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Alexandre Rado was a key component of the international community of Ellington experts until his too early death in 1997. He was a friend of many members of the Ellington band, a frequent presenter at Ellington conferences and a record producer of immense importance.
His first appearance at an Ellington conference was the Copenhagen ’92 one. The topic for his presentation was Ellingtonians in Paris.
Under this heading Rado gave the conference participants examples of records made by Ellingtonians when the Ellington orchestra visited Paris or during stays of their own in the city after 1974.
Particularly featured in the presentation are – as can be heard below – excerpts from recordings by Cat Anderson, Alice Babs, Buster Cooper, Paul Gonsalves and Sam Woodyard.
Cat Anderson was a special friend of Rado’s and his presentation at the Ellington ’94 conference was focussed on “The Cat”. It can be heard and seen here.
The first ”goodie” for November is program 19 in the Duke Ellington series broadcasted 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 May 31 1985.
It brings the listeners excerpts from two “stockpile” recording sessions – one on July 25, 1962 and the other on April 4, 1967. All the selections in the program was later issued in the “Private Sessions” series.
The program starts with three tunes from the 1967 session – “Eggo”, “Amta” and “Little Purple Flower” (aka “The F.L.”). Eggo is mistakenly announced as “KIXX” (aka “Traffic Jam” or “The Biggest”) but it was recorded just before “Eggo”.
The 1962 session is the Ellington Orchestra without the trumpet section and in the second part of the session also Johnny Hodges and Harry Carney are out.
This part of the DR broadcast is a gem for fans of Paul Gonsalves. He is the featured soloist in all the numbers. We get the opportunity to hear him demonstrate his skills in different tempi but in particular in slow ones.
First we hear him in a number called “No. 1” but known in discographies as “Blue Too”; then comes No. 2 – aka “Tune Up” which is followed by “Tigress” and “Telstar” (aka “Tigress”).
The broadcast ends with “Like Late” and three Ellington compositions – “Major”, “Minor” and “G” (aka “G” for Groove”).
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 Anderson 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.
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.
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. (more…)