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Ellington In Stockholm 1965 (1)

Ellington’s 1965 European tour lasted from January 25 to February 28. It started in France where Duke and the orchestra performed in Paris, and Lyon. They then went north, first to Copenhagen (Denmark) and then to Sweden for concerts in Lund, Malmö and Stockholm. After stops in Germany and Switzerland, the tour ended with two weeks of concerts (and a telecast) in England from February 13 to February 28

Ellington’s concerts in Stockholm took place on February 2 and the venue was Konserthuset (Stockholm Concert Hall).

Photo and copyright: Roland Sterner

The two concerts – one at 7 pm and one at 9pm – were well attended but the critics were rather negativ.

Orkesterjounalen’s Bertil Sundin seems to have had his opinion formed already before the concerts started. ”One can not expect that this group of older gentlemen will sound particularly inspired and in Stockholm on February 2 they didn’t ” he wrote. Sundin only had positiv comments  on Johnny Hodge’s performance of ”Come Sunday” and Paul Gonsalves’ of Chelsea Bridge. However, Leif Andersson reviewing the Ellington concerts in Copenhagen, Lund and Malmö also in Orkesterjournalen was much more positiv.

The two reviews are available in the Ellington Archive

One of the concerts were broadcasted by Swedish Radio, most likely the second one, and DESS members can listen to it and download it in the Goodies Room. Here is a short excerpt from the broadcast.

The Opener


The Emergence of the Wailing Interval

Duke Ellington wrote and recorded Diminuendo In Blue and Crescendo In Blue in 1937. The recording made on 20 Sept. that year was a swinging and bluesy performance, covering both sides of a 78 rpm record.

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For some eight years after that, this composition remained conspicuously absent from the Ellington discographies, although it surely must have been played now and then during the orchestra’s seemingly endless touring schemes.

As a matter of fact, Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra took part in a now famous event in New York in 1938, the ”Carnival of Swing” outdoor festival at Randall’s Island where their performance of  Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue, according to contemporary accounts, generated a ”riotous reaction”. Unfortunately no recording of this specific event seems to have survived.

In 1945, however, it was brought back into the band book again. The obvious success at Randall’s Island, probably gave Ellington the encouragement to experiment a little with the composition, and he now tries various ideas on how to bridge the two main parts through an independent, but suitable tune. (mer…)

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