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The Ellington Effect
David Berger – composer, arranger, orchestra leader, lecturer, Ellington collaborator and foremost expert on the music of Duke Ellington – launched last month an ambitious and important initiativ to write a new, 5-part book series that will analyzes in depth the music of Ellington.
He is calling for support to make the project happen and the most important at the moment is to raise USD 25.000 to match a much larger grant. He is counting on the support of the Duke Ellington community. Give it before May 13!
Jimmie Blanton – again
In January, the website reported on the Blanton CD issued by Maison du Duke (https://ellington.se/2020/01/12/smatt-och-gott-i-januari-2020-1/).
We noticed then that two tunes from the Kraft Music Hall broadcasts were not included in the CD – Jive Rhapsody from Jan 16, 1941 and Flamingo from Oct. 9 1941 – and promised to make them available to DESS members and other visitors to the website.
Here they are.
In the Goodies Room, DESS members can also listen to and download a segment with Pyramid, Pussy Willow and I’m Checking Out -Goom Bye from the broadcast from Club Caprice in the Coronado Hotel in St. Louis on Nov. 1 or 2, 1939.
DEMS and NDESOR give the date of the broadcast as Nov. 1 but the consensus today is that it is rather from Nov. 2.
There is an extensive summary of the di’sscussion of the dates for the broadcast and Blanton’s joining of the Ellington orchestra in the TDWAW website (http://tdwaw.ellingtonweb.ca/TDWAW.html#Yr1939). Go to the Nov 1 and Nov 2 entries.
Ellington Exhibition at Georgetown University
For the Ellington 2020 conference, Professor Anna Celenza had prepared an exhibition of Ellington items held in the Georgetown University Library’s Special Collections. To give as many as possible the opportunity to visit the exhibition, the library has posted a virtual version of the exhibition on their webpage. “If you click on the images, you can download high-resolution images of the various items”, she says in the email she circulated to everybody, who had registered for the conference.
Ellington Concert in Lebanon 1963
In mid April, there was an extensive discussion in the Duke-LYM mailing list about Ellington’s concert in Bagdad or Lebanon on Nov. 18, 19 or 20,. 1963 It was televised and possibly also filmed. The result is titled Le Roi du Jazz Americain Duke Ellington et Son Orchestre.
Lee Farley, the editor of the Duke Ellington Society of Southern California’s newsletter, wrote an article about the concert and the video in the 2011 Summer-Fall issue of the newsletter.
He has generously shared the article with the international Ellington community. On the DESS website, it is available here
The concert is available on YouTube.
NDESOR correction sheets
The complete set of correction sheets for NDESOR put together by Sjef Hoefsmit with contributions and help from many in the Ellington community is now available in the Ellington Archive of the DESS website.
New DESS Bulletin
The second 2020 issue of the DESS Bulletin was sent to the DESS members last week. It is an impressive piece of work by Bulletin’s editor Bo Haufman, who also is the new President of Duke Ellington Society of Sweden
The cover story is about Fred Guy – The Obscure Fred Guy as Bo Haufman headline his three page article about him. A highly recommended reading!
Another of Bo’s articles in the new issue is an encyclopedic one about Ellington songs with a reference to a dance style or similar. It is in Swedish but it might be worthwhile to have it translated into English to give DESS’ English-speaking members a chance to comment.
In another four-page article (also this in Swedish), Bo writes about the record companies with which Ellington was associated. Also this article is in Swedish.
The Royal Swedish Ballet performed Ellington’s and Alvin Allley’s ballet The River at the Royal Opera in Stockholm in 1993. Erik Wiedemann wrote the text for the program and it is reprinted in the new Bulletin issue. It is accompanied by what Ellington said about the River at the Grace Cathedral concert in San Francisco on April 16, 1970.
Another reprint is what George Avakian said to an interviewer in 1978 about his first meeting with Ellington when Avakian was 18 years old.
The article by Mike Zirpolo emanating from his website Swing & Beyond in this issue is titled Something To Live For. It deals principally with the start of Billy Strayhorn’s career with Ellington and Ellington’s recording of Something To Live For March 21, 1939. The article is supplemented by one of Bo Haufman about recordings of Strayhorn and others of the song. The two articles are in English.
Det nya numret av Bulletinen (se ovan) innehåller en heltäckande rapport om Ellington 2020 – konferensen som aldrig blev av. Här följer några korta tillägg och foton.
Allt tydde på att det skulle bli en bra konferens. Den var väl förberedd av musikprofessorn Anna Celenza som vi alla är skyldiga ett stort tack för hennes sätt att organisera konferensen och hantera krisen som ledde till att den ställdes in.
Den hade också ett tema som pekade framåt. Det tilltänkta programmet och en kortare sammanfattning av de planerade presentationerna finns på webbplatsen för konferensen – https://www.ellington2020.org/.
Men av allt som planerats blev det alltså nästan intet. När vi satte oss ner på den anrika jazzklubben Blues Alley i Georgetown på onsdagskvällen var konferensen reducerad till ett symposium med maximalt 35 tillresta deltagare och färre presentation än planerat. Ett par timmar senare var också detta inställt och för oss européer gällde det att snabbt boka om flygbiljetterna så att vi inte fastnade i USA på obestämd tid.
Konserten “A Tribute To Billy Strayhorn på Blues Alley med Washingtongruppen Marshall Keys and Soulful Path var således det enda av det ursprungliga programmet som genomfördes.
Det var intressant och stimulerande att höra Billy Strayhornlåtar i beboptolkningar men det utlöste många diskussioner mellan de tillresta Ellingtonexperterna. Stämningen var dock överlag god.
Besvikelsen över att konferensen inte blev av ens i ett miniformat var naturligtvis stor särskilt bland de som arbetat hårt med att förbereda presentationer. På torsdagsmorgonen när konferensen skulle ha invigts tog några av dem upp initiativet att samla oss andra runt ett bord och en bärbar dator i ett hörn av konferenslokalen för att visa upp vad de förberett. Bl. a. visade filmmannen och Ellingtonkännaren Joe Medjuk filmen The Duke som CBC TV producerade 1965 för sin serie Festival. En mycket intressant film. Senast den visades på en Ellingtonkonferens var den i Toronto 1986.
Kanske det kan bli möjligt att visa den på ett kommande DESS-möte?
Frågan är naturligtvis nu om det kommer att bli fler Ellingtonkonferenser. Det är tveksamt. Det krävs mycket arbete för att organisera en konferens och tillflödet av en ny generation av Ellingtonexperter är svagt. Kanske behövs det andra former och mindre krävande former än en stor konferens för att driva arbetet på att “Mapping Duke Ellington’s World” vidare.
New recording of Black, Brown and Beige
Some five years ago, Jazz At Lincoln Center launched its own record label Blue Engine Records.
On March 6, the label released Wynton Marsalis’ first recording of the Black, Brown and Beige (https://wyntonmarsalis.org/discography/title/black-brown-and-beige)
The website boosts that it is “a definitive, present-day recording of the suite.” This is true. It is not an effort to recreate what BB&B might have sounded at Carnegie Hall in 1943 but give Ellington’s composition a fresh face.
It will be interesting to hear the reactions of the Ellington community to this.
The work was recorded during a live performance of the work by the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at Time Warner Center’s Rose Theater at the end of April 2018. The conductor was Chris Crenshow – trombonist and saxophonist in JALCO.
Some excerpts of the recording is available on YouTube like this one with Work Song.
The recording is available on most digital streaming platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer. A mp3 version costs around 10 euros on Amazon. It is also available in a high resolution format (24 bits/96 kHz). For those living in the E.U. the easiest is to buy this version at http://www.highresaudio.com. It costs 15 euros.
Grace Cathedral 16 april 1970
Nyligen gjorde Ellington- och filmspecialisten Brian Koller ännu ett av sina fynd. Han fann på eBay ett rullband med en inspelning av en konsert i Grace Cathedral i San Francisco den 16 april 1970 och lyckades köpa det.
Det har visserligen varit känt länge att Ellington med en mindre grupp gav två konserter med i Grace Cathedral i San Francisco i april 1970 men det är först nu som det finns en inspelning att lyssna på.
Konserterna i Grace Cathedral den 15 och 16 april föregicks av en liknande konsert i Crockett nära San Francisco.
I Grace Cathedral framträdde Ellington tillsammans med Wild Bill Davis på orgel, Tony Watkins sång, Joe Benjamin bas och Rufus Jones trummor. Möjligen var det samma grupp som spelade i Crocket
Konserten på bandet är knappt 1 timma och 23 minuter lång och det är möjligt att det inte är hela konserten. Stratemann säger att de två konserterna var c a 2 timmar långa men detta måste bygga på tidningsuppgifter. Om man tittar på sidan av bandboxen, som finns avfotograferad i eBayannonsen, tycks det stå “part” i slutet av raden och det skulle möjligen peka på att slutet av konserten saknas. Men vem vet?
Ellington och hans grupp spelar totalt 21 melodier.
Konserten inleds med ett avsnitt där Wild Bill Davis. spelar musik ur Second Sacred Concert och avslutar med Dear Old Southland. Den upprepas av hela gruppen innan Ellington tar över och spelar fyra Strayhornkompositioner – den sista – Satin Doll – tillsamans med hela gruppen. Ellington fortsätter sedan med att prata om “The River” och spela två ännu inte identifierade melodier. Avdelningen avslutas med New World A-Comin’.
Därefter förenar sig Watkins med gruppen och sjunger I Like The Sunrise, My Mother, My Father And Love och In The Beginning.
Den sista avdelningen är Strayhorn på nytt men den här gången spelad av Wild Bill Davis innan Ellington förenat sig med honom i avslutningen Take The A Train.
Koller har generöst gjort det möjligt för alla vänner av Ellington att lyssna till hans fynd. Det är bara att gå till http://filmsgraded.com/grace för att kunna avnjuta konserten.
Den som vill lyssna på konserten sammanhängande kan göra det här
Brian Koller följer också noga vad som dyker upp på YouTube och låter Ellingtonvänner veta det via gruppen DUKE-LYM.
Här är några av hans senaste upptäckter.
Många har kommenterat den här videon i DUKE-LYM. Den tycks ha filmats någon gång mellan den 12-16 april 1950 i La Ferme d’Auteuil i Paris’ utkanter i samband med ett pressevenemang för Ellingtons Europaturné. I filmen syns bl.a. Shorty Baker, Harry Carney, Jimmy Hamilton, Alvin “Bo” McCain, Billy Strayhorn, Al Killiian, Johnny Hodges, Quentin Jackson, Al Celley, Nelson Williams, Russell Procope, Kay Davis and Odessa “Chubby” Kemp.
Videon är ett PR-framträdande av Elington för Anatomy of A Murder i Ed Sullivans TV-show 1959. Också Otto Preminger får ta emot publiken applåder.
Ellington framträdde på Palermo Pop Festival den 20 juli 1970. I videon spelar orkestern “Aristocracy a La Jean Lafitte” från New Orleans Suite med den kanadensiske trumpetaren Fred Stone som solist på flygelhorn.
New issue of Blue Light
With the 2019 Summer of Blue Light, the magazine enters into a new era. Dr. Patrick Olsen has taken over as editor and change seems to be his key word. “Future issues of Blue Light will be full of new voices and contribute more to mapping Ellington across Britain in our current time” he says in his editorial column. Change is also marked by a new layout, which makes it easier for old eyes to read the magazine.
Change is also the theme of the major article of the new issue. It is written by Roger Boyes and over more than 13 pages he traces the changes in the Ellington Orchestra during the Petrillo recording ban period in 1942. A must read for all of us interested in Ellington!
New Ellington CD from Maison du Duke
According to the latest newsletter of Maison du Duke, in November it will issue a new CD in its Ellington series. It will be the 12th one and it is a Jimmie Blanton Special made up of “live” recordings, and often rare from Duke Ellington’s orchestra in 1940 and 1941.
Claude Carrière will talk about the new CD on Sunday 17 November at Reid Hall, 4 rue de Chevreuse, Paris (6th) at 4.30 pm.
Like the previous ones, the new CD will be available only to members of Maison du Duke, which also have to pay 5 euros for the postage.
Playboy Jazz Festival 1959
Brian Koller, the relentless Ellington on YouTube ‘watchman’ has recently drawn the attention of Ellington aficionados and fans – thank you Brian – to two Playbox Jazz Festival 1959 videos featuring Duke Ellington and his orchestra. The first one is a 7 minutes video titled The Greatest Three Days in Jazz, which features Ellington opening the festival and gives some facts about it. In the video one hears Ellington playing V.I.P Boogie on the first night of the festival – August 7, 1959 – and Satin Doll on the afternoon of August 8.
The second video is one called This Is Jazz and put on YouTube by Old Time Radio. It is one of 26 half-hour segments that AFRS recorded from the festival and features Ellington’s performance on the night of August 8.. Jimmy Rushing is key part of it He sings Goin’ To Chicago, Hello Little Boy and Sent For You Yesterday and Paul Gonsalves contributes and a very R&B mood. However, the segment ends with pure Ellington – Things Ain’t What They Used To Be, El Gato and Hand Me Down Love.
New Ellington Books (2)
The American writer and jazz columist Con Chapman has written a biography about Johnny Hodges. The title is Rabbit’s Blues – The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges.
It is not entirely clear if it has been published yet. According to the website of the publisher – Oxford University Press – the book will be published Nov. 1 but both new and used copies of it are available at amazon.com. The price for a hardcopy is 27,95 USD. It is also available as an e-book (Kindle) for 14 USD less. However, the book is currently not available on the European Amazon websites.
The web editor has taken advantage of the e-book offer and has read it this week.
It gives a very complete story of the life and career of Johnny Hodges. The book takes the reader the from Hodges’ birth to his death with almost overwhelming details. His references and footnotes indicates that he has read everything that has already been written about Hodges and used it to a very comprehensive book.
The website will not review the book in detail but recommend its vistors to read the excellent review, which former Blue Light editor Ian Bradly published on his website a couple of days ago. The url is http://villesville.blogspot.com/.
The 26th Duke Ellington Study Group Conference will take place in Washington D.C. at Georgetown University on March 11-15 next year. The organiser of the conference is Professor Anna Celenza, who holds the Thomas E. Caestecker Chair in Music at Georgetown University and had written extensively about Duke Ellington.
With this it is obvious that academic musicologists have taken over the relay as regards Ellington conferences. Out of the last three only one – New York 2016 – has been organised by a Duke Ellington Society or equivalent.
The web editor spoke to Dr. Matthias Heyman about this at the 2018 Ellington Conference in Birmingham. He had just before the conference obtained a PhD of Arts at the University of Antwerp in 2018 with his doctorial thesis on Jimmy Blanton.
The theme for the 2020 conference is Mapping Duke Ellington’s World.
This theme is broadly conceived by the organizers and can include presentations and performances on a range of topics including Ellington’s travels/tours, Ellington’s collaborators, Ellington collections/archives around the world, transcription as a form of musical mapping, musical landscapes in Ellington’s works, mapping the Ellington imagination, Ellington and film, Ellington iconography, and the reception history of Ellington’s works/performances”.
The deadline for proposing papers was August 15 but possibly proposals can still be submitted.
In addition to presentations of academic papers, panels and roundtables there will be cultural walks and visits in Washington D.C. as well as a program of performances by local Washington DC performers.
Keynote speakers will be
Professor Thomas Brothers, Duke University who has published books on Louis Armstrong as well as Duke Ellington
Dr. John E. Hasse, Curator Emeritus at Smithsonian and author of Beyond Categories: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington and many other books.
Professor Tammy Kernodle, Society of American Music
The conference will open with a concert at the classical jazz club Blues Alley in Georgetown.
A website – http://www.ellington2020.org – is already in place. There one can find more information about the conference and buy conference tickets, book hotel and more.
A ticket to the five-day conference is 75 USD for those retired and 100 USD for younger participants. The prices are valid until Dec. 15
Ellington’s Sacred Concerts
The Jazz History Online blog (https://jazzhistoryonline.com), with Thomas Cunniffe as editor, published a very extensive article on Ellington’s Sacred Concerts before the summer. It is highly recommended for everyone interested in the concerts.
Cunniff writes about how each concert developed and about the main songs in each of them. It is richly illustrated by photos and video clips (including some provided by DESS from the Second Sacred Consert in the Gustaf Vasa Cathedral
The article can be read at https://jazzhistoryonline.com/duke-ellingtons-sacred-concerts.
New pods at Ellington Reflections
The website Ellington Reflections (https://ellingtonreflections.com/) continues tirelessly to produce podcasts on different topics related to Ellington. During the summer it has published five new ones.
Portrait of Lawrence Brown 1 and 2 (July 21 and August 4 2019)
The Treasury Shows 4 (July 7 2019)
Old Wine and New Bottles (June 16 2019)
Portrait of Otto Hardwicke (June 2 2019
Nästa DESS-möte äger rum nästa måndag den 6 maj. Lokalen är som vanligt Franska Skolans aula.
DESS-medlemmen m.m. Håkan Skytt står för kvällens föredrag. Ämnet är “120 år med Duke Ellington – en sammanfattning“.
Gruppen JazzMaTazz står för kvällens musik. Den har mottot “Lite swing får man räkna med”. En presentation av gruppen finns här.
More about Towne Casino
After the article published on March 21 with a radio broadcast from Towne Casino in Cleveland, DESS member Sonja Svensson has told us more about the club. She studied for a year at Western Reserve University in 1961 and spent many nights at the club.
This link to the blog Jazzed In Cleveland tells that Duke Ellington played some 40 times in and around Cleveland.
A complete index to the blog is available here.
New issue of Blue Light
The Spring 2019 issue of Blue Light reached its subscribers a couple of weeks ago. It has been put together by an interim editorial group waiting for Patrick Olsen to take over as editor with the next issue.
The main feature is a very interesting ten-page article titled The Protean Imagination of Duke Ellington – The Early Years. It is written by a certain A.J. Bishop of whom not much is known. In addition to the article reprinted from Jazz Journal in the new Blue Light issue, only two other articles from Bishop’s pen are known. They can be found in Mark Tucker’s Duke Ellington Reader.
Monsignor John Sanders is remembered in two articles by Roger Boyes, who also reviews the Heading for Newport CD issued by Doctor Jazz.
New radio program from Bill Saxonis
Last week Bill Saxonis was featured on station WCDB and its Saturday Morning Edition of Jazz for 19th consecutive year with his Ellington birthday bash. This four hour long program with program host Bill McCann had – as always – a lot to offer. The DESS website is very happy to have been able to serve Bill with some material for the broadcast.
Two one-hour installments is available in the website’s Ellington Archive and two more will be added later.
På den amerikanska radiostationen WBGO i Newark, New Jersey kunde man för ett par dagar sedan höra ett radioprogram med rubriken “Hear the Earliest Surviving Radio Broadcast by Duke Ellington”.
Det var jazzhistorikern, författaren och pianisten Lewis Porter som i sitt alltid intressant program Deep Dive tack vare tillmötesgående från Steven Lasker kunde låta sina lyssnarna höra 8 minuter av en radioutsändning från den 11 april 1932 med Duke Ellington.
Den sändes från Publix Allyn Theatre i Hartford, Connecticut och sändningen som vi hör har bevarats tack vare att en man vid namn Larry Altpeter spelade in den i sitt vardagsrum med hjälp av en RCA Home Recording Electrola.
Lasker, som är ägare av skivan sedan 1998, har hjälpt till med ljudrestaureringen.
Merpareten av skivan är Ellington’s första framförande av “When It Is Sleepy Time Down South” med Barney Bigard och Sonny Greer i ledande roller. Men vi får också höra temat från Lazy Rhapsody och en kortversion av Double Check Stomp.
På webbplatsen http://www.wbgo.org/post/hear-earliest-surviving-radio-broadcast-duke-ellington-historic-find-deep-dive#stream/0 kan man höra radioutsändningen och läsa en utförlig artikel av Lewis Porter om den.
Gröna Lund 1963 i Stockholmstidningarna
Förre redaktören för DESS webbplats, Key Jigerström, har vänligen ställt sina kunskaper om hur man hittar information i gamla tidningar och tidskrifter till webbplatsens förfogande. Han har lusläst Stockholmspressen för dagarna runt Ellingtons spelning på Gröna Lund och har hittat lite intressant information. Både DN och Svenska Dagbladet innehöll naturligtvis annonser om evenemanget.
Svenska Dagbladet uppmärksammade också att Ellingtons Sverigeturné hade börjat och Expressen skrev om Alice Babs’ gästvisit hos Ellington en av Gröna Lundskvällarna.
Petter Himmelstrand i Expressen publicerade intervjuer med bl a Rolf Eric och Harry Carney. De kommer också att bli tillgängliga på webbplatsen.
New issue of Blue Light
The autumn issue of DESUK’s Blue Light has now been published.
The two main articles are about Ellington’s “secret sessions” in Toronto in June 1972 and Jimmy Blanton celebrating the centenary of his birth.
The first one is written by Jack Chambers and is an expanded version of the article published on the DESS website in June and August.
The author of the Blanton article is written by the Blanton scholar (and much more) Matthias Heyman in collaboration with the DESUK editor Ian Bradley. Heyman presented his doctoral thesis on Blanton earlier this year. The article aims to “demystify the many assumptions and unknowns that … surround young Jimmie’s life” and it does so very well.
In the issue, Roger Boyes reviews the last two volumes of Storyville’s DETS series and this is another good read.
Next DESS meeting
It takes place on Monday September 17 at Franska Skolan in Stockholm. The doors open at 17:00.
Bo Lindström, well-known international author and specialist on early jazz, will talk about the background to his acclaimed book about Tommy Ladnier (co-written with Dan Vernhettes) and his new book on the early Fletcher Henderson trombone player George Brashear.
Bo and Dan Vernhettes have written several other books together like Jazz Puzzles with biographies of early New Orleans jazz muscians (vol 1) and about the riverboat jazz history (vol 2).
They and other books can be ordered from the JazzEdit website (http://www.jazzedit.org).
Next Ellington Study Group conference
It seems likely that it will take place in Washington D.C. in March 2020. Anna Celenza, Professor of Music at the Georgetown University, is the driving force behind this initiative to keep the Ellington conferences going. It will be the fourth such conference in Washington D.C. since the series started.
Ellington OKeh recordings
In a follow-up to his article in “Smått och gott published on May 30, Bo Lindqvist has taken a closer look at the LP-album “The Ellington Era” (Columbia C3L-27).
He writes to the website: “According to Rust’s Jazz Records (at least the editions 4 and 6) and the album booklet, three previously ’unknown’ takes, Black And Tan Fantasy (81776-A), Old Man Blues (404521-D) are Mood Indigo (400023-A) are included
However, after having listened to the three takes, it seems to me”, says Bo, “that they all are identical to take B of the recording, which was issued on 78s long before the Columbia LP album appeared.”
DESS Bulletin 2016-3
With the publication of the DESS Bulletin 2018-3, the third Bulletin from 2016 is now available to the general public. It can be found under the Bulletinen tab at the top of the front page.
The main focus in this issue is Willie Cook but there are of course much more to read about.
New pods at Ellington Reflections
The excellent Ellington blog (https://ellingtonreflections.com/) has published three new pods since the start of the summerbreak of the DESS website.
Piano in The Foreground II (28 July 2018)
Portrait of Al Hibbler (14 July 2018)
Beyond the Valley of The Usual Suspects (30 June 2018)
They can be listened to at the website and downloaded from iTunes (https://t.co/2yKFpLm0jF).
Take C of Black and Tan Fantasy
During the last ten years DESS member Bo Lindqvist has tried to add all the original versions of Ellington’s recording for OKeh to his collection.
He seems to have got them all including Take C of Black And Tan Fantasy recorded on November 3, 1927 on Okeh 8521. However, many discographic sources says that it also was issued on OKeh 40955 but Bo has not managed to find a copy of this record with take C but only records with this number with take B.
So he has started to doubt that an Okeh 40955 with take C exists and would like to have the help of DESS members to sort out if this is the case or not.
Bo can be contacted at Lindqvist_50@hotmail.com.
The 25th Ellington Study Group Conference took place in Birmingham last weekend. It was organized in cooperation between The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Birmingham City University with the moral support of DESUK.
In many ways it confirmed that the Ellington conferences now is firmly in the hands of the academic musicologists, which means that a younger generation is taking over the responsibility to keep the Ellington legacy alive.
As a result of the poor selling of the conference, only some forty persons took part in it. The majority were members of DESUK and other Ellington societies like DESS, which was represented by Bo Haufman, Peter Lee, Jan-Olov Isaksson and the web editor. Only one participant came from the U.S.A. and one of the presenters from Canada.
Here is Peter Lee together with John Grover och Leland Farley med hustru (foto Bo Haufman).
The program of the conference included two keynote presentation and 12 shorter presentations in thematic workshops. The themes were:
– Ellington in the Midlands
– Collaboration and Process
– Sonic Reverberations
– Instrumental approaches
– Technology and Mediation
The website will give more details in a later article.
Thanks to the Ellington Orchestra composed of students of the Jazz Department of the Conservatoire, the conference participants could enjoy four full concerts with Ellington music and also an afternoon jamsession.
Here is an example of what we heard. The clip starts “Tourist Point of View” and ends with “Blue Bird of Delhi”.
The Director of the Jazz Department, Jeremy Price, has done a very nice job bringing this orchestra together.
New Issue of Blue Light
The summer issue of Blue Light was published just in time for the Birmingham conference. It was actually hand-delivered to the conference participants. The reason for this was that this issue of Blue Light has the full program of the conference, including abstracts of the presentations.
But the new issue also have some major articles. One is by Blue Light editor Ian Bradley on “Ellington in Academia”. It deals with Ellington appearances at universities and his relationships with some of the major American universities.
There is also a lengthy article by Ethan Hine titled “Duke Ellington, Percy Grainger and the Status of Jazz in the Academy. Highly recommended reading!
The Ellington Orchestra of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire played a concert with Ellington’s Sacred Music in the Lincoln Cathedral on May 12, 2018 and Ian Bradley also provides the readers with a review of this concert.
Ellington ’18 in Birmingham
Finally, information on the presentations to be made at the conference is starting to become available.
Among them are:
Jack Chambers: Celebration, Duke Ellington’s Lost Symphony
Matthias Heyman: Plucked Again: Ellington’s bassists and the mediation of technology
Vic Hobson: Ellington: Collective Improvisation and Arranging
Barry Long Ellington and Coltrane: Tone Parallels
Brian Priestley: Monk and Duke
Alyn Shipton: Ellington and synaesthesia: to what extent did Duke Ellington hear sounds as colours?
New Storyville Ellington CDs
Volume 25 in Storyville’s DETS series – was issued a couple of weeks ago and can be bought at the musicroom website (https://www.musicroom.com/product-detail/product1140872/variant1140872/duke-ellington-the-treasury-shows-vol-25/).
It is the last in this important and invaluable series. The CD set has the final recorded broadcast from Ellington’s stay at Blue Note in Chicago in June 1953 issued on the last volume of the original DETS LP series plus a 1943 Pastel Period broadcast from the Hurricane Club in New York and two other Hurricane broadcasts (April 22nd and May 5th 1944)
By issuing the original Treasury Show series and adding to it a large number of broadcasts from the Hurricane and other New York clubs, Storyville has served the Ellington community in an incredible way and must be lauded by all friends of Ellington for its effort.
In mid-August, Storyville will issue another Ellington CD. It will have the concert the Coventry Cathedral in England on February 21st 1966. A restored version of the telecast is rumoured to also exist and participants at the Ellington conference in Birmingham later this month might have a showing of it.
Remembering Brooks Kerr
The almost blind jazz pianist and performer of Duke Ellington’s music, Brooks Kerr, passed away last Saturday.He was reputed to have known every Duke Ellington composition by the time he was 8 years old.
An article about him in New York Times in 1974 was headlined “He Knows More Ellington Than Duke Himself” and Duke himself said to students at the University of Wisconsin back in July 1972 “If you have any questions about my music, just, ask Brooks Kerr.”
In the late 1970s, Kerr performed in jazz clubs with a trio often including Sonny Greer and Russell Procope. He also did some recordings of Ellington music with Greer and/ or George Duvivier in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Kerr was a featured attraction at the New York 1981 and Washington 1982 Ellington conferences. Here is an example of his way of playing from West End Cafe in New York during the 1981 conference.
New pod at Ellington Reflections
This excellent Ellington blog (https://ellingtonreflections.com/) has published a new pod. It deals with Sonny Greer and is called “Portrait of Sonny Greer.” It can be listened to at the website and downloaded from iTunes (https://t.co/2yKFpLm0jF)
DESS Bulletin 2016-2
This issue is now available also for non-DESS members in the Bulletin 2013-2016 section of the website.
The main feature is long article about Ben Webster written by Steve Wallace. But there are also many other interesting article to read like the one by Fred Glueckstein about the unfinished film for which Ellington was supposed to write the music.