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Another theme of the Copenhagen conference was “Remembering Duke”, which allowed speakers to share the memories of Duke and experiences from working with him.
The first speaker on this theme was Leonard Feather, who of course had a lot to tell about his memories of Duke but also about himself.
Feather’s presentation also gave those, who has never heard Ellington sing, the opportunity to do so and also to hear Cootie Williams play trombone.
After his presentation, Feather called Clark Terry and Rolf Ericson onto stage to be interviewed about their times in the Ellington orchestra. It is a relaxed interview which gave the audience many laughs.
The presentation of the Ellington biographer Austin H. Lawrence on Ellington’s England 1933 tour also falls in the category of “remembering”.
At one point Luis Russell – the small big band leader – had told him that one of the most important things that happened to Duke was when he went to England. “He was a different man when he came back”, Russel said.
So for Lawrence “the trip to England helped Ellington grow” and this is the focus of his presentation.
The DESS members got the autumn issue of the Bulletin already in mid-August and have most likely read and digested by now.
For those that have not done so yet, here is a short summary of the content.
Rolf Ericson is the key feature in this issue.
Göran Wallén, who knew Ericson very well and had many talks with him over the years, has contributed a five-page detailed article about Ericson’s long and varied career in Sweden, USA and Germany from the 1930’s to 1990s. It gives a perspective much beyond “the Ellington trumpeter” and makes one hope that Göran will find time and enthusiasm to go deeper into Roffes years with Stan Kenton and his years in Germany in another article.
The article is supplemented by a reprint from the May 1994 issue of Orkesterjournalen of an interview that Martin Westin and Lars Westin did with Ericson at the time. It was originally published in Swedish but now it has been translated into English. The original article also appeared in the Bulletin 1999:3
The photo on the cover was shot in 1967 by Lars Westin in the small town of Kramfors.
The interview provides some further glimpses into Ericsons time with Ellington like the story on the 70th birthday party for Ellington in Paris. He also tells the two Westins about what happened when the Ellington band played at dances with a black audience.
“On such nights I almost cried because it was so good. It was the most fantastic thing I have ever experienced.”
Now one only has to hope that a recording of such a dance will surface.
The new issue also has an article by Bo Haufman on “Trumpet in Spades” – the concerto that Ellington wrote for Rex Stewart in 1937 – and three on new CDs with Ellington connections. In particular, don’t miss Anders Asplund’s review of vol. 25 in Storyville’s DETS series. It is full of valuable information.