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Following the publication on June 26 of Jack Chamber’s article on Duke Ellington’s stockpile session in Toronto in 1972, two people, who attended that recording session, has contacted him and provided some additional information. Jack likes to share this information with the readers of the DESS website.
“In my DESS entry for June, I quoted an excerpt from Bill King’s interview with the late engineer George Semkiw, where he recalled setting up the studio for (what George called) “a secret session” with Ellington.
I inferred that the recording session must have taken place at RCA Studio Toronto, which was George’s main workplace.
However, Ted O’Reilly, the Toronto broadcaster who attended that session as Ellington’s guest, told me after he had read my article that he swears to the gods of jazz that the Collier stuff was done at Thunder with Phil. I am not putting down George’s recollection: he may have been Sheridan’s assistant, doing the setup at that session, as he would have done at others, but it was not at RCA.” Bill Smith, co-editor of Coda, who also attended the recording session, emphatically agrees.
Also George Semkiw thought the session took place on a Saturday or Sunday. But Ellington and the orchestra were playing in Seekonk, Massachusetts on Saturday June 24 and in Endicott, New York on Sunday June 25).
The Toronto recording sessions took place on Thursday June 22, the day before the orchestra performed at O’Keefe Centre in Toronto, and on Tuesday June 27, the day before they played a dance date in the town of West Lorne, Ontario, 150 miles west of Toronto (as in Stratemann, Ellington Day By Day and Film By Film).
So the venue for the sessions is Thunder Sound Studio, Toronto (not Toronto Sound Studio, as in most discographies, and also not RCA Studios Toronto, as I suggested in the previous article). The dates are June 22 and June 27 1972.
Ted O’Reilly and Bill Smith may be the only survivors of the many guests who attended the session. They also agree on a detail that partly explains the lack of contemporary documentation about it.
Bill Smith brought his camera, as always, but, he says, “I was asked not to take photographs of Duke as he was too scruffy.” O’Reilly also recalls “the unshaven and disheveled Ellington saying to [Smith], ‘No pictures – Duke doesn’t feel pretty today’, so he put his camera down.” As a result, the session is not documented in Coda magazine.”
The first issue for 2017 has started to arrive in the mailboxes of DESUK members.
The postman delivered it to my box a couple of days after I learned about the passing-away of DESUK’s Chairman, Geoff Smith and it is moving to read his “From The Chairman” editorial. As always, he talks about the next thing to do to serve DESUK members and the world-wide Ellington community. Geoff was a man full of energy and kindness and he will be deeply missed by our community! The website sends its condolences to his family.
Otherwise, the key feature in the new issue is an eight pages long article by DESUK member Stuart Emerson about “Such Sweet Thunder”. It is fascinating to follow his steps to solve some of the mysteries linked to the suite and doing so widen our perspective on the work.
Also the Blue Light editor, Ian Bradley, tries to solve a mystery. In his article he tells us about “The Jaywalker” play – its background and the music. Another good reading!
In the “News” part, we are told about the venture of Birmingham Conservatoire to form a new Ellington orchestra. From September 2017, it will play every two weeks at the Conservatoire’s jazz club.
Blue Light is the 24 pages quarterly magazine of The Duke Ellington Society UK (DESUK) and is distributed to members of The Duke Ellington Society UK who pay an annual subscription of £25.00.
It offers an eclectic mix of news, reviews and articles written by members of DESUK and international Ellington and Strayhorn experts.
The magazine also promotes the release of recordings by Duke Ellington and his orchestra, radio and television broadcasts on Ellington-related themes as well as supporting the vibrant scene of newly recorded and live performances today of the music of Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington.
Over the years, Blue Light has published major retrospectives on and many accounts of on Ellington’s tours of the UK written by Ellington scholars or by who saw the Orchestra perform live or who, indeed, worked with Ellington.
Blue Light aims to reflect a truly international perspective. In recent years, in particular, we have developed close ties with Ellington aficionados the world over.
With regard to future developments, we have one or two exciting projects in hand for the next twelve months, taking to heart the motto of Billy Strayhorn: Ever onward and upward. (more…)
DESS har ett nära och bra samarbete med vår systerorganisation i Storbritannien, DESUK. Som en följd av detta kommer DESS-medlemmar från och med nu att ha tillgång till äldre årgångar av DESUKs kvartalstidskrift Blue Light i pdf-format. Det handlar om nummer, som är äldre än två år, och med början från nummer 2011:1. De kommer att finnas tillgängliga i Ellington-arkivet.
DESS has a close and good cooperation with our fellow organization in the U.K. DESUK. Thanks to this, from now on members of DESS will have access to older issues of DESUK’s quarterly magazine Blue Light in pdf format. It will be issues older than two years and the arrangement starts with issues 2011:1. They can be accessed in the Ellington Archive.