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The fall issue of the DESS Bulletin should have arrived in the mailbox of DESS members by now.
As usual, it provides a lot of good reading contributed by Bulletin editor and DESS President, Bo Haufman and others.
The cover artist in the fall issue is Django Reinhardt – A Gypsy with a Song.
In a six-page article Bo Haufman gives a detailed account of the contacts between Django and Duke Ellington but also of other contacts between him and other American jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong and Rex Stewart. In particular, Bo gives a detailed account of Reinhardt’s appearances with Ellington during his October-November 1946 visit to the U.S.A.
A highly recommended article!
Another contribution by Bo is a three-page article about Ellington’s many failed efforts to establish himself on Broadway and have a musical performed there.
For those who did not attend the Zoom-based Ellinton 2021 Meeting, Bo’s summary of the event is also good reading. All the presentations with the exception of three are also available to watch and listen to on the DESS website.
In the new issue, there is also an article by DESS-member Peter Lee about his favorite Johnny Hodges and a condensed version of an article by Mike Zirpolo on the Swing and Beyond website about Billy Strayhorn’s Clementine.
These major articles are supplemented by a lot of shorter ones like a reprint of an interview of Sonny Greer and tributes to Sven Tollin and Ted Hudson – two pillars in the Ellington community, who have left us.
The first DESS meeting since January 2020 is also announced in the Bulletin. It will take place on 13 September 2021 and starts with the Annual meeting. It is followed by Erik Persson talking about his view of Duke Ellington and musical entertainment by Jazz MaTazz.
Jack Chambers was also among the presenters on the fourth and last day of Ellington 2021.
He is currently in the early stages of working on another book on Ellington and had chosen to give the participants in Ellington 2021 a snapshot of one of the chapters in the forthcoming book.
His presentation focused particularily on Wild Bill Davis’ and Ron Collier’s work as arrangers for Ellington in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
Brian is a man full of knowledge about jazz and among other things about Duke Ellington. When he was asked to make a presentation to Ellington 2021, he thought a lot about it and finally said: “Yes, I like to do one and it will be about Duke Ellington’s Sound of Africa”.
But the title was developed into a multifaceted presentation, in which Brian in a very pedagogical way highlighted Ellington’s musical approach in the the five Ellington recordings he played in his presentation.
At the end, Brian said: .”Maybe you will listen more carefully to some of these things” and he certainly challenged wth his presentation to do so!
At one point in the presentation, Brian referred to an article in “an upcoming issue of Blue Light”. Since Ellington 2021, the issue has been published and all DESUK members can read “Keys to the Kingdom”. Brian says it is a “reseach in progress” and it has quite some links to his presentation.
Jan Bruér – Swedish jazz critic and writer, record producer and DESS member – was one of the speakers on the last day of Ellington 2021. Back in 1960’s, he did a long interview with Harry Carney in Stockholm with a particular focus on Otto Hardwick. The interview is the basis of Jan’s presentation. In it he focus on Hardwick’s hot side rather than the sweet one and tries to identify when Carney played his first baritone solo with Duke Ellington.
Michael Kilpatrick – baritone saxophonist and orchestra leader – was one of the speakers on the second day of Ellington 2021.
He is also a recognized transcriber of Duke Ellington’s and Billy Strayhorn’s music. For this work, he has spent long periods at the Smithsonian’s Ellington Archive, Washington D.C., to go through the boxes there with musical scores by the hands of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.
In conjunction with the cancelled Ellington 2020 Conference, Michael spent another 10 days in the Ellington Archive and returned home with more than 3000 pages of scores.
Together with his partner Sibelius – the music notation software – Michael has spent the last year to making sense of what he found in the Ellington Archive and in his presentation, Michael took the audience on a terrific exploration on how to turn fragments of Duke Ellington scores into a full musical piece.
After all the presentation on the second day when everybody was relaxing, Michael provided another “goodie” to the participants in the meeting – a short extract of Nobody’s Baby Now.
Loren Schoenberg – founder of and senior scholar at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem – provided the first presentation on the third day of Ellington 2021. He is also a pillar in the international Ellington community as well as in the Benny Goodman one and is a terrific expert on big band jazz.
He had hinted to the Ellington 2021 organizers that he might talk about something different than in the program but when he announced that he was going to talk about the Barney Bigard small group recordings in the 1940’s, everybody was happy. They realized that they were in for an interesting talk. And that was what Loren delivered!
For those interested in other presentations by Loren, the YouTube channel of The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is highly recommended as is his lectures at Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Swing University.
Marilyn Lester ended the second day of Ellington 2021 with a presentation on Ellington and The Great American Songbook.
It is a topic she knows very well thanks to her background as a critic/reviewer and writer on jazz, cabaret, popular music and theater and she demonstrated this very well in her detailed and thoughtful presentation.
Her broad knowledge has made her an associate editor of the American Popular Song Society newsletter in additon to being the editor of the Duke Ellington Society of New York newsletter.
As a person full of energy and ideas, she is currently also working on several theater projects and two films in development.
In addition, Marilyn is an active member of the international Ellington community and helped to prepare Ellington 2021 as member of the Advisory Program Group.
Ken Steiner has contributed to many Ellington Conferences – Stockholm, London, Amsterdam, Portland, New York, and was scheduled for a presentation at last year’s conference in DC.
This time, his task was to present the Never-Issued Rarities, which Steven Lasker had generously made available for Ellington 2021. Ken handled the job in an elegant and humorous way.
The presentation triggered many comments in the chat room including many thanks to Steven Lasker for letting the Ellington 2021 participants listen to the seven rarities . The comments can be read here.
Ken first fell under the spell of Duke Ellington’s music when he heard Duke in concert at Georgetown University on February 10, 1974. He’s been researching Ellington ever since.
Bent Persson – Swedish trumper, arranger and transciber – did the last presentation of the first day of Ellington 2021. He talked about Kustbandet – 60 Years with Ellington.
As a member of the orchestra for almost 40 years, Bent knows about it and demonstrated this in his presentation. He had selected musical examples from the late 1960’s to the early 21st century with a particular emphasis on Kustbandet’s appearance in Paris in 1984.
She is a British jazz clarinet player and researcher and a jazz clarinet teacher at Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hamburg since 2019.
Her 2019 thesis was on Ellington’s clarinetists and she expanded on it in her presentation Ellington’s Clarinet Players.
Learn more about Samantha at http://www.samanthawright.co.uk.
Among other things, there is a link to her blog Jazz Clarinet Players, which has a recent post with the scores to the music she played in her presentation.
Samantha is also composing and arranging for her own ensemble.
Her debut album is released with a concert on Hamburg Stream on Sunday 23 May at 20:25 CEST. It will be streamed on YouTube. All information about it can be found here https://hamburg.stream/samantha-wright/