Ellington 2021 – Ken Steiner


Ken Steiner has contributed to many Ellington Conferences – Stockholm, London, Amsterdam, Portland, New York, and was scheduled for a presentation at  last year’s conference in DC.

This time, his task was to present the Never-Issued Rarities, which Steven Lasker  had generously made available for Ellington 2021. Ken handled the job in an elegant and humorous way.



The presentation triggered many comments in the chat room including many thanks to Steven Lasker for letting the Ellington 2021 participants listen to the seven rarities . The comments can be read here.

Ken first fell under the spell of Duke Ellington’s music when he heard Duke in concert at Georgetown University on February 10, 1974.   He’s been researching Ellington ever since.











Ellington 2021 – David Berger

Day #2 of Ellington 2021 took place on May 3rd. The program is available here.

David Berger opened the day with his presentation Flaming Youth: Ellington’s 1920 Compositions. For more than an hour, he guided the meeting participants through East St. Louis Toodle-oo and Old Man Blues with the scores and the music provided in parallell.



The presentation was really a preview of what one can expect to find in five-volume book series on Ellington’s music that David is currently working on. Each volume will include analyses of 8-10 scores (https://www.suchsweetthundermusic.com/pages/the-ellington-effect). The first volume is expected to be published this year.

More previews are available in the Zoom workshops David is organizing every month (https://courses.suchsweetthundermusic.com).





Ellington 2021 – Bent Persson



Bent Persson – Swedish trumper, arranger and transciber – did the last presentation of the first day of Ellington 2021. He talked about Kustbandet – 60 Years with Ellington.

As a member of the orchestra for almost 40 years, Bent knows about it and demonstrated this in his presentation. He had selected musical examples from the late 1960’s to the early 21st century with a particular emphasis on Kustbandet’s appearance in Paris in 1984.



Learn more about Bent at http://www.bentpersson.se and about Kustbandet at http://www.kustbandet.se. Listen also to both of them on YouTube.


Ellington 2021 – Samantha Wright


She is a British jazz clarinet player and researcher and a jazz clarinet teacher at Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hamburg since 2019.

Her 2019 thesis was on Ellington’s clarinetists and she expanded on it in her presentation Ellington’s Clarinet Players.



Learn more about Samantha at  http://www.samanthawright.co.uk.

Among other things, there is a link to her blog Jazz Clarinet Players, which has a recent post with the scores to the music she played in her presentation.

Samantha  is also composing and arranging  for her own ensemble.

Her debut album is released with a concert on Hamburg Stream on Sunday 23 May at 20:25 CEST. It will be streamed on YouTube. All information about it can be found here https://hamburg.stream/samantha-wright/

Ellington 2021 – Leïla Olivesi


LeÏla Olivesi – pianist, composer, band leader and lecturer at meetings of Le Maison du Duke – followed John E Hasse on the first day of Ellington 2021. Her talk was about Ellington’s Piano Performances : A Laboratory for Composition.


Comments in the Zoom chat

Learn more about her at http://www.leilaolivesi.com.


Ellington 2021 – John E. Hasse

The first session of Ellington 2021 took place on April 29 in honor of the Duke’s birthday.

The program for Day #1 is available here.

Some 70 people from Canada, Denmark, Italy, Israel, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. attended on Zoom.

After the opening of the event by Bo Haufman and Ulf Lundin, the invited key note speaker John E. Hasse, Curator Emeritus At Smithsonian (https://johnedwardhasse.com), delivered the first presentation of the day.









Ted Hudson In Memoriam

With the passing away of Theodore (Ted) R. Hudson on April 27 at the age of 99, the Ellington community lost an important member and a good friend to many of us. He was a wonderful person and a true gentleman.

In his gentle way, Ted was always there to give a helping hand when one needed a piece of information on Duke Ellington, help to open doors to archives in Washington D.C. or photos from Ellington meetings and conferences.

He had a distinguished academic career and was Professor of English at the Howard University in Washington D.C. for many years with Afro-American literature as a speciality.

Ted was one of the pillars of Chapter 90 of the Duke Ellington Society in Washington as its vice-president and editor of its newsletter for many years.

When the Ellington conferences got off the ground in 1983, he also became a regular participant in and a presenter at many of them. His presentations often reflected his commitment to the black cause and his knowledge of Afro American literature.

Here are two examples of Ted’s presentations at Ellington conferences. But there are others on the website.

At Ellington ’93 in New York, his topic was Toward an Ellington Aesthetic.

And at Ellington ’94 in Stockholm, his presentation was on Ellington’s childhood in Washington D.C. or rather the racial, religious and educational and social  settings in which he grew up.


Ted, thank you for what you have given us. We will miss you.

New Issue of DESS Bulletin

The Spring Issue of the DESS Bulletin has arrived in the mailbox of DESS members.

As usual it is of interesting articles, most of them written by the energetic Bulletin editor and DESS President, Bo Haufman.

The cover artist in the new issue is Joya Sherrill.

In a five-page article, Haufman portraits The Ellington Songbird, as he calls her. He tells how the seventeen years old Sherrill came to join Ellington in the summer of 1942 (in July Sherrill says herself but according to TDWAW it was in August). It was a short stay of four months since she had to go back to school.

Two years later, she was back with Ellington but stayed only for 15 months because she was getting married.

However, she was one of Ellington’s favorite singers and he called her back on special occasions like for A Drum Is A Woman and My People. According to the article, she was offered to take part in The Sacred Concerts but she turned it down.

The article also covers Sherrill’s recording career with Ellington and on her own as well as her television career and participation in Ellington conferences.

Other articles by Bo Haufman’s in the Bulletin are among others “Duke Ellington och hans djungel”, Duke Ellington Swinging the classics”, “Check Webb oh Duke Ellington”.

Bo has also found time to write an article about Gerald Wilson based on “The Jazz Pilgrimage of Gerald Wilson, which was publsihed a couple of years ago.

In conclusion, another issue of the DESS Bulletin full of good reading.


Concerts In Sweden

Malmö, Nov 10, 1971

Exploring Malmö

Malmö Stadsteater, where the concert took place in the evening of Nov 10, 1971

At this point in time, we are close to the end of our stock of Duke Ellington concerts in Sweden.The day before Duke and the band had played two concerts in Uppsala, and the 2nd of these had only ended in the small hours of  the 10th of November, which was the date set for the Malmö concert. These two cities are not exactly neighbors. The night-morning trip to Malmö must have covered some 600 km or so.

The exciting thing about this concert is that we get a glimpse of a Swedish female singer, Lena Junoff, in a rare rendition of I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart in which also Ben Webster plays a short solo.

Lena sings the text in both English and Swedish

Lena Junoff, sångerska, utsatt för äggattacker: "Det är bedrövligt"

The only issued recording of Lena Junoff singing with Duke Ellington is from the Conny Plank session in 1970, where she performs wordless singing in Afrique.

As can be heard from music example above, the sound quality is not the best, since it obviously comes from a private recording. The performance in Malmö is partly similar to that of the Uppsala concert, mixed with a few additions. The complete program is as follows: (more…)

Concerts in Sweden

The Uppsala Concerts, Nov. 9, 1971

The concert venue: Uppsala University

During Duke Ellington’s 1971 concert tour in Europe, there were only two concert dates in Sweden, Uppsala on Nov. 9 and Malmö on Nov. 10. We have presented the first concert in Uppsala on these pages before and we can now present the 2nd concert together with some rare extra material.

The changes in band personell from the 1970 tour mainly concerned the trumpet section with Money Johnson, Eddie Preston and John Coles replacing Cat Anderson, Fred Stone and Nelson Williams, while Harold Minerve had been added to the sax section. Due to a long Medley and a performance of HARLEM, this,  second concert that night, went well into the small hours of January 10. (more…)

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