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Smått och gott

Historisk radioutsändning

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.


Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

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.

They are:

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).

Smått och gott /Bits and Pieces

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.

Birmingham 2018

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.

Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

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.

Smått och Gott /Bits And Pieces

The Ellington Conference in Birmingham

There is still no website for the conference but  it seems for sure that it will take place. The facility for buying conference tickets is up and running. Go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/25th-duke-ellington-conference-3-day-tickets-tickets-44978484859.

A three-day ticket to the conference costs £75 and one-day tickets will cost £30 for the Friday events, £35 for Saturday and £15 for Sunday.

Have trust in the organizers, buy your ticket(s) and book flight and hotel asap!

Jump For Joy documentary

A documentary about the musical revue is under preparation by a team in Los Angeles. One member of it is the jazz film specialist Mark Cantor, which should guarantee that it will be of high quality. It is still not known when it will be released. The DESS website will keep you posted.

Those of you that are not aware of Cantor’s fabulous website “Jazz on Film (http://jazz-on-film.com) are strongly adviced to visit it. It is a treasury of information about films with jazz elements, especially from the 1930s and 1940s, and a labour of love.

Spring issue of Blue Light 2018 and 2016

The latest issue of DESUK’s Blue Light has arrived in the mailbox. Once again, its editor Ian Bradley provides a lot of interesting Ellington read.

The issue is dominated by the third installment of the series on Irving Mills’ Advertising Manuals for Ellington. This time it is a reprint of a third manual but without any commenting texts.

It also includes a major five-page article by Roger Boyes on “Creole Rhapsody” and an article by Krin Gabbard on the firing of Charles Mingus from the Ellington Orchestra.

Since two years has passed since the 2016 Spring issue of Blue Light was published, it is now available to DESS members in the Ellington Archive.

Among the articles are two about Ellington’s Sacred Concert in the Coventry Cathedral in 1966, one about Harold Ashby as leader on records and one about Ellington’s visit to Châtaeu Goutelas in Loire (France) in 1966.

Ellington Reflections

Steve Bowie, who is a muscian living in Pasadena, California, publish regularly podcasts on different aspects of Ellington and his music.

The latest podcast published just a couple of days ago is called “Beyond The Usual Suspects, Again” and has as its starting point the handful of Ellington compositions like Mood IndigoSatin DollIn A Sentimental Mood, etc.which played over and over again at tribute concerts and in recording.

The one before was about Ray Nance as violinist and called “Duke Ellington’s String Section”.

The podcasts are available on http://www.ellingtonreflections.com and can be downloaded from iTunes. They are also announced on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

Ellington Study Group Conference May 25-27, 2018

Even if there is still no official announcement, it seems that the 25th Ellington Study Group Conference will take place in England or more precisely in Birmingham on May 25-27.

It is organized and hosted by the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the School of Media, Birmingham City University in association with Duke Ellington Society UK (DESUK).

The conference starts at 17 o’clock on May 27 and ends on 13 o’clock on May 29.

The programme includes two keynote presentations, six thematic panels with presentations and four concerts by the Birmingham Conservatoire’s Ellington Jazz Orchestra.

The keynote presentations will be given by Dr. Harvey Cohen, Senior Lecturer, Kings College London and Dr. Katherine Williams, Lecturer in Music, Plymouth College. Dr. Cohen is the author of “Duke Ellington’s America” and Dr. Williams is doing research for a new book on Duke Ellington.

The web editor has done some research on hotels in Birmingham not far from the site of the conference and the result can be found here.

Jazzy Poppins

In the beginning of January, Laurent Mignard and his Duke Orchestra presented a “spectacle musical” in Paris called Jazzy Poppins. The show is inspired by the musical Mary Poppins and Duke Ellington’s Reprise album “Duke Ellington Plays Mary Poppins”.

Another set of performances took place at the end of February and early March. Most likely, there will be even more.

Those, who do not live in Paris, can enjoy the show on CD. It can be ordered at the Laurant Mignard website http://www.laurent-mignard.com/jazzy-poppins-boutique/

On May 6 at 11 o’clock, the Duke Orchestra and the lead singer in the show, Sophie Kaufmann, will appear on the public radio station France Music (www. francemusique.fr) to perform a substantial part of the show.

Blue Light

In accordance with the agreement between the website and DESUK, issues 2015:4 and of Blue Light are now available to members of DESS in the Ellington article.

Especially interesting features in this issue is a report by DESUK’s late chairman Geoff Smith on the 2015 Ellington Study Group Conference in Portland, Oregon on Nov. 6-8, 2015, the first of two article by Matthew J. Cooper on Ellington as a pianist and a discussion between Roger Boyes and Geoff Smith on the Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington published in 2015.


Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

DESS Bulletin 2016-1

It is now available also to non-DESS members (and to those who joined DESS in 2017 or this year) to read and download. Just go to the tab “Bulletinen” on the front page.

This issue put the focus on Tyree Glenn. Bo Haufman portraits him in a four-page article.

Other interesting articles are – among others – one by Irving Townsend about Ellington in private and another by Ken Steiner reporting on the 23rd Ellington Study Group conference in Portland, Oregon.

Radio program – Bill Saxonis

Bill Saxonis’ 4 timmar långa Ellington-program på radiostationen WCDB (90.9-FM), Albany, New York finns nu i Ellington-arkivet uppdelat i fyra avsnitt.

Det första avsnittet har fokus på Ella Fitzgerald och det andra på Thelonius Monk. Den tredje delen ägnas åt Svend Asmussen och Dizzy Gillespie och den fjärde åt Buster Cooper och Joe Temperley.

Al Hirschfeld

The famous American caricaturist Al Hirschfeld made several caricatures of Duke Ellington. His most famous is the one he made in 1931 for the Irving Mills organization and which was used in the first of Mills’ “advertising manual” for Ellington.

Steven Lasker has written a quite detailed article about it for the Al Hirschfeld Foundation. The article is called “Backstory in Black and White” (http://www.alhirschfeldfoundation.org/spotlight/backstory-black-and-white).


The “Just Jazz” broadcasts on February 9, 1949 from “The Hollywood Empire” club at 1539 Vine Street in Hollywood is available on YouTube since early January.


Thank you to Brian Koller for drawing the attention of the Ellington community to this and to Patricia Willard for her comment to the YouTube posting.

Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

Nästa DESS-möte 12 februari 2018

Det äger som vanligt rum i på Franska Skolans Aula, Döbelnsgatan 3 i Stockholm som vanligt. Peter Lee , styrelseledamot i DESS och mycket annat svarar för kvällens föredrag. Han kommer att prata om  Wynton Marsalis och hans Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, som är en av de orkestrar som håller Ellington-arvet ledande.

Föredraget föregås av årsmötet för DESS med val av styrelse och annat.

Duon Fredrik Lindborg på saxofon/klarinett och Martin Sjöstedt på piano/bas svarar för kvällens musik.

Slut upp mangrant!


From time to time DESS members contact the website about Ellington concerts and broadcasts on YouTube. We will pass them on if we consider that they are worthwhile.

Recently David Palmquist passed on the following link to the Duke-LYM mailing list https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa6uaE2oYj4.

It is a telecast from the Australian Broadcast Corporation, which was recorded by the French ORTF on July 2 and 6, 1970 (NDESOR 7050) and broadcasted on July 7, 1970. The ABC clip is a shorter version of the telecast.

Another YouTube recommendation comes from Göran Axelsson , who frequently harvests YouTube. It is “Blue Reverie” from Benny Goodman’s Carnegie Hall concert in 1938 played by a small group from the Ellington orchestra https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kELNBR8V_28. Possibly, the sound file is ripped from the Columbia Legacy CD box released in 1999. It has all the Goodman introductions recorded in 1950.

YouTube also has  a “Blue Reverie” video claimed to originate from a Columbia 78 promo issued in 1951 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJ7bW-SRuLc.

Blue Light

The last 2017 issue of DESUK’s Blue Light recently reached its subscribers, i.e. the DESUK members.

The key feature is the second install of the series on Irving Mills’ publicity manuals for Duke Ellington.

This time the article is written by Carl Woideck, who gave a presentation on the 1933-1934 manual to the Ellington Conference in New York in 2016. The full manual is reprinted in Blue Light in a beautiful way.

In addition to record reviews and DESUK “cuisine”, the new issue of Blue Light also has a review of the book “Duke Ellington Studies” published by Cambridge University Press. The two page article takes a positive position on the book, which unfortunately has been neglected by the Ellington community because of its price.

Ellington and Dixie Girl Revue 1923

Ken Steiner has, together with Steven Lasker and David Palmquist, an impressive record of finding information about the early career of Duke Ellington by harvesting newspapers and journals. Recently he reported on Facebook that he had found an ad in New York Evening Telegram of November 8, 1923 in which Ellington is mentioned as composer. It is an ad for the opening of the “Dixie Girl Revue”.

In his Facebook post, Ken says that it is the earliest reference in print to Ellington as a composer that he has seen so far.

Well done, Ken!




Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

Next Ellington Study Group Conference

The next Ellington Study Group Conference will take place in Birmingham, England on 25-27 May 2018.

The conference is organized jointly by the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the Birmingham City University in cooperation with DESUK. The main conference venue will be the  Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Details about the conference is in the announcement (attached) in the latest issue of DESUK’s Blue Light.

Member CDs

Maison du Duke has issued a new CD – “Mingus Chez Duke” – to the benefit of its members. It has 20 tracks from the appearance of the Duke Ellington orchestra at Bandbox in New York Jan. 30-Feb. 9, 1953. To get the CD, one only has to pay the 20 EUR membership fee plus 5 EUR to cover the postage. Follow this link http://maison-du-duke.com/espace-membres/adherer-2/ to learn how to do it.

With the new issue of Blue Light, also DESUK provides its members with a CD. It is a copy of the CD of Hurricane airshots from the Timme Rosenkrantz collection, which Frits Schjøtt put together for the benefit of the participants at the 2016 Ellington conference.

Ellington article

In its August 17, 2017 issue, The New Yorker published an Ellington article by the pianist and composer Ethan Iverson, which is highly recommended for reading.

It is titled “Duke Ellington, Bill Evans and A Night in New York” and can be found at this link:


It is also available to DESS members in the Ellington Archive.


Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces


DESS finns nu också på Twitter

Det är ännu så länge ett experiment men vi hoppas att de DESS-medlemmar som också finns på Twitter kommer att följa oss. Vårt användarnamn är @ellingtonswe.

Nytt Storyville-album

Storyville har gett ut ett nytt Ellington-album – den här gången i det allt mer populära DSD (Direct Digital Stream)-formatet.

Det välrenommerade kanadensiska 2xHD svarar för den tekniska produktionen. Man har gett ut albumet i DSD256-formatet vilket betyder en samplingsfrekvensen 256 gånger den som används för en CD.

Resultatet är ett mycket bra ljud men eftersom albumet bara finns att köpa som en nedladdningsbar fil så kommer många bara att lyssna på den via datorn med dess ljudmässiga begränsningar.

Musiken då? Många DESS-medlemmar har den säkert redan antingen på LP eller CD så det är säkert mest ljudfreakar som jag som lockas att köpa albumet. Men kanske också en yngre generation?

Det innehåller all musik (utom “Kinda Dukish”) från Ellington-delen av filmen “Goodyear Jazz Concert” inspelad den 9 january 1962 och Ellingtons pianokonsert på Château Goutelas i Loire, Frankrike den 25 februari 1966.

Albumet kan köpas hos bl.a. NativeDSD (https://www.nativedsd.com) eller HighResAudio (https://www.highresaudio.com).




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