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Meadowbrook, Cedar Grove, June 1951


Willie Smith and Harold Baker are soloing in Sophisticated Lady

To complete our series of broadcasts from the Meadowbrook in New Jersey, we can now present to the DESS members, in the Goodies Room, the final recording from this venue. For this event, discographies do not specify the exact date, only June 1951. According to the New DESOR, it was once issued on VOA POD-41/POD-42, but the exact circumstances are not known. VOA stands for Voice Of America, so this music was probably sent over its own network.

Like all previous recordings from Meadowbrook in June 1951, this one also comes from an MBS broadcast. The following numbers were played:

All Day Long*Sophisticated Lady*The Hawk Talks*Midriff*Just A-Sittin’ And A-Rockin’*Caravan (mer…)

Meadowbrook, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, June 11, 1951


Pompton Turnpike

VIP’s Boogie

This article covers the MBS “Coast To Coast” broadcast with Ellington and his orchestra from Meadowbrook on June 11, 1951. The full broadcast is available to DESS members in the Goodies Room.

Announcing the broadcast, the presenter says that it comes “to you from Frank Dailey’s Meadowbrook here on Route 23, the newest Pompton Turnpike in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, just a short fifteen miles from New York City”.

The Newark-Pompton Turnpike was a roadway in northern New Jersey that was originally a tolled turnpike. The roadway was first laid out in the mid-18th century and given its name in 1806. As originally designed, it connected Newark with the area north and west of the Pompton River in what is now Riverdale.

The songwriters (and bandleaders) Will Osborne and Dick Rogers wrote a song – Pompton Turnpike – in 1940. It is a strong plug for Meadowbrook. The lyrics says “Pompton Turnpike leads you / To a place not far from Broadway / Still it’s on a farm. / You dine with lights subdued / The music interlude puts you right in the mood.”

Charlie Barnet recorded the song in an instrumental version on July 19, 1940 and Louis Jordan followed suite with a vocal version on September 30.

In the broadcast, Ellington features the following songs:  Take The A Train & intro*VIP’s Boogie*Jam With Sam*Don’t Get Around Much Anymore*Sultry Serenade*Duet*Love You Madly*The Hawk Talks*The Happening*Gotta Go (mer…)

God Jul & Merry Christmas

I DESS-rummet finns det en tillfällig avdelning som heter ”Julklapp / Christmas Gift”. Där hittar man alla ”godbitar”,  som gjorts tillgängliga till DESS’ medlemmar sedan starten av webbplatsen plus en ny med speciell anknytning till Sverige. Avdelningen finns på plats fram tills nyår!

In the DESS Lobby , there is a new temporary section called ”Julklapp / Christmas Gift”. There you will find all the ”goodies”, which have been made available to the members of DESS since the launch of the website. In case you have missed one of them, this is the opportunity for you to download it. The section is there only for one week, It also contains one new ”goodie” with a Swedish flavour.

We wish you all God Jul & Merry Christmas!!

Ulf & Anders

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Meadowbrook, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, June 10, 1951

Frank Dailey & Duke Ellington


The Eighth Veil

Back in Frank Dailey’s Meadowbrook Ballroom  it is now June 10 in 1951. The programme offered to our members this time is the sixth in our series and comes from an MBS broadcast. Three of the seven numbers that we present have been issued on records, but on difficult-to-get labels like VOA and Swing Treasury.

The broadcast starts with a very nice rendition of Warm Valley, by Paul Gonslaves. This tune had hitherto mainly been connected with Johnny Hodges fine alto sax playing, but in his absence it was taken over by Paul, who plays it beautifully. Next Al Hibbler faces a similar challenge singing Flamingo,  which was one of Herb Jeffries’ hits back in December 1941.  Hibbler is not doing so badly either, and the arrangement seems to be the same as the original, which was written by Billy Strayhorn. Tea For Two became a solo-piece for Willie Smith during his reletively short stay with the band, and here he shows what an outstandig alto sax player he was.

Eighth Veil, with a trumpet solo by Cat Anderson is next. Not so much ”pyro-technics” by Cat this time, he could also play very well in the lower and medium registers, which he proves here, and one feels that due to his role in the orchestra, he might have been somewhat under-rated in comparison with other trumpet players. Eight Veil, jointly credited ro Ellington and Strayhorn, has an interesting background in that it is derived from another tune called Out Of This World  by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer.

Listen to Ray Nance in the next number! He plays a very  unusual trumpet solo in Blue Lou, a Chick Webb hit, composed by Edgar Sampson. The broadcast ends with Creole Love Call, which Duke himself tells us he remembers from when he was 5 yers old!








Meadowbrook, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, June 8, 1951


Brown Betty Duke Ellington’s broadcast from the Meadowbrook on June 8, 1951 is now available for downloading for the DESS members. Click on the arrow above and listen to a fine sample from this broadcast. You’ll find the complete broadcast in the Goodies Room. The whole band really sounds great on these old recordings, one fine example being some splendid trumpet playing on Brown Betty by Nelson ”Cadillac” Williams. This was his feature number with the band at this time and it is a performance that sticks in people’s memory. It was written by Billy Strayhorn originally with Johnny Hodges as the main soloist. Harry Carney’s powerful interpretation of the bridge is also memorable. (mer…)

Danish Radio Ellington Broadcasts – Program 9

The 9th Ellington program broadcasted by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s is the first ”Goodie” for  the month of October. As usual, it is available in the ”Goodies of the Month” section of the DESS Lobby (DESS-rummet).


It was broadcasted on January 25, 1985 and the program is presented by Bjarne Busk.

It starts with a groovy tune called REXT, which showcases Paul Gonsalves. It was recorded in the stockpile session of  April 25 1970, which also produced the New Orleans Suite. According to NDESOR, this session is the only occasion when Ellington  played it

It is followed by Guitar Amour from October 25, 1961. It is the trumpet version of the song with a short solo by Ray Nance.

Next comes three excerpts from the BBC telecast on February 20, 1964 – Take The ”A” Train (theme), Perdido and a full version of Take The ”A” Train (with Ernie Shepheard scat singing). The concerns of the sound technician about the recording of Perdido can be heard.

Bjarne Busk then moves on to a summary version of the Afro Bossa album. It is appropriately called Afro Bossa Piano Summation. Ellington plays short versions of the songs of the LP together with Ernie Shepherd and Sam Woodyard. In my view, it is one of the gems of the program. It was recorded on January 8, 1963 – three days after the full orchestra recordings for Afro Bossa were finished.

Another gem follows. It is Short Sheet Cluster from January 18, 1956 – a stockpile recording session – with Clark Terry at the center. Busk let us listen to four takes to get a sense of how things were built up towards final version, which will be heard in program 10 of the series.

The program ends with Cat Anderson in splendid form playing The Prowling Cat from March 31, 1965 and TAJM (For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow) from July 18, 1963. It gives solo opportunities to in particular Harry Carnet, Lawrence Brown and Ray Nance but also Cootie Williams and Johnny Hodges can be heard.

Danish Radio Ellington Broadcasts – Program 8

The 8th Ellington program broadcasted by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s is the fourth ”Goodie” for  the month of September. As the others, it is available in the ”Goodies of the Month” section of the DESS Lobby (DESS-rummet).


It was broadcasted on January 18, 1985 and Bjarne Busk is the presenter.

A special feature of the broadcast is that segments of an interview with the Jimmy Lunceford arranger and the initiator of the Ben Webster Foundation, Billy Moore, are integrated in the program.

The program includes several stockpile recordings, some of which are not available on LP or CD.

The program starts with a stockpile recording of a rather unknown song – Elysée. Then follows some comments by Billy Moore on Ellington as composer and a snapshot of C Jam Blues with more Moore comments.

Next is an instrumental version of Strange Feeling from August 20, 1963 and the rocky ”There’s A Place” recorded on February 17, 1971. I wonder if Wild Bill Davis did not have a hand in ”There’s A Place?

After more comments by Billy Moore on Ellington as composer, the program turns to ”The River Suite” and let us listen to a take of respectively ”The Meander” and ”The River” from March 9, 1972. I hope that we will hear more from the ”River Suite” in later programs.

Comments by Billy Moore on Ellington as a piano player lead into an excerpt of of ”A Blue Mural From Two Perspectives” – the Billy Strayhorn composition from 1965, which apparently Ellington played quite often late in life.

The program ends with first another example of Ellington as pianist – the only recording of the rather unknown Cordon Blue from September 13, 1962 – and then a nice example of Ray Nance’s trumpet playing – ”Do Not Disturb” (aka Le Sucrier Velours) recorded on January 3, 1956.

In the Ellington Archive, there are a couple of documents with more information on the Danish Radio Ellington broadcasts, including a discography of the Danish Radio Ellington programs, which so far have been made available to DESS members on the website.



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