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Ottawa Ellington ’90 Concert 2 part 1

As announced by Andrew Homzy the night before, there was another concert on the second night of the conference.

The concert was called ”Inspired Abandon” (as the Lawrence Brown 1965 LP with Johnny Hodges on Impulse).

Sjef Hoefsmit recorded the concert with his video camera but, unfortunately, time has affected the quality of the video so we have decided to publish only parts of the concert in video. Howeve, they come  together with two sound files so our readers will be able to enjoy the full concert anyhow.

For his part of the concert, Andrew Homzy had put together a program with songs (except two) from the early 1940’s Ellington repertoire. The orchestra starts with Never No Lament and Mainstem from this period before taking a small step back in time to demonstrate the full capability of the band with The Battle of Swing (1938).

Then Homzy calls the orchestra’s bass player Steve Holy to the front of the band to play Jack the Bear. The ghost of Jimmie Blanton was certainly in the room.

After this, it is time for a sort of ”portrait of Harlem” composed of Harlem Speaks (1933), Harlem Airshaft and Take The ”A” Train. Next the orchestra goes into A Mellow Tone before ending the first part of the evening’s concert with Cotton Tail in an arrangement bringing the band’s guitarist Bill Coon to the forefront.

Make sure to stay for the second part of the concert. You will not regret it!

 

 

Ellington ’90 in Ottawa

The 8th Ellington Study Group conference took place in Ottawa on May 17-20, 1990. It was the second one organized in Canada. The first one there was in Toronto in 1986 (5th).

Lois K. Moody was the general co-ordinator of the conference and she had an effective organizing committee at her side. Andrew Homzy was one of the members of the committee and responsible for the musical program of the conference.

The conference was well attended and it had the biggest number of participants at an Ellington conference so far.

The conference opened on May 18 following an evening reception on May 17. Ann Ledgister – co-ordinator of Ellington ’89 – passed the Eddie Lambert gavel to Lois Moody, who welcomed the participants and presented the members of the organizing committee.

Many stalwarts of the Ellington conferences were of course in Ottawa like Jerry Valburn, Sjef Hoefsmit, Jack Towers, Alice Babs, Patricia Willard and others. They gave presentations, led panels and shared generously their knowledge on Ellington.

 

But there was also those who were fairly new to the conferences. One of them was Lee  Farley, who flew in from Germany where he lived at that time.

”One feature of the conference I remember is how incredibly well organized it was. Everything occurred when it was supposed to, and no one seemed flustered about anything.

The conference orchestra was well rehearsed, well led (by Andrew Homzy) and well received. Their performance with the group of Ellington alumni and Kenny Burrell was a standout that was scheduled for a later national broadcast on CBC radio. I particularly remember Alice Babs in a duet with Kenny Burrell, although I don’t remember at which of the conference concerts that occurred.”

The musical program was no doubt a strong point of the conference. Andrew Homzy Jazz Orchestra from Montreal played two concerts – one in the evening of the first day and one as the last event of the conference. It regaled the audience with music from some Ellington suites, some more ”pop” tunes , some seldom-heard Ellington and Sacred Concert music. Alice Babs shared the stage with the orchestra in both concerts and got an enthusiastic response to her performance.

The second night belonged to a small group of Ellingtonians – Harold Ashby, Wild Bill Davis, John Lamb, Butch Ballard – to which Kenny Burrell was added. It was apparently a concert ”wild and wonderful”.

There were a total of 18 presentations and three panels.

Program (full version)

One group of the presentations was about key figures in the Ellington band like Sonny Greer, Ray Nance, Tricky Sam Nanton and Harry Carney. Another group shared memories of meetings with the Duke. A third group covered specific events in Ellington’s life like Ellington’s tour of Europe in 1939 or when he got on the cover of Time Magazine. A Tone Parallel to Harlem was subject of a very substantial presentation and A Drum Is A Woman was shown on the screen. There was also a set of presentation related to the work done to unveil and consolidate information about Ellington’s career and whereabouts.

The three panels were about the Ellington collection at the Smithsonian, the Sacred Music Concerts and playing in  the Ellington orchestra.

All this will be available on the DESS’ website in one form of the other during the next three weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Light 2019-3

Höstnumret av Blue Light har just nått medlemmarna av Duke Ellington Society UK (DESUK)

Blue Lights nye redaktör Patrick Olsen har valt ”to give something back” som tema för det nya numret.

Det innehåller substantiella artiklar med högt läsvärde.

Brian Priestly – pianist, arrangör, radioröst och mer – bidrar med en artikel om musiken Ellington komponerade för en uppsättning i Paris av skådespelet Turcaret som skrevs i början av 1700-talet. Han använder sig flitigt av material från en fransk radiodokumentär från 2004, Duke au TNP (Théâtre National Populaire) och från den CD med musiken till Turcaret som La Maison du Duke gav ut förra året (MDD 011). Dokumentären kan höras här men den är naturligtvis på franska.

Roger Boyes  – Ellingtonspecialist och DESUKs vice ordförande – fortsätter där han slutade i förra numret av Blue Light i sin artikel Sherman Shuffle. Den handlade om Ellington i Chicago och Mellanvästern sommaren 1942. Den nya har rubriken Cabin in the Sky men handlar inte om filmen utan om Ellingtons engagemang av Shorty Baker i mitten av september 1942 och utvecklingen av trumpetsektionen från tre till fyra medlemmar.

Men Boyes’ sätt att ta en liten tråd och låta den bli en matta av insikter och associationer ger oss en artikel med vidare utblickar än så. Det skall bli intressant att se hur han använder det i andra delen av artikeln som skall handla om filmen Cabin in the Sky.

Frank Griffit – musiker, musiklärare och kompositör – bidrar till det nya numret av Blue Light med en längre recension av The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington som kom ut för nästan fem år sedan. Essäsamlingen fick mycker blandade recensioner, de flesta kritiska. En orsak till det var den filosofiska ram som huvudredaktören Edward Green gav boken.

Griffits recension är välkommen därför att den bidrar till att nyansera bilden av boken, som innehåller många bra artiklar med starkt forskningsinnehåll av en kvalificerad grupp av Ellingtonspecialister och musikforskare.

Eftersom DESS har en överenskommelse med DESUK att nummer av Blue Light äldre än två år kan göras tillgängliga för DESS’ medlemmar finns nu också de fyra numren för 2017 tillgängliga i Ellingtonarkivet

Ellington DR Broadcasts (35)

The first ”goodie” in December is program 35 in the Duke Ellington series of broadcast by the Danish Radio in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. The broadcast is available in the ”Goodies” section of the website.

The program was broadcasted on October 27, 1985 and presented by Jørgen Frigård.

He had decided to focus on selections from 1967.

The program starts with two selections from the stockpile session March 15, 1967. In the recording session they are simply called No. 1 and No. 3. Later they were issued as The Intimacy Of The Blues and Tell Me ‘Bout My Baby. The latter is listed as I Don’t Want Nobody But You in NDESOR

Unfortunately, it is not possible to say if Tell Me ‘Bout My Baby is take 3 or 4 since it is faded out in the broadcast before the end.

Then Frigård lets us hear the first of three selections from The Jaywalker recorded on April 4, 67. Frigård gives the title as WARR but in the discographies and on the Storyville Jaywalker CD it is called The Biggest (WARR).

Later in the program he features Ego and The Little Purple Flower from the same session.

The next stockpile session in the program is the one from June 23, 1967.

First we hear Swamp Goo. According to Benny Åslunds discographical notes on the DR Ellington Broadcasts, it is take 5 but it can also be take 6 issued on the Musicmasters 5041 CD. Then comes Girdle Hurdle and Blood Count. For some reason Frigård has inserted an excerpt of an interview with Harry Carney between the two songs.

The program ends with two more selections from June 23, 1967 – Up Jump (take 4) and Rue Bleu (take 2) – and My Little Brown Book from a RCA recording session on August 30, 1967.

 

Hertigens spelmän program 4

Det fjärde programmet i Jan Bruérs radioserie Hertigens spelmän sändes den 17 aug. 1981.

Det handlar om altsaxofonisterna i Ellingtons orkester.

Johnny Hodges dominerar förstås programmet. Han låter oss inledningsvis höra Hodges i hans första skivinspelning med Ellington och en inspelning som konstraterar Hodges’ stil med Otto Harwicks. Vi får också smakprov på hur Willie Smith lät i Ellingtonbandet och Jan låter oss även höra den ganska okände altsaxofonisten Harold Minerve som spelade med Ellington en kort period i mitten av 1971.

Programmet avslutas med fler exempel på Hodges’ konst. Vi får höra honom som på balladmästare och swingman.

DESS’ medlemmar kan lyssna till programmet här.

God lyssning!

DESS Bulletin – The Winter Issue

It might not be winter yet but the new issue of the DESS Bulletin was sent to its subscribers = the DESS members yesterday. As usual a lot of good reading thanks to the energetic work of Bo Haufman.

Elmer Snowden is the featured artist this time.

”Was he really an Ellingtonian,” asks Bo and gives an affirmative answer in a detailed and well-researched article. The focus is of course on Snowden’s collaboration with Duke Ellington but other aspects of Snowden’s career are also well covered.

Another article by Bo Haufman deals with Duke Ellington’s ”occasional” vocalists i.e. the well-known 1920’s and 1930’s vocalists who Irving Mills paired with Ellington in recording sessions. Bo maps this group, gives short biographies and the songs recorded.

From Bo’s pen comes also an article about the Juan Tizol-Duke Ellington composition Congo Brava. NDESOR lists only two recordings of the song. Bo is puzzled by this and reflect on it in the article. He also quotes what Eddie Lambert and Gunther Schuller has written about it  and refer the reader to an article by Lawrence Gushee in the Ellington Reader.

Mike Zirpolo’s contribution to the new Bulletin is an article about Morning Glory. It is a reprint from his website Swing & Beyond, where it was originally published in December last year. It was among the songs recorded by Ellington on his first session for Victor in 1940. He is credited as the composer but it is apparently Rex Stewart who composed it. The article tells the story of how the rights got into Ellington’s hands.

Another find by Bo for reprint in the Bulletin is the part about Ellington in the diary Spike Hughes kept during his visit to New York in1933. It paints an interesting picture not so much of Ellington as of Hughes.

In addition to these articles, the new Bulletin reports from the DESS meeting on 16 September and reviews of Jack Chambers new book Sweet Thunder – Duke Ellington’s Music in Nine Themes as well as Storyville’s CD with Ellington’s concert in Uppsala in 1971. It also has the program of the upcoming Ellington conference in Washington D.C. in March next year.

 

 

 

 

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!

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