

I samband med Ellington’s bortgång bad tidningen Ragnvi Gylder att göra en intervju med Alice om hennes samarbete med Duke ackompanjerat med bra bilder. Tack Torkels generositet finns artikeln nu i Ellington-arkivet men kan också läsas direkt via den här länken.

Omslaget var naturligtvis en bild på Ellington tagen av den berömde fotografen Gai Terrell.


More about Grinnell

The ”goodie” in January with Ellington’s concert at the Grinnell College January 10, 1957 has been much appreciated. For those, who would like to learn more about this appearance and about the record, we recommend the Villes Ville blog run by Blue Light editor Ian Bradley. In 2014 he published there an article about the event and the LP. It has several photos and one of them is this one (published with the permission of Ian).


The address to the blog article is http://villesville.blogspot.fr/2014/01/grinnell-and-bear-it.html

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