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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 can not be found in NDESOR. Does someone of our visitors have more information?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
It might not be winter yet but the new issue of the DESS Bulletin was sent to its subscribers = the DESS members yesterday. As usual a lot of good reading thanks to the energetic work of Bo Haufman.
Elmer Snowden is the featured artist this time.
“Was he really an Ellingtonian,” asks Bo and gives an affirmative answer in a detailed and well-researched article. The focus is of course on Snowden’s collaboration with Duke Ellington but other aspects of Snowden’s career are also well covered.
Another article by Bo Haufman deals with Duke Ellington’s “occasional” vocalists i.e. the well-known 1920’s and 1930’s vocalists who Irving Mills paired with Ellington in recording sessions. Bo maps this group, gives short biographies and the songs recorded.
From Bo’s pen comes also an article about the Juan Tizol-Duke Ellington composition Congo Brava. NDESOR lists only two recordings of the song. Bo is puzzled by this and reflect on it in the article. He also quotes what Eddie Lambert and Gunther Schuller has written about it and refer the reader to an article by Lawrence Gushee in the Ellington Reader.
Mike Zirpolo’s contribution to the new Bulletin is an article about Morning Glory. It is a reprint from his website Swing & Beyond, where it was originally published in December last year. It was among the songs recorded by Ellington on his first session for Victor in 1940. He is credited as the composer but it is apparently Rex Stewart who composed it. The article tells the story of how the rights got into Ellington’s hands.
Another find by Bo for reprint in the Bulletin is the part about Ellington in the diary Spike Hughes kept during his visit to New York in1933. It paints an interesting picture not so much of Ellington as of Hughes.
In addition to these articles, the new Bulletin reports from the DESS meeting on 16 September and reviews of Jack Chambers new book Sweet Thunder – Duke Ellington’s Music in Nine Themes as well as Storyville’s CD with Ellington’s concert in Uppsala in 1971. It also has the program of the upcoming Ellington conference in Washington D.C. in March next year.
New issue of Blue Light
With the 2019 Summer of Blue Light, the magazine enters into a new era. Dr. Patrick Olsen has taken over as editor and change seems to be his key word. “Future issues of Blue Light will be full of new voices and contribute more to mapping Ellington across Britain in our current time” he says in his editorial column. Change is also marked by a new layout, which makes it easier for old eyes to read the magazine.
Change is also the theme of the major article of the new issue. It is written by Roger Boyes and over more than 13 pages he traces the changes in the Ellington Orchestra during the Petrillo recording ban period in 1942. A must read for all of us interested in Ellington!
New Ellington CD from Maison du Duke
According to the latest newsletter of Maison du Duke, in November it will issue a new CD in its Ellington series. It will be the 12th one and it is a Jimmie Blanton Special made up of “live” recordings, and often rare from Duke Ellington’s orchestra in 1940 and 1941.
Claude Carrière will talk about the new CD on Sunday 17 November at Reid Hall, 4 rue de Chevreuse, Paris (6th) at 4.30 pm.
Like the previous ones, the new CD will be available only to members of Maison du Duke, which also have to pay 5 euros for the postage.
Playboy Jazz Festival 1959
Brian Koller, the relentless Ellington on YouTube ‘watchman’ has recently drawn the attention of Ellington aficionados and fans – thank you Brian – to two Playbox Jazz Festival 1959 videos featuring Duke Ellington and his orchestra. The first one is a 7 minutes video titled The Greatest Three Days in Jazz, which features Ellington opening the festival and gives some facts about it. In the video one hears Ellington playing V.I.P Boogie on the first night of the festival – August 7, 1959 – and Satin Doll on the afternoon of August 8.
The second video is one called This Is Jazz and put on YouTube by Old Time Radio. It is one of 26 half-hour segments that AFRS recorded from the festival and features Ellington’s performance on the night of August 8.. Jimmy Rushing is key part of it He sings Goin’ To Chicago, Hello Little Boy and Sent For You Yesterday and Paul Gonsalves contributes and a very R&B mood. However, the segment ends with pure Ellington – Things Ain’t What They Used To Be, El Gato and Hand Me Down Love.
New Ellington Books (2)
The American writer and jazz columist Con Chapman has written a biography about Johnny Hodges. The title is Rabbit’s Blues – The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges.
It is not entirely clear if it has been published yet. According to the website of the publisher – Oxford University Press – the book will be published Nov. 1 but both new and used copies of it are available at amazon.com. The price for a hardcopy is 27,95 USD. It is also available as an e-book (Kindle) for 14 USD less. However, the book is currently not available on the European Amazon websites.
The web editor has taken advantage of the e-book offer and has read it this week.
It gives a very complete story of the life and career of Johnny Hodges. The book takes the reader the from Hodges’ birth to his death with almost overwhelming details. His references and footnotes indicates that he has read everything that has already been written about Hodges and used it to a very comprehensive book.
The website will not review the book in detail but recommend its vistors to read the excellent review, which former Blue Light editor Ian Bradly published on his website a couple of days ago. The url is http://villesville.blogspot.com/.
The 26th Duke Ellington Study Group Conference will take place in Washington D.C. at Georgetown University on March 11-15 next year. The organiser of the conference is Professor Anna Celenza, who holds the Thomas E. Caestecker Chair in Music at Georgetown University and had written extensively about Duke Ellington.
With this it is obvious that academic musicologists have taken over the relay as regards Ellington conferences. Out of the last three only one – New York 2016 – has been organised by a Duke Ellington Society or equivalent.
The web editor spoke to Dr. Matthias Heyman about this at the 2018 Ellington Conference in Birmingham. He had just before the conference obtained a PhD of Arts at the University of Antwerp in 2018 with his doctorial thesis on Jimmy Blanton.
The theme for the 2020 conference is Mapping Duke Ellington’s World.
This theme is broadly conceived by the organizers and can include presentations and performances on a range of topics including Ellington’s travels/tours, Ellington’s collaborators, Ellington collections/archives around the world, transcription as a form of musical mapping, musical landscapes in Ellington’s works, mapping the Ellington imagination, Ellington and film, Ellington iconography, and the reception history of Ellington’s works/performances”.
The deadline for proposing papers was August 15 but possibly proposals can still be submitted.
In addition to presentations of academic papers, panels and roundtables there will be cultural walks and visits in Washington D.C. as well as a program of performances by local Washington DC performers.
Keynote speakers will be
Professor Thomas Brothers, Duke University who has published books on Louis Armstrong as well as Duke Ellington
Dr. John E. Hasse, Curator Emeritus at Smithsonian and author of Beyond Categories: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington and many other books.
Professor Tammy Kernodle, Society of American Music
The conference will open with a concert at the classical jazz club Blues Alley in Georgetown.
A website – http://www.ellington2020.org – is already in place. There one can find more information about the conference and buy conference tickets, book hotel and more.
A ticket to the five-day conference is 75 USD for those retired and 100 USD for younger participants. The prices are valid until Dec. 15
Ellington’s Sacred Concerts
The Jazz History Online blog (https://jazzhistoryonline.com), with Thomas Cunniffe as editor, published a very extensive article on Ellington’s Sacred Concerts before the summer. It is highly recommended for everyone interested in the concerts.
Cunniff writes about how each concert developed and about the main songs in each of them. It is richly illustrated by photos and video clips (including some provided by DESS from the Second Sacred Consert in the Gustaf Vasa Cathedral
The article can be read at https://jazzhistoryonline.com/duke-ellingtons-sacred-concerts.
New pods at Ellington Reflections
The website Ellington Reflections (https://ellingtonreflections.com/) continues tirelessly to produce podcasts on different topics related to Ellington. During the summer it has published five new ones.
Portrait of Lawrence Brown 1 and 2 (July 21 and August 4 2019)
The Treasury Shows 4 (July 7 2019)
Old Wine and New Bottles (June 16 2019)
Portrait of Otto Hardwicke (June 2 2019