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Ellington ’89 in Washington D.C. (6)

In their conference folders, the participants in Ellington ’89 found an invitation to a very special event.

The Washington jazz broadcaster and Ellington aficionado Felix Grant had spent a lot of time and energy to find Ellington’s birthplace in Washington D.C. Once he had found it, he lobbied hard the U.S. Congress and local authorities to have a memorial plaque installed on the site.

Finally, he got what he had strived for and on the last day of the conference, the plaque was unveiled.

Despite some cancellations, the conference participants could also enjoy presentations and music during the last day of the conference.

The first speaker of the day was Dr. Jerome  Sashen, who provided a ”Psychoanalysis of Ellington’s Music”.

In the afternoon, Sjef Hoefsmit did a presentation on ”Ellington’s Train” A soundfile of the presentation was included in the first article on the conference. Here is the video version.

He was followed by Don Miller, President of the Chicago Chapter of the Duke Ellington Society and one of the instagators of the Ellington conferences. He gave a brief presentation on what was available at that time of Ellington’s music on CD. He had found that some 75 CDs of this kind had been issued at the time!

The Danish jazz researcher and jazz critic Erik Wiedeman was the last speaker at the conference. His topic was ”Ellington in Denmark” and the presentation included a lot of musical examples.

Part of the afternoon was also a concert – ”Program of Ellington’s Music” – with Ronnie Wells and her students from the University of Maryland.

The DESS member Peter Lee was the only Swedish participant at the conference. Also Alice Babs and her husband Nils were there but they were considered as Spanish.

Peter remembers that he thought that the organization of the conference could have been better since almost a quater of the scheduled speakers never appeared. But there were a lot of good things and Peter remembers particularily

  1. The day at the Smithsonian. Besides the presentations, he was happy to be able to see the documentation on Ellington’s Honorary Membership of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music.
  2. Among the presentations, Peter rembers the one by Sjef Hoefsmit’s on ”Ellington´s Trains” as the best. ”It was very well structed and very thourough”, he says.
  3. The unveiling of the Memorial Plaque on the site where Ellington was also ”quite special” and so was the ”lunch afterwards with only me and Alice Babs. She wanted to have the opportunity to speak some Swedish”.
  4. The big band concert with Jimmy Hamilton and Herb Jeffries.

The full text of Peter’s comments in Swedish is in the Washington 1989 part of the Ellington Archive.

This is the last article in the Ellington ’89 series. The DESS website likes to thank in particular Ted Hudson and Peter Lee for help with photos and Ted and Bob Reny for help with contacts in Washington D.C.

 

 

 

DESS-mötet den 12 feb. 2018

Här kommer en kort rapport från mötet baserad på uppgifter från några av deltagarna och med foton tagna av Bo Haufman och Sonja Svensson. Sonja har också bidragit med en video.

Årsmötet var snabbt avklarat under Håkan Skytts och Lars Björkmans säkra ledning. Anders Asplund, Lars Björkman och Göran Wallén valdes om till styrelsen för en period av 2 år och Leif Jönsson, Claes Brodda, Bo Haufman, och Peter Lee har ytterligare ett år kvar på sina mandat.

Sedan var det dags för kvällens föredragshållare Peter Lee – styrelseledamot i DESS, golfentusiast och mycket annat. Han talade om Wynton Marsalis, hans Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra och deras insatser för att hålla lågan efter Duke Ellington vid liv. Ett formidabelt och intressant föredrag enligt de närvarande!

Efter pausen bjöd DESS de närvarande på  ”superb musik” exekverad av två av Sveriges förnämsta musiker, Fredrik Lindborg  (barytonsax, sopransax och basklarinett) och Martin Sjöstedt (piano/bas), berättar DESS’ ordförande, Leif Jönsson, för webbplatsen.

Publiken fick sig till livs ett rent Ellingtonprogram med bl.a. Sunset and Mockingbird, In a Mellowtone,, Rubber Bottom, Blues in Blueprint och I’ve Got It Bad.

Att höra Fredrik Lindborg på ett så sällan hört instrument som basklarinett var en upplevelse”, säger Leif Jönsson.

Den använde Lindborg bl.a. i kvällens avslutningsnummer, Mood Indigo, som han anser tillhör ”världens vackraste musik”. Martin Sjöstedt ackompanjerade honom lyhört på sin bas.

Duon skiftade flitigt mellan sina olika instrument för att ge publiken prov på olika klanger i sina tolkningar.

Thomas Harne berättar mer om musiken och om kvällen i övrigt i nästa nummer av Bulletinen.

Tyvärr var publik fåtalig också den här gången.

Så en huvudpunkt på nästa möte den 7 maj blir en diskussion om DESS’ mötesverksamhet och hur få fler besökare på mötena, avslutar Leif Jönsson vår korta intervju av honom.

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