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Etikettarkiv: Duke Ellington
In 1966, Duke Ellington and his orchestra did apparently not have a long-term engagement in New York (NYC) until late in the year. They had three major international tours in the Spring (Europe, Africa and Japan) and for the rest the band basically played concerts and did gigs on the West Coast and in Northwestern and Midwestern states. (source: The Duke – Where and When)
Ellington was briefly back in New York at the end of October but mostly for engagements in Upstate New York and New Jersey. The visit back East ended with a Concert of Sacred Music at Mount St. Mary’s College, Newburgh, N.Y. on November 6.
Then the band went West again for a mixture of concerts, dances and seminars in Arizona and California. On November 15th, Ellington performed for the first time his Concert of Sacred Music in a synagogue – Temple Emmanuel Of Beverly Hills.
Circa November 20th, Ellington was back again in New York, this time for a longer club engagement. He was contracted to play for two weeks at the Mark Twain’s Riverboat Restaurant. The band started there on November 21.
The restaurant/club was located in the Empire State Building on 350, 5th Avenue at 34th Street in New York.
It had opened on April 16, 1964 in a space that originally housed a restaurant in the famous Longchamps chain of New York restaurants.
In 1959, the restaurant entrepreneur Jan Mitchell had acquired the chain with the purpose to put it back on good footing.
He originally tried a German concept for the restaurant in Empire State Building but it did not work out well so he decided to try something else.
The new concept was to make it a place for jazz – a place for Big Band Names – and over the next three years most of the big bands that existed at the time played there. They were not only jazz orchestra but Count Basie appeared there and both Charlie Barnet and Artie Shaw put together orchestras to play in the club.
In 1967, Jan Mitchell sold the Longchamps chain and with it Mark Twain’s Riverboat Restaurant. It continued to be a place for music but more of the pop music style of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
The original restaurant opened in 1938 and occupied the entire northeast section of the first floor, basement and sub-basement of Empire State Building. It had a seating capacity of 1.000 persons. Mark Twain’s Riverboat Restaurant was half the size, was located on two floors below ground level and had a seating capacity of 500 persons.
But back to Ellington’s two-week engagement at Mark Twain’s Riverboat in November-December 1966.
DESS member and passionate photographer Olle Lindholm lived in New York at the time. ” I went to Mark Twain Riverboat Restaurant as often as I had time and could afford it. I enjoyed listening to the big bands that played there. It had fantastic acoustics and hearing for instance Xavier Cugat with eight bongos in his band there was an incredible experience.”
”I went to the club during the first week of Ellington’s engagement and I brought with me my Leica. Since it had no flashlight. I did not bother to ask anyone for permissions to take photos and I when had Ellington to pose for my camera he did not mind.”
Olle took two rolls of film and the photos catchs the atmosphere of the evening from the opening to the end. Together, they form a unique document of how an Ellington performance at a night club unfolded. We will come back to this later in the article.
Ellington’s stay at Mark Twain Riverboat Restaurant was well covered by radio and television. The independent radio station WNEW broadcasted from the opening and WNEW’s legendary disc jockey William B. Williams was the announcer. On November 25, CBS did a U.S. Treasury Departement broadcast from the restaurant and another one in the week thereafter. On November 29, NBC did a Tonight Show telecast.
Here is the next to complete WNEW broadcast with the different numbers presented by Duke. Here and there in the broadcast there is an interesting and funny dialogue between Duke William B. It is well worth listening to it
The broadcast starts with Take The ”A” Train. Then follows The Old Circus Train with Jimmy Hamilton as the main soloist, this time he is playing tenor saxophone.
Harry Carney is next with Sophisticated Lady. At the end he demonstrates circular breathing when holding a long tone at the end of the song.
The broadcast continues with Satin Doll. It has an unusual piano intro by Duke and Cootie Williams and Paul Gonsalves are the other main soloists.
Then follows Tutti For Cootie (aka Fade Up), an unusual version of Mood Indigo and a somewhat wild version of The Opener, with solos by Paul Gonsalves, Buster Cooper and Cat Anderson.
Passion Flower and Things Ain’t What They Used To Be, which are next in the broadcast, are omitted here due to the fairly poor sound quality on our original tape but we have kept the interesting dialogue between Duke and William B.
The program then continues with Wings And Things before most of the band members are heard in Jam With Sam. Duke signs off the broadcast with Satin Doll.
So back to Olle Lindholm’s photos.
As said before, they really tell the story of how an evening could unroll during Ellington’s engagement at Mark Twain’s Riverboat
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.