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Hertigens spelmän – program 3

Det tredje programmet i Jan Bruérs radioserie Hertigens spelmän sändes den 10 aug. 1981.

Det handlar om trombonisterna i Ellingtons orkester. Fokus är på trombontrion Tricky-Sam Nanton, Lawrence Brown och Juan Tizol. Men programmet bjuder också på Tyree Glenn och Booty Wood.

DESS’ medlemmar kan lyssna till det här.

Hoppas att programmet smakar!

Hertigens spelmän – program 2

Det andra programmet i Jan Bruérs radioserie Hertigens spelmän sändes den 3 aug. 1981.

Det handlar om trumpetarna i Ellingtons orkester.

DESS’ medlemmar kan lyssna till det här.

Bubber Miley, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart, Ray Nance och Clark Terry hörs i programmet.

God lyssning!

Autumn 2019 Issue of DESS Bulletin

The new Bulletin with a lot of good reading was sent out to DESS members a couple of days ago.

Betty Roché is the featured artist this time.

Bo Haufman has written the main article about her. For him she is Duke’s ”unforgettable vocalist”. The article is supplemented by a discography of Betty Roché outside the Ellington organization.

The second installment of Nigel Haslewood’s article about Al Sears is also another major read in the new Bulletin.

Two well-known Ellington compositions – Rocks In My Bed and Mood Indigo – are presented in separate articles. From his website ”Swing and Beyond” Mike Zirpolo has contributed the article on Rocks In My Bed while the one about Mood Indigo is written by Bo Haufman.

He has also contributed an article about Frank Sebastian’s Cotton Club in Culver City in Los Angeles. In later incarnations it is also known as Casa Mañana and Meadowbrook Gardens Café.

The new Bulletin also reprints (with some changes) Anders Asplund’s article about Duke Ellington’s concert in Storvik on April 23, 1939, which  was published on the DESS website last year.

In addition to all this, readers can find in information about the 2020 Duke Ellington Conference in Washington D.C. and a review of a DVD with one of Ellington’s last concerts in the next to last issue of  DESS Bulletin for 2019.


Smått och gott i augusti / Bits and Pieces in August

New Ellington Books (2)

The American writer and jazz columist Con Chapman has written a biography about Johnny Hodges. The title is Rabbit’s Blues – The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges.

It is not entirely clear if it has been published yet. According to the website of the publisher – Oxford University Press – the book will be published Nov. 1 but both new and used copies of it are available at amazon.com. The price for a hardcopy is 27,95 USD. It is also available as an e-book (Kindle) for 14 USD less. However, the book is currently not available on the European Amazon websites.

The web editor has taken advantage of the e-book offer and has read it this week.

It gives a very complete story of the life and career of Johnny Hodges. The book  takes the reader the from Hodges’ birth to his death with almost overwhelming details. His references and footnotes indicates that he has read everything that has already been written about Hodges and used it to a very comprehensive book.

The website will not review the book in detail but recommend its vistors to read the excellent review, which former Blue Light editor Ian Bradly published on his website a couple of days ago. The url is http://villesville.blogspot.com/.

Ellingtonkonferensen 2020

The 26th Duke Ellington Study Group Conference will take place in Washington D.C. at Georgetown University on March 11-15 next year. The organiser of the conference is Professor Anna Celenza, who holds the Thomas E. Caestecker Chair in Music at Georgetown University and had written extensively about Duke Ellington.

With this it is obvious that academic musicologists have taken over the relay as regards Ellington conferences. Out of the last three only one – New York 2016 – has been organised by a Duke Ellington Society or equivalent.

The web editor spoke to Dr. Matthias Heyman about this at the 2018 Ellington Conference in Birmingham. He had just before the conference obtained a PhD of Arts at the University of Antwerp in 2018 with his doctorial thesis on Jimmy Blanton.


The theme for the 2020 conference is Mapping Duke Ellington’s World.

This theme is broadly conceived by the organizers and can include presentations and performances on a range of topics including Ellington’s travels/tours, Ellington’s collaborators, Ellington collections/archives around the world, transcription as a form of musical mapping, musical landscapes in Ellington’s works, mapping the Ellington imagination, Ellington and film, Ellington iconography, and the reception history of Ellington’s works/performances”.

The deadline for proposing papers was August 15 but possibly proposals can still be submitted.

In addition to presentations of academic papers, panels and roundtables there will be cultural walks and visits in Washington D.C. as well as a program of performances by local Washington DC performers.

Keynote speakers will be

Professor Thomas Brothers, Duke University who has published books on Louis Armstrong as well as Duke Ellington

Dr. John E. Hasse, Curator Emeritus at Smithsonian and author of Beyond Categories: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington and many other books.

Professor Tammy Kernodle, Society of American Music

The conference will open with a concert at the classical jazz club Blues Alley in Georgetown.

A website – http://www.ellington2020.org – is already in place. There one can find more information about the conference and buy conference tickets, book hotel and more.

A ticket to the five-day conference is 75 USD for those retired and 100 USD for younger participants. The prices are valid until Dec. 15

Ellington’s Sacred Concerts

The Jazz History Online blog (https://jazzhistoryonline.com), with Thomas Cunniffe as editor, published a very extensive article on Ellington’s Sacred Concerts before the summer. It is highly recommended for everyone interested in the concerts.

Cunniff writes about how each concert developed and about the main songs in each of them. It is richly illustrated by photos and video clips (including some provided by DESS from the Second Sacred Consert in the Gustaf Vasa Cathedral

The article can be read at https://jazzhistoryonline.com/duke-ellingtons-sacred-concerts.

New pods at Ellington Reflections

The website Ellington Reflections  (https://ellingtonreflections.com/) continues tirelessly to produce podcasts on  different topics related to Ellington. During the summer it has published five new ones.

Portrait of Lawrence Brown 1 and 2 (July 21 and August 4 2019)

The Treasury Shows 4 (July 7 2019)

Old Wine and New Bottles (June 16 2019)

Portrait of Otto Hardwicke (June 2 2019

New Ellington Books (1)

In the beginning of July, Jack Chambers – professor of Linguistics at the University of Toronto and well-known jazz writer – published  a new book. This time it is about Duke Ellington and entitled Sweet Thunder.

It is not a traditional biography but a book, which explores the music of the Maestro by tracing nine themes throughout his 50-year career as composer, orchestrator, pianist and leader.

It brings together into a comprehensive unity articles on Ellington topics that Chambers has published in Coda, IARJC Journal, Blue Light etc. or presentations given by him to the members of the Toronto Duke Ellington Society Chapter 40. They have all been revised and adjusted for the purpose of the book.

Each chapter is really a kaleidoscopically written essay full of information and reflections. Together they give a very rich perspective on Ellington’s music. Some of the themes are Ellington’s HarlemLotus Eaters Unite (about Johnny Hodges and Billy Strayhorn) – Bardland (Shakespeare and Ellington) – Afro-Eurasian EllingtonThree Steps Into The River.

The references and playlists at the end of each chapter are also very valuable.

An advantage of Chambers’ approach with themes is that it gives different ways to read the book. It can be read chapter by chapter in chronological order. But the reader can also reshuffle the book  and read the chapters in a personalised order.

Which is the targeted audience of the book?

It seems that it is as Chambers says, ”relative newcomers to Ellington’s 50-year creative journey”. This kind of readers should get a lot from reading the book. However, a problem for them might be that the book right from the start gives a lot of names which might not mean anything to them. So they should possibly be advised to read David Bradbury’s Duke Ellington or John E. Hasse’s Beyond Categories before plunging into Sweet Thunder.

Should those, who already know a lot about Ellington read the book? Chambers hopes that ”the organization into themes will bring new insights to listeners who already know Ellington’s music.” It did so for the web editor and this might also be the case also for others with good knowledge about Ellington and his music.

The Toronto Ellington Chapter has sponsored the book with a ”generous grant”.

Also DESS has contributed towards the production cost to show its support for the book. Hopefully this will encourage many DESS members to buy the book.

Sweet Thunder can be bought on Amazon’s sites both in North America and in Europe. The web editor bought his copy on amazon.de for 28 euros (=300 SEK) but in Europe it is also available om amazon.co.uk and amazon.fr. Avoid buying it from Amazon.com. It is much more expensive with shipping and taxes.










DESS-mötet 6 maj 2019

Som vanligt hade programgruppen med Leif Jönsson i spetsen satt ihop ett intressant och bra program. Kärngruppen av DESS-medlemmar var på plats för att ha ännu en trevlig Ellington- och swingkväll men fler borde ha utnyttjat förmånen.

Ett fokus för kvällen var Ellingtons hundratjugonde födelsedag och Håkan Skytt hade rekryterats för att ge en snabbtur genom Ellingtons liv och musik. Hans föredrag – framfört med humor och fyllt med musik – uppskattades mycket.

Tack vare Göran Axelsson kan frånvarande DESS-medlemmar ta del av föredraget i efterhand. Det finns i avdelningen DESS-möten på webbplatsen. De som bara vill lyssna till musiken som Håkan valt för sitt föredrag kan också göra det. Den finns här.

Swinggruppen JazzMaTazz stod för kvällens musik. Imponerade att DESS kan erbjuda sina medlemmar ett framträdande av en grupp av den här klassen.

Gruppen spelade hela 16 låtar och av Ellingtons musik bl.a.

It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

All Too Soon och

I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart

”Uppskattat, svängit ochg lätt att ta sig till”, sammanfattade en i publiken.

Thomas Harne rapporterar mer utförligt om kvällen och JazzMaTazz framträdande i nästa nummer av Bulletinen.


Kuriosum – eller?

Harald Grut var en välkänd dansk jazzjournalist. Han skrev om jazz i danska tidningar och medverkade i dansk radio med jazzprogram.

Grut, som ursprunligen hette Hansen, föddes 1916 och skrev om jazz framför allt under 40- och 50-talen.  I mitten av 40-talet började han bidra med jazzartiklar också till Orkesterjournalen och Melody Maker. Grut avled 1982.

Tack vare en anställning på den amerikanska handelsdelegationn (senare ambassad) i Köpenhamn efter andra världskriget kunde han tidigt skaffa jazzskivor och jazztidskrifter från USA och blev en av de mest jazzkunniga i Danmark.

Tack till Bjarne Busk för informationen om Grut.

1957 publicerade OJ en artikelserie av Grut om Ellingtons musiker. Serien var något av det första mer ”djuplodande” om Ellington som webbredaktören läste.

Så här i efterhand framstår den som ganska tidstypisk. Det tidiga 40-talsbandet med Blanton och Webster ses som höjdpunkten i Ellingtons karriär och därefter gick det utför. Grut var inte ensam om den uppfattningen och den lever starkt hos många också idag.

Artikelserien publicerades som sagt i OJ 1957, närmare bestämt i maj-oktober utgåvorna av tidningen. Men en förnyad läsning av den pekar på att den måste ha skrivits långt tidigare. Sannolikt skrevs den 1954 eller i början av 1955. Kanske publicerades den ursprungligen i en dansk tidning och fann sina vägar till OJ långt senare.

Hela artikelserien finns tillgänglig för intresserade DESS-medlemmar i Ellington-arkivet men det första avsnittet kan läsas också här.

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