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It is amazing to see how aliveEllington still is. Three fresh CDs with Ellington music have been issued so far this year. In addition, a book on the role of the piano in the Ellington orchestra has also been published and more books are on their way.
The book is written by the French pianist, composer, arranger and orchestra leader Leîla Olivesi. It is dedicated to Claude Carrièr and published by IREMUS – Institut de recherch en musicologie. The book is available for download (no cost) from La Maison du Duke website (http://www.maison-du-duke.com/recherche-et-publications). The book is in French. Those, who cannot read this wonderful language, can hear Leïla Olivesi’s presentation on the topic at the Ellington 2021 Meeting in English (https://ellington.se/2021/05/20/ellington-2021-leila-olivesi).
In his presentation at the Ellington 2021 Meeting, Laurent Mignard gave some glimps of his new Ellington project Duke Ladies.
It is a very creative and ambitious project to give new perspectives on Duke Ellington’s music and Mignard is using his talent as arranger, his Duke Orchestra and seven female guest artists – the Duke Ladies – to achieve this.
The first result is demonstrated in the CD released last week.
It comes with a very good liner notes with detailed information about the 13 tracks.
More information is available at the links below. Together they give the song and performer list of the CD, a very nice video teaser, a short video presentation of Duke Ladies and text presentation of the project in English.
Volume 2 will be released next year and there will be a release concert with the Duke Orchestra and some of the Duke Ladies at the Chatelet concert venue on May 12 2022.
The easiest way is to buy the CD from Laurent Mignard’s website (https://www.laurent-mignard.com/shop) but it is also available at Amazon.fr and the website of the production company Just A Trace (https://www.juste-une-trace.com/en/store)
Duke Ellington in Berlin 1959
In the autumn of 1959, Duke Ellington came back to Europe for a more extensive tour than in 1958. It started in The Netherlands on September 18 and ended in Germany on October 20. Between those dates, Ellington played concerts in The Netherlands, France, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and one in each of Switzerland and Austria.
At the end of this summer, Storyville released a CD with Ellington’s concert at Sportpalatset in Berlin on October 4, 1959.
The concert has been available commercially before on vinyl as well as CD.
The English label Swing House published two LPs with most of the concert in 1978 (SWH 4) and 1982 (SWH 28). Some of the material on the LPs appeared on a Sound of Yester Year CD in 1986 and the CD The Incomparable Duke Ellington issued in 1987 has about half of the Swing House material but also two unissued songs from the concert – Newport Up and I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart/Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.
The new Storyville CD is a big improvement compared to what has been available before. The sound is much better and the music is presented in chronological order. Bjarne Busk as producer and Jorgen Vad as sound engineer are responsible for this
With the CD comes also extensive and very informative liner notes by Dan Morgenstern with detailed comments on the music.
Another CD by Storyville highly recommended !
According to NDESOR, Happy Anatomy, All of Me, Just Sqeeze Me/It Don’t Mean A Thing and Happy Reunion were played at the concert but they are not on the CD (and not on other issues either). Perhaps someone has got those tracks and can let the DESS website publish them as goodies.
The concert in Berlin was not the only one recorded during the tour.
The two concerts at Salle Pleyel on September 20 were recorded as well and most of the material has been issued on the Affinity and Sarpe Top Jazz labels.
Also recordings of the two concerts in Stockholm on September 26 exists and have been circulating among collectors for a long time.
To make them more widely available, the DESS website offered them as “goodies” to DESS members in November 2019. Go to https://ellington.se/2019/11/12/stockholm-26-september-1959-forsta-forestallningen and https://ellington.se/2019/11/15/stockholm-26-september-1959-andra-forestallningen to read the articles and download the concerts (DESS members only).
Ellington gave his first concerts in Sweden in Malmö on September 23. It was the author’s first live encounter with the Maestro and my body began shaking when the orchestra intoned Take The “A” Train and Ellington strolled onto the stage.
The concert in Zurich on October 9 was televised and a rather poor copy of the telecast is available on YouTube.
There is also a recording of the concert in Munich on October 11 but to the knowledge of the author it has not been released in any form.
Johnny Hodges in Paris 18 February 1961
Just before the summer, the French record company Frémaux et associés added another Ellington-related gem to its very impressive catalog. It is a recording of a concert by Johnny Hodges and the Duke Ellington Giants at Olympia in Paris March 18, 1961.
The music is typical Ellington repertoire except for a new song – Blues for Madeleine – dedicated to Madeleine Gautier, Hugues Panassié’s collaborator and wife.
Only one song in the concert – Blue Moon – is not included in the CD.
The sound is excellent. The concert was recorded by Europe 1 and the producers have had access to the master tapes. Thank you George Debroe for this information.
The concert was part of a 14 day European tour organised by Norman Granz taking advantage of the fact that members of Ellington orchestra were on vacation for a long period when Ellington and Billy Strayhorn were in Paris to work on the Paris Blues movie.
The Ellington Giants, who joined Hodges, were Lawrence Brown, Harry Carney, Ray Nance, Al Williams and Sam Woodyard.
Besides Paris, Hodges and his men gave concerts in Stockholm (March 14 or 15) and Helsinki (March 16).
The group also played concert(s) in Berlin at Sportpalatset but more research is needed to establish the exact date(s).
Some sources say that it was the last concert after the one in Paris. However, the Tom Lord jazz discography claims that there was also a concert in Scandinavia (Copenhagen?) on March 22. If this is correct, then the concert in Berlin could have taken place just after the Paris concert but followed by the Scandinavian one.
The website will come back to Hodges’ tour in another article next month.
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.
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.
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.
Storyville has now issued volume 24 in “The Treasury Shows” series. It is the next to last in the series and it represents a jump of seven years from the broadcasts in volume 23.
It is a very different orchestra from the one heard in the 1946 broadcasts and the world has changed a lot around Ellington and big band music.
By 1953, Ellington is the only big band leader, who has not disbanded his orchestra since the start and the year before, Downboat Magazine gave the Duke a special recognition for this.
The album offers four June 1953 broadcasts from Blue Note in Chicago and an April 1, 1944 broadcast from Hurricane Restaurant in New York. The Blue Note broadcasts were originally issued as volume 47 and 48 in the DETS LP series.
They demonstrate very well the energy and skills of the rejuvenated Ellington orchestra. I hope that those who consider the early 1950s a disastrous period in Ellington’s career take time to enjoy what the newcomers to the band like Clark Terry, Willie Cook, Britt Woodman, Paul Gonsalves and others brought to it.
For the first time in the DETS series, two of the broadcasts have no U.S. Government bond promotion whatsoever. Both were apparently transmitted in the “Music For Modern” series, which was one of NBCs programs for jazz and big band music.
By the time the broadcasts took place, Ellington had made his first recordings for Capitol. In the absence of bond promotion, he took ample time to promote them.
When Storyville’s DETS series comes to its end with volume 25, Storyville has achieved something incredible for which it must be highly lauded by the Ellington and other jazz fans.
Storyville has just released volume 23 in its Treasury Shows series. Now only two more issues remain until the series is complete.
It picks up where volume 22 ended, i.e. with a broadcast from Meadowbrook Garden Café but this time it is from August 24, 1946. Actually, Ellington did two broadcasts from Meadowbrook Garden Café on this date – the one for ABC on CD 1 of the album and another for MBS later in the day.
After his long engagement at Meadowbrook Garden Café August 9-25, 1946 had ended, Ellington moved on to Los Angeles. The second broadcast in volume 23 (on CD 2) is one from Lincoln Theatre in Los Angeles on August 31, 1946.
A month later, Duke was back in New York for a month-long engagement at the Aquarium Restaurant. It is from here that the third “Your Saturday Date With The Duke” broadcast in volume 23 emanates. The date is October 5, 1946.
The bonus broadcast in volume 23 is another one from the Hurricane Restaurant – this time from August 26, 1943.
The details of the broadcast can be found at the Storyville website and of course in NDESOR.
Storyville has also issued a CD called “An Intimate Piano Session” with music from the “stockpile” recording in New York on August 25, 1972.
On this occasion, Ellington sat down with only his two singers at the time – Anita Moore and Tony Watkins – to record a number of songs not featured very often. At least one version of all the songs recorded except one is included in the CD. In additon, the CD has four tracks recorded at the end of the Rotterdam concert in 1969 when Duke sat down with Wild Bill Davis, Victor Gaskin and Ruus Jones to give the audience some extras.
Details are available at the Storyville website.
Earlier this month, Storyville released volume 22 of its “Duke Ellington Treasury Shows” and the end of the series is slowly approaching. Like volume 21, it gives us two broadcasts from the West Coast or, more precisely, California.
The first one is from August 3, 1946 and the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco and the second one from August 17, 1946 and the Meadowbrook in Culver City. They are supplemented by two bonus broadcasts – one from El Patio Ballroom, July 15, 1942 and the other from the Hurricane Restaurant in New York August 21, 1943.
The two 1946 broadcasts were part of the original Duke Ellington Treasury Show LP series (volume 42 and volume 43) and are Treasury Show broadcasts #43 and #44.
The two bonus broadcasts have not been issued commercially before except for one of the songs played at the El Patio Ballroom, which was included in a Jazz Archive album many years ago.
The release of the radio program “Your Saturday Date with the Duke” is a fascinating project. In 1981 the first LP in a series of 49 was issued and it took most of the 1980s before the whole series was available. After a break of more than 10 years, a re-release on CD started and as said in yesterday’s article, there are at least three more volumes to come.
So the project will have lasted more than 35 years before it is finished but then the worldwide community of Ellington fans and others will have access to a gold mine of Ellington music from 1943-1953 with excellent sound.
The DESS Bulletin 2011:4 includes a long and detailed article by Bo Haufman on the “Your Saturday Date with the Duke” broadcasts and the “Duke Ellington Treasury Shows” series. It is highly recommended.
The first ”Your Saturday Date with the Duke” was broadcasted live with an audience on April 7, 1945 and then every Saturday until October 5, 1946.
The broadcasts were promotions to buy war bonds. Duke Ellington was a true patriot and spoke convincingly about the need to support the country and its war efforts.
Some broadcasts were released already in the 1950s but the quality of the sound was not very good.
The American Ellington scholar, record producer, record engineer and much more, Jerry Valburn, manage to collect all the transcriptions of the broadcasts and issued the whole series of them as the “Duke Ellington Treasury Shows” on LP in the 1980s.
Valburn announced this ambitious project to the members of his record club, Merritt Record Society, in December 1980 and the first three records were distributed in March-April 1981.
In the beginning there were new records almost every month but then there were longer and longer intervals between them and the last volumes became available only towards the end of the 1980s.
For the subscribers, it was not always easy to get the records delivered, possibly because of financial problems of the project. In the end, the best way to get the records was to call Valburn when one was in New York and go and get them. One of the last sets he delivered to me (Ulf) during a lunch at Eddie Condon’s Jazz Club on the last day of the club’s existence.
The sound engineer behind the LP series was Jerry Valburn’s close friend Jack Towers.He was responsible for the transfer of the transcriptions to tape and for the sound editing. In a fascinating interview with Rob Bamberger, Towers described his work which often meant to scrape magnetic particles off the tapes.
The interview is available to DESS members in the Ellington Archive
Already when the project was launched, Valburn announced that a book on the ”Your Saturday Date with the Duke”-broadcasts was to be published. It was to be co-written by Valburn and Benny Aaslund available to subscribers of the DETS-series at half price.
In mid-1982 Valburn reported that the book was more or less finished
However, this was apparently not the case because more than ten years later Valburn announced in DEMS 1994/2: “Duke Ellington and the Treasury Series: This 85 page book is completed and awaiting publishing later this year.”
But the years went on and no book appeared. There are some rumours that it was seen in one form or the other in the offices of Storyville in Copenhagen at the end of the 1990s.
Storyville Records started to issue the DETS-series (with a lot of bonuses added) in 2000. Valburn himself was involved in the beginning as was Jack Towers and he wrote the some of the first CD booklets.
But then this task was taken over by different members of the inner circle of Ellington scholars and collectors. The booklets are very well written and rich in information. If one has got all of them, there is really no reason to hope for a book as well.
The DETS series are available from several sources. The price for a new CD is about 17-18 EUR (Storyville, Amazon, JazzMessengers, Plugged Records) but one can find second-hand ones in shape as new for about 11-13 EUR (Amazon). The most expensive way is to download from iTunes, which charge 20 EUR.
Another way is to listen to the series at Spotify or Apple Music. Both of these streaming audio services offers most of the series but which ones seems to vary from time to time.
Authors: Ulf Lundin / Göran Wallén
Storyvilles utgivning av serien Duke Ellington Treasury Shows serien har nu kommit till volym 21. Totalt skall det bli 24 dubbla CD-volymer.
Den här volymen innehåller vad som fanns på de ursprungliga LP-utgivningarna DETS 40 (6 juli 1946) och LP DETS 41 (27 juli 1946). LP-serien omfattade 49 skivor men redan med LP DETS 46 med material från den 5 oktober 1946 avslutas radioprogrammet ”A Date with Duke”.
De sista tre skivorna I LP-serien innehåller material från juni 1953 (fyra sidor), 1 juli 1953 och 14 april 1945.
Bonusmaterial i volym 21 är dels tre nummer från Lakeside Park, El Patio Ballroom i Denver, Colorado den 14 juli 1942 (som DESS-medlemmar fick som månadsgodis i maj) och tre nummer från Trianon Ballroom i South Gate, Californien den 2 maj 1942.
Noterbart i denna utgåva är att man hyllar Tricky Sam Nanton med tal och orkestern spelar hans favoritnummer i ett medley. Nanton avled natten mellan den 19 och 20 juli 1946.
Cat Anderson framför på sitt speciella sätt ett fint nummer i ”A Gathering in a Clearing” och visar att han inte bara var en höjd specialist.
Författare Göran Wallén / Ulf Lundin