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Alexandre Rado on Ellingtonians in Paris

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.


Phil Schaap on 6 Ellington Sidemen

Phil Schaap was a frequent contributor to the Ellington conferences.

We have already published his presentations at the Stockholm ’94 conference and here is the one he gave in Copenhagen in 1992.

The topic for Schaap’s presentation was “After Duke: Six Ellington Sidement in Their Years After Leaving The Band”.

The six sidemen selected for the presentation had left the Ellington orchestra in different decades and covers together the full lifespan of the band.

The sidement are Louis Metcalfe (1920’s), Freddie Jenkins (1930’s), Al Sears (1940’s), Francis Williams (1950’s), Sam Woodyard (1960’s) and Russell Procope (1970’s).

Schaap had interviewed them at one point or the other and use selections from the interviews in his presentation.


Oldham 1988 (5)

One of the most emotional events at the Ellington ’88 conference was when Sam Woodyard was presented with a complete new drumset to replace the one that had been stolen from him in Paris.

It all begun at the start of the third day of the conference.



Woodyard did good use of his gift at the gala concert that ended the day.

In the concert, Bob Wilber and The Ellingtonian ’88 Orchestra presented a program of extended works by Ellington.

Here is the first part of the concert. It starts with a longer version of Daybreak Express using the scores from the Cotton Club movie. Then follows Creole Rhapsody transcribed by Brian Priestly and Idiom ’59.

Next a smaller group of the orchestra – The Rugcutters – plays a selection of small band Ellingtonia before the full orchestra is back to give the audience Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue.

The second part of the concert will be published in September.



Bob Wilber was not only the musical director of the Ellington ’88 and leader of The Ellington ’88 Orchestra but also one of the presenters. In the first session of the third day of the conference, he presented his perception of Johnny Hodges of which he was a great fan. Wilber writes a lot about him in his autobiography “Music was not enough”


Fler foton från Cirkus 1966

Den här gången är det DESS’ ordförande Leif Jönsson som står för dem.

“Det var den 8 februari 1966. Jag kom till Cirkus vid lunchtid och hittade en liten sidodörr genom vilken jag kom in i byggnaden. I en axelväska hade jag med mig kamerautrustning, framför all min Minolta SR-7 med blixtaggregat.

I ett omklädningsrum bakom scenen uppehöll sig alla musikerna samt några utomstående. Duke syntes dock inte till där och inte heller Ella. Jag förenade mig med dem och packade upp mina kameragrejor.

Stämningen var tidvis uppsluppen och det var lätt att få kontakt.”

Så Leif började klicka på sin kamera och ingen protesterade, säger han.


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