DUKE ELLINGTON SOCIETY OF SWEDEN

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Sherman Hotel, Chicago, juli-augusti 1942

Bildresultat för Hotel Sherman Chicago in 1942

För några år sedan gav DESS ut en CD till sina medlemmar med material från The Panther Room, Hotel Sherman, Chicago. inspelat från radioutsändningar i september/oktober år 1940. Två år senare var Duke Ellington och hans orkester tillbaka igen, med i huvudsak samma musiker, dock hade Barney Bigard, Cootie Williams och Jimmy Blanton ersatts av respektive Chancey Haughton, Ray Nance och Alvin ”Junior” Raglin.

Orkesterns engagemang påbörjades den 13 juli och varade till den 13 augusti 1942 Denna period sammanföll med Ellingtons sista inspelningar innan det mer än två år långa inspelningsförbudet trädde i kraft. Från sistnämnda period finns inte lika mycket material bevarat, och ljudkvaliteten på för oss tillgängliga bandkopior, lämnar faktiskt en hel del att önska och det mesta därför outgivet. Det som presenteras  här har alltså aldrig kommit ut på skiva.

Joya Sherrill i Manhattan Serenade

Detta är Joya Sherrills (ännu ej fyllda 18) debut som vokalist med Duke Ellington.Tråkigt nog är denna sekvens allt som vi har med Joya från det här tillfället. Hon skulle på allvar etablera sig som sångerska med orkestern ett par år senare.

I Godisrummet hittar DESS’ medlemmar en halv timmas musik i samma stil. (mer…)

Ellington ’92 in Copenhagen (2)

The Danish bass player and radioman Erik Moseholm was another speaker on this theme. His topic was the Danish bass tradition and the inspiration of Ellington’s basists on it. He talked about the guitarist/basist Niels Foss the first major Danish bass player, Oscar Pettiford, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and of course about himself. The classical bass teacher Oscar Hegner and his 4-finger-technique features also prominently in the presentation.

Moseholm’s presentation was followed by a live demonstration by two – at that time – young Danish bass players, Jesper Lundgaard and Mads Vinding. Unfortunately, the performance was not recorded, presumably for copyright reasons.

Another major theme for the conference was ”The Passing on of The Ellington Tradition”.

Stanley Crouch was the first speaker on this theme. In his presentation ”The Temporary Significance of Duke Ellington” he talked a lot about the early roots of jazz and placed Ellington in this context.

It was followed by a panel discussion, in which Crouch participated together with Andrew Homzy, Peter Watrous and Erik Wiedeman. The topic of the panel was Recreating Ellington – Problems and Rewards.

The chairman of the panel, Dan Morgenstern, asked it to focus on ”to what extent is it possible to create/recreate Ellington’s music”. He also brought in the issue: ”How can Ellington’s legacy  best be used in today’s jazz”.

This led to an interesting discussion with comments with relevance also today.

Ellington ’92 in Copenhagen (1)

The 10th Ellington Study Group Conference took place in Copenhagen May 28-31, 1992.

The lead organisers of the conference were Arnvid Meyer, Niels Toft and Karl Emil Knudsen – three leading figures in the Danish jazz and Ellington community. They organised the conference together with the recently founded ”The Scandinavian Duke Ellington Society – Danish Chapter”.

It followed in the path of previous Ellington conferences and offered an ambitious program mixing musical events and presentations.

The full program is here.

Unfortunately only recordings of the presentations are available and they are sound recording made by the organisers. It seems as if Benny Åslund, who attended the conference, did some filming but the videos have not been found so far.

Photo Bjarne Busk

Bjarne Busk was one of the participants in the conference. He remembers it as ”a serious one, with a lot of information, and a lot of music”.

”On the first day of the conference, nine jazzclubs in Copenhagen had organized concerts and sessions linked to the conference and the conference participants had got 2 tickets to use how they liked.

At one of the places Mercer Ellington conducted a fine Danish big band. I also remember the closing dance with groups of musicians, including Buster Cooper and Clark Terry, and some with the great swedes Rolf Billberg, Arne Domnerus and Rolf Ericson.”

Bo Haufman was another participants. He was one of the first to register for the conference. ”I was actually the third one to do so”, he says. ”The Falconer Center in Copenhagen was the conference venue and it was absolutely perfect for this.

Leonard Feather is one of the presenters Bo remembers particularly well. ”He started his presentation by saying ”Duke is not dead”

”It was also very interesting to hear Erik Moseholm presentation about the inspiration of Ellington’s bass player to the Danish Bass Tradition bearing in mind that Denmark is known for its excellent bass player.”

”Among the many musical events, I remember in particular a concert by Arne Domnérus och Bengt Hallberg, says Bo also. ”They had composed a special number called  ”Jazz Å Du”.

Arnvid Meyer chaired the first session of the conference.

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One angle in the program was Ellington in Denmark.  Erik Wiedemann – Mr. Jazz in Denmark – was the first presenter on this theme. He talked about four Danish jazz recording with a strong Ellington influence.

The first one was Copenhagen Rhapsody played by the leading Danish big band in the early 30’s led by Erik Tuxen. Then Wiedemann gave the audience first a recording by a piano-bass combo with Borge Roger Henrichsen and Niels Foss, which played Preludium in C followed by Donkey Party played by a band led by Leo Mathisen. Both of them from the early 1940’s when Denmark was under occupation.

Wiedeman’s last example was actually a 1990 recording of an Ellington composition – The Mooche – but played in avant-guard way by Pierre Dørge & New Jungle Orchestra.

 

 

Sacred Concert Barcelona Nov.10, 1973

On Oct. 23, 1973 Duke Ellington arrived in England to start his last tour of Europe. It lasted for six weeks, which included one week of concerts in some East Africa countries.

An important element of the tour was the Third Sacred Concert, which had been commissioned from Ellington in 1972 for the 25th anniversary celebrations of the United Nations in London on Oct. 24, 1973.

In Duke Ellington’s America, Harvey G. Cohen says that Ellington ”stayed up two nights straight before the premiere trying to finish the concert and even then he was writing music up to tem minutes before the showtime”.

Anyhow, the Third Sacred Concert was performed as scheduled but the reviews were mixed.

At he time of the performance in Westminster Abbey, Ellington was apparently not aware that he was expected to do another Third Sacred Concert in Barcelona two weeks later.

Alice Babs told the story about this to the participants of the Oldham ’88 Ellington conference.

So Alice Babs arrived in Barcelona in the evening of Nov. 9, 1973 and given the circumstances it is understandable that she was not at ease. Ellington and the orchestra were playing a concert in Lisbon that night and it is doubtful if they arrived in Barcelona before the afternoon of the day of the Barcelona concert.

The whole situation is well captured in an opening sequence of the film of the concert in Basilica De Santa Maria Del Mar. It is two rather stressed persons, who arrives in the church.

It is an evidence of the extraordinary professionalism of Ellington, Alice Babs and the members of the Ellington orchestra that the concert took place at all and even got an enthusiastic reception by the audience.

With the concert in Basilica De Santa Maria Del Mar in Barcelona on Nov. 10, 1973 concert, we wish all members of DESS and other visitors to the website Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. We hope that you will follow the website also  next year and we are already planning to provide you with more ”goodies”

Don’t forget to pay DESS membership fee for 2019. It allows us to stay alive. This is how you do it.

 

Ellington at Newport 1963

Bildresultat för Cat Anderson

The Cat is back!

Eighth Veil

Cat Anderson left the Ellington band after the European Tour ended in March 1963 and was absent during the summer tour that same year, to return only on the 6th of July, when the band played at Freebody Park at Newport. Nobody seems to know what he was doing during that absence. Ellington had a great band also that year, and he was probably very comfortable in returning to the ”place of the crime of 1956”. DESS members will find parts of Ellington’s concert in Newport in the Goodies Room.

After the Theme has been played we here an unusual version of Take The A Train, with the bass player Ernie Shepard as the vocalist. Afro-Bossa, which was a new composition by Ellington, was played next, with virtually all the soloists that the band could muster at this occasion. (mer…)

Soccer Club, US Army, Wiesbaden, May 25, 1963

Duke Ellington and Paul Gonsalves in 1963

(Photo is not from the Soccer Club)

Just before Duke Ellington and his orchestra played the week-long engagement at Gröna Lund in Stockholm in June 1963, a brief visit was made in Germany. We will let our members enjoy an unissued recording from a typical dance date for the US troops stationed in Germany. In this version of the Ellington band, Cat Anderson was missing and Rolf Ericson had just joined. The bass player was Eddie Shepard, who had a short stay with the band, a couple of years later he suffered a heart attack and died, but then he had already left the Ellington orchestra.

Diminuendo In Blue & Wailing Interval

The rest of this dance date (the long medley is omitted) can be found in the Goodies section. (mer…)

The Degas Suite

Over the last week, we have published articles on Danish Radio’s Ellington broadcasts Nos. 31 and 32. These broadcasts are very much focused on the music Ellington composed and recorded for the art film Degas’ Racing World (sometimes referred to as The Impressionists at the Racetrack. The soundtrack for this never completed film is what is called The Degas Suite.

The film was the brainchild of the American film maker Sam Shaw. He was the producer of Paris Blues and this is how he got acquainted with Duke Ellington.

The idea of Racing World was apparently triggered by a major exhibition of impressionists and post-impressionists works with horse track and horse racing motives, which Shaw saw during his stay in Paris for Paris Blues.

He approached Ellington to write the music for the film, which he accepted. According to Stanley Dance, Ellington even was ”enthusiastic” about it.

The music was recorded on three occasions, November 6, November 23 and December 3, 1968.

”After seeing the Degas material for the first time, Ellington decided to use just four horns and piano” (Dance). However, in the end, Ellington changed his mind and involved himself and 9 of his band members  in the recording of the music.

Before the film projected stopped because of lack of money, a sound track for the film was put together out of the recorded music. Ellington got the rights to it as a compensation for having paid for the studio time and for his musicians.

But he never made use of the sound track and he does not refer to the (unissued) film and The Degas Suite in Music Is My Mistress. This can be interpreted as there was no Degas Suite to him, just a soundtrack of a failed film project.

Instead, the originator of the name The Degas Suite is Stanley Dance. For the fifth volume of the Ellington Private Collection issued in 1987, he selected a set of takes from the Racing World recording sessions based on the soundtrack and issued them under the name of The Degas Suite in the CD album. In his liner notes, he says ”The soundtrack…solves the problem of deciding which takes Ellingtom himself considered definitive”.

His selections and the order of them are slightly different from the one Erik V. Krustrup had in DR 31 and 32.

A comparative list can be found on page 582 in Klaus Stratemann’s ”Duke Ellington Day by Day, Film by Film”

In 1987, the President of the Southern California Chapter of the Duke Ellington Society, William Fawcett Hill, together with the art historian James Dobbs, decided to produce a reconstruction of Degas’ Racing World. They did so without having able to find any of the original film clips and getting only vague information when he interviewed Sam Shaw.

So the ”reconstruction” must be considered as a rather personal interpretation of the original film both as regards the paintings which appears and the order of the music.

It was shown at the Ellington ’88 conference in Oldham and now DESS members can also enjoy it. We apologise for the poor quality of the images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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