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Bill Berry and Buster Cooper interview

Bildresultat för Bill Berry and Buster Cooper

In the November 2018 issue of the DESS Bulletin, Bill Berry (1930-2002), ex-Ellington trumpeter, was featured rather heavily. We came across an interview by doctor Michael Woods, where he was talking to not only Bill Berry, but also Buster Cooper (1929-1916) who played in Ellington’s trombone section from 1962 to 1969. Berry was a member of the trumpet section in the beginning in 1962 and also later on played with Ellington on a few other occasions, so the two men’s tenure with the band was over-lapping for a few months.


By clicking above you will be able to se and hear this interesting interview from 1995. We hope you will enjoy it!

New CD from DESS


DESS and its sister organization  in UK, DESUK, have together produced a CD as a gift to the members, just in time for Christmas. This year we have selected a dance date from the Holiday Ballroom in Chicago on November 10, 1957. The band is the same as appeared at the Newport Festival in the previous year, except that Harold Baker on trumpet and Ozzie Bailey, vocal, are added.

Blue Jean Beguine

The sound on the CD is quite all right, and above you’ll find a sample with Cat Anderson playing trumpet on his own composition. The sound of the audience adds to the autenticity of this real dance date. The contents can be seen on the copy of the CD booklet (top picture), which on its inside has got interesting liner notes by Roger Boyes. We find some rare numbers in the program, such as Mambo Jambo by Perez Prado, In The Mood by Joe Garland and Happy One by Duke himself. In the years just after the Newport ’56 Ferstival, Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue with the Wailing Interval was more or less mandatory in any appearance by Duke Ellington and his orchestra.

We wish all DESS members happy listening!


DESS Bulletin 2018-4

The last 2018 issue of the DESS Bulletin should have reached the DESS members in Sweden by now but members in other countries might have to wait some more days.

Bill Berry – trumpeter and big band leader who played with Ellington from Dec. 4 1961 to mid-Sep. 1962 – is a key feature of the issue. He is covered in three articles.

The Swedish jazz critic Jan Olsson has contributed the longest one, in which he summaries Berry’s career and particulalrly his time with Ellington. It is supplemented by an interview of Berry by Steve Voce c 1979/1980 and a non-credited article about how got engaged with Ellington.

An article by Mike Zirpolo from his blog ”Swing & Beyond” about Ben Webster and Cotton Tail is another feature in the new Bulletin. It is both a short portrait of Webster before his time with Duke and a guide into of Cotton Tail.

For the rest, it is Bo Haufman’s pen, which has been working.

He contributes no less than five article. Bo gives the readers a portrait of Willie ”The Lion” Smith, presents the new DESS CD (see below), walks us through some of the Ellington memorials, look at the issue of Ellington and colours and tells us how some Ellington tunes got their names.

The Winter issue of the Bulletin comes with a new DESS CD. It is most of The Holiday Ballroon dance date from Nov. 10, 1957 and has been produced in collaboration with DESUK.

It will be presented in an article on the website in a couple of days.

Ellington-serie på Sveriges Radio 1994 (10)

Vi har nu kommit till det tionde och sista programmet i Jan Bruérs och Lars Westins serie om Duke Ellington. Det sändes den 16 maj 1994 och har titeln ”In a Mellotone”.

Det är ett sammanfattande program, som ger ett brett panorama över Ellingtons musik och verk och utgör en elegant slutpunkt för Jans och Lars uttömmande programserie om ”Mästaren”.

Med den har gav de alla Ellington- och andra jazzvänner i Sverige tio kvällar av lyssningsglädje inför Ellington ’94-konferensen.

Idag är programserien också ett fantastiskt verktyg för att introducera Ellington för dem som ännu inte hittat vägen till honom.

Ett varmt tack till Jan och Lars för båda dessa saker!

Liksom de tidigare programmen i serien finns det här programmet tillgängligt för DESS-medlemmar i radiodelen av Elllington-arkivet.

DR Ellington Broadcasts (26)

The fourth  ”goodie” in September is program 26 in the Duke Ellington series broadcasted by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. The broadcast is available in the ”Goodies” section of the website.

This program was broadcasted on July 19, 1985 and the announcer is Bjarne Busk.

It combines a stockpile session from 1971 with excerpts from Ellington’s concert in the Coventry Cathedral February 21, 1966.

The February 1-3, 1971 stockpile session features the singer Bobby Gordon in three number – Rocks In My Bed, Love You Madly and Looking For My Man.

”Not a very subtle singer”, one commentator has said but she certainly rocks with a strong bluesy feeling. She toured with Ellington for 15 months in 1971-1973 under her artistic name Nell Brookshire.

The stockpile part of the broadcast ends with Peke – another groovy blues with Wild Bill Davis in a prominent role together with Ellington. Harold Ashby, Malcolm Taylor and Cootie Williams also solo. Peke was later issued by Storyville on the Togo Brava Suite CD.

Next comes four selections from Coventry Cathedral – Come Easter, Tell Me It’s The Truth, West Indian Pancake and La Plus Belles Africaine. For those, who have not yet bought Storyville’s complete version of the concert, have now the opportunity to hear half of it.

The broadcast ends with Ellington soloing on the piano in Japan in 1964. Bjarne Busk’s appeal to the listerners to help him to identify what Ellington is playing. It turned out to be an early version of something that later developed into Ad Lib on Nippon. In the Ellington discographies it is listed as Nagoya.



Meadowbrook Gardens Cafe Oct. 4-5 1947

Bildresultat för Tyree Glenn on vibra

Listen to the vibraphone player!

Medowbrook Gardens, situated in Culver City, California,  burned down to the ground in 1948. It had been started as Sebastian’s Cotton Club, transformed into Casa Mañana and later Meadowbrook Gardens. Duke Ellington and his orchestra played here in 1946 and 1947 (and also earlier in Casa Mañana). We can offer the DESS-members some unissued broadcast material from October 4 and 5 in 1947 with some unusual features. Just go to the Goodies Room! (mer…)

New York honors Duke Ellington 1965

The decision by the Pulitzer Prize Advisory Board in May 1965 to reject the recommendation by its Music Jury that Duke Ellington should be awarded a Special Citation created an outcry in the music community and in civil rights circles.

In the aftermath of this, the City of New York decided to confer on him its Bronze Medallion – the highest award it can give a civilian.

Ellington received the award on August 2, 1965 at a reception in front of the New York City Hall.

In an one and a half page article in the August 14 issue of The New Yorker, its jazz critic and columnist Whitney Balliett tells about the event.

”Many people of the jazz world and many city officials were on hand for the presentation.” Willis Conover, Nesuhi Ertegun (of Atlantic Records), Arthur Spingarn (President of the NAACP) were among them. Duke arrived with ”his wife, his sister Ruth and his nephew Stephen”.

At the end of the ceremony acting New York Mayor Paul Screvane presented the award and read the inscription on the medal: ”Presented in appreciation to Edward Kennedy Ellington, Known as Duke–‘Musician of Every Year’–distinguished composer and worldwide Ambassador of Good Will–By Robert F. Wagner, Mayor of the City of New York, by the hand of the Acting Mayor, on this 2nd day of August, 1965.”

Before this Duke’s personal physician, Dr. Arthur Logan and the pianist Billy Taylor had made personal laudatory remarks and a band including Clark Terry, Billy Taylor, Jerome Richardson, Ben Tucker and Joe Benjamin had played some Ellington music. A five-piece Departement of Sanitation band had done this as well.

The whole ceremony was recorded and can be heard below.

25 years later, in 1999, Ellington was posthumously awarded a special Pulitzer Prize ”commemorating the centennial year of his birth, in recognition of his musical genius, which evoked aesthetically the principles of democracy through the medium of jazz and thus made an indelible contribution to art and culture.”

Was it ”better late than never”?




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