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DESS Bulletin 2021-1
The first issue of the DESS Bulletin for 2021 was sent to the DESS members yesterday. Its editor, Bo Haufman has produced another ambitious issue.
This time, the featured artist is trumpeter Louis Metcalf, who participated in recording sessions with the Ellington band in 1926 and 1927 and finally become a regular member of the orchestra for about a year in late 1927.
In a four-page article, Bo Haufman goes through Metcalf’s life and career with emphasis on his time with Ellington. It is supplemented by a reprint of an “Oral History” interview with Metcalf.
Another theme in the new issue of the DESS Bulletin is Harlem. It has two articles by Bo Haufman himself on the theme – one about the Ellington recordings of s music with Harlem in its name and another about Ellington’s composition The Sidewalks of New York.
A third theme is Ellington’s composition Sepia Panorama. There are two articles on this topic – one is by Mike Zirpolo and another quoted from Walter van de Leur’s presentation at the Ellington ’94 conference in Stockholm on the Ellington-Strayhorn collaboration.
In addition to these six articles, there are some more good reads in the new Bulletin. Just pick it up and find out about them yourself.
Blue Light Autumn 2020
The last issue of DESUK’s Blue Light for 2020 arrived a couple of weeks ago. It is quite research focused. The key article in this section is another impressive piece by Roger Boyes’ series on Ellington in the years of the Petrillo recording ban.
It is titled Live At The Hurricane but it covers much more than the title indicate.
It starts with the aftermath to the Carnegie Hall concert on Jan. 23, 1943 and the ensuing road tour, continues with different aspects of the engagement from April 1, 1943 at the Hurricane Restaurant on the second floor of the Brill Building on 1619 Broadway at 49th Street and ends with discussing the famous Mutual Broadcasts from Hurricane in a wider context.
Another solid and interesting research-oriented article is Pedro Cravinho’s Jazz, Revue and a Thriller. The Response of the Birminham Press to Duke Ellington’s 1933 Tour.
It is developed from a presentation he gave at the 2018 Ellington conference in Birmingham. Because of the organisation of the conference in workshops, many participants were not able to listen to it so it is most welcome that a further developed version is published by Blue Light.
The last articles in the research part deals with the Lockdown Lowdown initiative, which provides weekly broadcasts with all sorts of people with knowledge and views on Ellington.
Finally, the new Blue Light has also an enjoyable article by Brian Priestly full of insights about Clark Terry on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth.
The tireless YouTube observer Brian Koller has drawn the attention of the community of Ellington fans to this new Ellington sound-only video on YouTube. Thank you, Brian.
New Ellington CD from Maison du Duke
The 13th CD in La Maison du Duke’s series of rare Ellington music and performances is available to MDD members since some weeks.
It is titled is Special Occasions with Cab Calloway, Menuhin & Kenton 1955-1963 but Paul Whiteman’s should also have appeared in it because the first part of the CD is from Whiteman’s telecast with Ellington in the CBS’ series America’s Greatest Bands.
This series ran in the summer of 1955 with Whiteman as host and featured in addition to Ellington guests like Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Xavier Cugat, Ralph Flanagan and Eddie Sauter, Gene Krupa, Charlie Barnet, Percy Faith and others.
Ellington appeared on July 9 following Armstrong the week before.
Two weeks later – July 26 – Ellington was featured on another CBS’ telecast called Music ’55. It was hosted by Stan Kenton and was a weekly show, which ran every Tuesday night from July 12 to September 13 1955.
The CD has Ellington playing a couple of bars of Artistry In Rhythm and then sharing Take The A Train with Stan Kenton at a separate piano. This is followed by Yehudi Menuhin performing Come Sunday together with Ellington.
Missing from the CD is Ellington narrating Pretty And The Wolf (aka Monologue) with the Kenton “television band” doing the music part.
However, it is included in full filmclip of the July 26 Music telecast. The clip also demonstrates that the principal guest of the show was Yehudi Menuhin and not Ellington.
Kenton’s new singer Ann Richards, who had joined the band 6 months before, also appear in the clip and sings two songs.
The show ends with an “exotic” dance number to Peanut Vendor.
The final part of the CD – and the most enjoyable one – is the concert in Lambertville, New Jersey on August 12, 1963 when Cab Calloway stepped in to conduct the Ellington orchestra and Billy Strayhorn took over the piano chair.
Ellington was at the time in Chicago for the final preparations of the premiere of My People, which opened four days later.
The concert had two parts – a first one with the typical repertoire of the Ellington orchestra at the time and a second with Calloway singing some of his popular songs. Only one of them – St. James Infirmary – is on the CD.
The first part of the concert has previously been issued on the Azure CA 19 cassette.
Like previous MDD CDsones, the new one is only available for members of La Maison du Duke. The membership fee is 20 euros and in addition one has to pay 5 euros for the postage.