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Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces


DESS finns nu också på Twitter

Det är ännu så länge ett experiment men vi hoppas att de DESS-medlemmar som också finns på Twitter kommer att följa oss. Vårt användarnamn är @ellingtonswe.

Nytt Storyville-album

Storyville har gett ut ett nytt Ellington-album – den här gången i det allt mer populära DSD (Direct Digital Stream)-formatet.

Det välrenommerade kanadensiska 2xHD svarar för den tekniska produktionen. Man har gett ut albumet i DSD256-formatet vilket betyder en samplingsfrekvensen 256 gånger den som används för en CD.

Resultatet är ett mycket bra ljud men eftersom albumet bara finns att köpa som en nedladdningsbar fil så kommer många bara att lyssna på den via datorn med dess ljudmässiga begränsningar.

Musiken då? Många DESS-medlemmar har den säkert redan antingen på LP eller CD så det är säkert mest ljudfreakar som jag som lockas att köpa albumet. Men kanske också en yngre generation?

Det innehåller all musik (utom ”Kinda Dukish”) från Ellington-delen av filmen ”Goodyear Jazz Concert” inspelad den 9 january 1962 och Ellingtons pianokonsert på Château Goutelas i Loire, Frankrike den 25 februari 1966.

Albumet kan köpas hos bl.a. NativeDSD (https://www.nativedsd.com) eller HighResAudio (https://www.highresaudio.com).




Ellington-serie på Sveriges Radio 1994 (2)

Så är det dags för andra programmet i Lars Westins och Jan Bruérs radioserie om Ellington och hans musik.

Den här gången är temat Harlem och programrubriken är följaktligen ”Echoes of Harlem”. Fokus är senare delen av 1920-talet och början av 1930 men det innehåller utvikningar också till senare år.

Liksom det föregåendet programmet finns det tillgängligt för DESS-medlemmar i radiodelen av Ellington-arkivet.

Chelsea Bridge

Chelsea Bridge was one of the songs Billy Strayhorn wrote in 1940 when he and Mercer Ellington were called upon by Ellington to write new material for the band following the boycott by the radio stations of songs licensed by ASCAP.

In his biography on Strayhorn, David Hajdu describes “Chelsea Bridge” as “more Debussy than Ellington. It is classical’ in its integration of melody and harmony as an organic whole.

Strayhorn himself has said that “Chelsea Bridge” was “an impressionistic miniature composed with a painting by James McNeill Whistler in mind.

The first appearance of “Chelsea Bridge” in the Ellington discography is the dance date at Casa Manana in Culver City, California on February 16, 1941 but probably it was performed several times during the engagement there from Jan. 3 to Feb 20 1941.

Chelsea Bridge, Febr. 16, 1941

Chelsea Bridge was recorded for Standard Transcriptions on September 17, 1941 and for RCA-Victor on September 26 and December 2, 1941.

In his quite wonderful book “ Something to Live For, The Music of Billy Strayhorn”, Walter van de Leur laments that there is no readily available recording of the Ellington band playing the full score of Chelsea Bridge.

In a note on page 207 of his book, he mentions that an “unissued broadcast from the Casa Manana, Culver City” is “the only known full recording of Chelsea Bridge by the Ellington Orchestra.

Later recordings … use different parts of the manuscript.  The recording of June 30, 1945 (“Your Saturday Date with the Duke” broadcast issued on Duke Ellington Treasury Series 12) moves after the bridge of the third chorus into Something to Live For.”

Chelsea Bridge June 30, 1945

Since I didn’t have the unissued recording, I decided to listen to the DETS recording.  I went to my cd collection and pulled out the Storyville DETS Vol. 12.

Indeed there is a version of Chelsea Bridge as part of a  “group of three Billy Strayhorn compositions” wherein the band does go from Chelsea Bridge to Something to Live For but with a bond promo in between.  However,  Chelsea Bridge is quite long. It lasts 5 minutes and sounds a lot like van de Leur’s description of the complete composition.

Chelsea Bridge Sep. 8 1945

I then realized that I had been listening to a different version of “Chelsea Bridge” than the one van de Leur was referring to in his note. When he said “DETS  Series  12”, he meant LP no. 12 in the original LP series, not Vol. 12 in the Storyville series. The one Walter was referring to is on Vol. 7 in this series and is much shorter than the one on Vol 12.

So I decided to contact him and ask for his comment. Here is what he replied.

“Thanks for this. Indeed, the full score, fantastic. Duke opens, but Strays takes over from the first chorus. It confirms that he had some composed piano parts as I had figured.”

So small misunderstandings can sometimes lead to something interesting.

Author: Joe Medjuck




Fargo Nov. 7, 1940

Today is the 77th anniversary of the night when Ellington and his orchestra played for dancing at the Crystal Ballrom in Fargo, North Dakota.

Crystal Ballroom was the main dance hall in Fargo and located on the second floor of the Fargo City Auditorium at the corner of First Avenue South and Broadway. It featured a glass ball two feet in diameter hanging from the ceiling that reflected the lights of the dance hall.

Ellington arrived in Fargo after having toured the Mid-West and Canada.

As all Ellington friends know, waiting for him there was not only a dance audience but also two young students – Jack Towers and Richard Burris – who had managed to get the permission from both the William Morris Agency  and Duke Ellington to record the dance on their portable recording equipment. So they did and the rest is legacy.

Jack Towers

Towers has been interviewed many times about Fargo and the recordings he and Burris made. Here are three of them.

In February or March 1980, Towers spoke to the National Public Radio (NPR) engineer Jim Anderson about the process of making, then restoring his Grammy-winning recording. The interview was aired on Morning Edition on March 6, 1980.


In 1981, in conjunction with the Ellington Study Group meeting in New York, Dick Buckley interviewed Towers about Fargo. He then used it in his program ”Jazz Forum” on Nov. 7, 1981, which was commemorating the Crystal Ballroom dance.


Another interview with Jack Towers on Fargo took place in 2000 in conjuction with the 60th anniversary of the Crystal Ballroom dance.

This time, it was Rob Bamberger who interviewed him and his wife Brenda on ”Hot Jazz Saturday Night” – Bamberger’s weekly program on the public radio station WAMU in Washington D.C. The music played on the program was from a pre-release of the Storyville’s Fargo 60th Anniversary CD album.


The first release of music from Crystal Ballroom happened without the direct involvement of Jack Towers. In the interview with Dick Buckley he says that ”in the early 60s” he had a ”very poor tape” which he gave to someone who visited him in Washington.

The tape ended up in New York ”or someplace” and ”a bootleg of very bad quality came out in Europe about six months later. Palm or some label like that.”

Apparently, Towers was upset about the tape coming out, and in the early 1970s,” Towers says in the interview, ”I got interested in doing a better dub of it and helped a fellow in Sweden produce a pretty good version of it for Jazz Society.” This must be considered as the  first real issue of the Crystal Ballroom dance.

According to Carl A. Hällström, who was behind Jazz Society and other labels, ”the idea for the Fargo album on JAZZ SOCIETY came from my visit with the Towers family  in Washington in the summer of 1973.  The music had already been out in two bad versions: two LPs in Denmark and three LPs (Palm 30) in England.  I wanted to produce a legitimate version of better quality and I made a deal with Jack Towers.”

”Tape transfers from the original acetates made at the Library of Congress in the late 60 ‘s were  then edited by Olle Swembel at Europa film in Stockholm in 1974”, Carl says , ”and the Jazz Society two LP-set came out in late 1975. ”

”I did not then have any general retail distribution in Sweden; It was Leif Anderson who sold it. It was some years later that I first had AMIGO as distributor and then AD LIB, which sold much more even though the price was higher.  Jurgen Schildt’s review of Fargo in AFTONBLADET helped very well!”

Later the Canadian label Jazz Guild issued material from the dance supplementing the Jazz Society album

In 1978, the Book-of-the-Month Club issued a three LP-set with the same content as the Jazz Society and Jazz Guild albums combined.  However, Towers had worked further on the tapes producing a new version for the issue and he was very proud that the new album won the Grammy Award for ”Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album” in 1980.

The 1990 issue of the Fargo dance on the Canadian label Vintage Jazz Classics must be considered as another hallmark since it includes everything that was recorded on November 7, 1940.

However, the ultimate version in terms of sound quality must considered to be Storyville’s ”Fargo 1940 Special 60th Anniversary Edition”. For this issue, Towers had restored the tapes and improved them as much as possible.

It should also be said that the joy and value of the listed Fargo albums is not only the music but also the almost scholarly liner notes that come with them. The list of authors are impressive. Eddie Lambert, Jerry Valburn, Andrew Homzy and Annie Kuebler.

A section on Fargo 1940 with photos, documents and other material has been set up in the Ellington Archive. Contributions to it are most welcome.





DR Ellington Broadcasts – Program 19

The first ”goodie” for November is program 19 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.

The program was broadcasted on May 31 1985.

It brings the listeners excerpts from two ”stockpile” recording sessions – one on July 25, 1962 and the other on April 4, 1967. All the selections in the program was later issued in the ”Private Sessions” series.

The program starts with three tunes from the 1967 session – ”Eggo”, ”Amta” and ”Little Purple Flower” (aka ”The F.L.”). Eggo is mistakenly announced as ”KIXX” (aka ”Traffic Jam” or ”The Biggest”) but it was recorded just before ”Eggo”.

The 1962 session is the Ellington Orchestra without the trumpet section and in the second part of the session also Johnny Hodges and Harry Carney are out.

This part of the DR broadcast is a gem for fans of Paul Gonsalves. He is the featured soloist in all the numbers. We get the opportunity to hear him demonstrate his skills in different tempi but in particular in slow ones.

First we hear him in a number called ”No. 1” but known in discographies as ”Blue Too”; then comes No. 2 – aka ”Tune Up” which is followed by ”Tigress” and ”Telstar” (aka ”Tigress”).

The broadcast ends with ”Like Late” and three Ellington compositions – ”Major”, ”Minor” and ”G” (aka ”G” for Groove”).






Stockholm 1994 (1)

After almost two years of preparations, the official opening of the Ellington ’94 conference in Stockholm  took place on May 20, 1994. It was the 12th one in the series of Study Group Conferences.

The night before, the participants had got acquinted at a ”Get-Together-Party” and had time to read the 40 pages program provided to all.

Program 94 (pdf downloadable)

Ads about the conference had been in the Stockholm newspapers well in advance.

Almost 250 Ellington experts and aficionados from 18 countries had registered for the conference. It took place in the Scandic Crown Hotel in the center of Stockholm, where the participants could listen to a lot of presentations and music and also to mingle with each other.

Music events also took place at the Stockholm Concert Hall , The Swedish Radio Concert Hall and in many other venues in Stockholm.

In November, the website will provide a number of snapshots from the conference. They will be based on contributions by Göran Wallén, the organiser and chairman of the conference, and Sjef Hoefsmit’s video from it.

Here is Hoefsmit’s video from the opening of the conference with Göran Wallén and Alice Babs.

Smått och gott / Bits and Pieces

In English

Nästa klubbmöte

Nästa DESS-möte äger rum torsdagen den 7 december 2017. Fullständig kallelse finns i nästa nummer av Bulletinen.

Grundaren av skiv- och distributionsbolaget AdLib, Ivan Sundberg, kommer att bjuda på en musikalisk ”Pytt-i-Panna à la Duke efter behag” och Stockholm Jazz Trio kommer att svara för den levande musiken.

Trion bestående av Daniel Tilling piano, Jan Adefelt bas och Jesper Kviberg trummor och den kommer att framföra något de kallar för History of Piano Trio Jazz med bl.a. musik av Duke Ellington och Billy Strayhorn.

Ivie Anderson

David Palmquists oumbärliga webbplats ”The Duke – Where and When” (TDWAW) (http://tdwaw.ca) har nu försetts med en tillägssida fokuserad på Ivie Anderson.

Den har utvecklats tillsammans med Steven Lasker och Ken Steiner och innehåller mycket information om Andersons karriär och liv. Rekommenderas på det varmaste. Länken till den är http://tdwaw.ellingtonweb.ca/IvieAnderson.html.

Laurent Mignard Duke Orchestra

Den 29 april 2017 gav orkestern gav en Ellington-konsert i den legendariska studio 104 i Maison de la radio i Paris. France Musique sände en inspelning av den i två delar den 23 och 24 september. Länken till dem är https://www.francemusique.fr/personne/laurent-mignard. Men en sammanklippning av de båda utsändningarna finns också i radioavdelningen av Ellington-arkivet.



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