DUKE ELLINGTON MUSIC SOCIETY
02/2 August-November 2002
FOUNDER: BENNY AASLAND
Voort 18b, Meerle, Belgium
Telephone: +32 3 315 75 83
Activities at the Cotton Club during Duke Ellington's first residency there (December 4, 1927 to May 2, 1929; May 5 to June 24, 1929; June 30, 1929 to June 13, 1930; September 14, 1930 to February 3, 1931) were frequently chronicled in the contemporary press. Surprisingly little of that coverage has been reprinted in the years since. In commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee (75th anniversary) of Ellington's Cotton Club debut, each DEMS member will receive a copy of "A Cotton Club Miscellany," a 32-page booklet of previously unreprinted articles and ephemera, with narration and comments from Steven Lasker, who conceived and compiled it.
DEMS has printed and will mail copies to members within Europe; Steven has printed and will mail copies to members elsewhere. Your copy is free of charge and should arrive soon (if it hasn't already). For DEMS members, Christmas comes twice in 2002. Enjoy!
Edmund Anderson was a very good friend of Duke and he played an important role in the Ellington community. It was a great pleasure to meet him at several Duke Ellington conferences. He made a great impression with his presen-tation on 14Aug93 in New York. The last time I saw him was at Father Gensel's memorial service. - Sjef Hoefsmit
Most of the following obit was excerpted from an obit written by Edmund's son. - Morris Hodara
"Edmund Anderson, lyricist and theatrical producer, died on June 29, 2002. He was 89 years old. His abiding passion was jazz. In the mid-1930s he began a close life-long association with Duke Ellington, introducing Duke to classical compositions; helping produce Ellington's 1943 Black , Brown and Beige concert at Carnegie Hall. Ellington was the best man at Edmund's wedding. He wrote the lyrics to several songs that became Ellington standards, including "Flamingo," "Azure" and "Thank You for Everything." Edmund was an active member of Saint Peter's Church (the jazz church) and had recently completed his nineteenth season as producer of Midtown Jazz at Midday for the Jazz Ministry of Saint Peter's Church.
Edmund is survived by his wife Joan and many children, step-children, grand children and great grandchildren. A memorial service is planned for September 14, and on October 13 this year's production of All Night Soul, the Jazz Ministries annual benefit concert will be dedicated to him."
Singer and actor Rosemary Clooney died of lung cancer on 29Jun02 at the age of 74 years. She became famous among Ellington admirers because of her album "Blue Rose". It made her name enter the Ellington discographies although it seems that she never performed or recorded in front of the band. Her album was one of the first that came into being through overdubbing the voice over pre-recorded material.
The album can hardly be considered an Ellington product. It was almost exclusively the work of Billy Strayhorn. His work with Rosemary Clooney is described in David Hajdu's "Lush Life" starting on p148.
Although not the number one female jazz singer, she had a very pleasant and natural voice and her appearances made the impression that what she did so gracefully was not difficult at all. - Sjef Hoefsmit
In 1999, The Village Voice asked more than 40 jazz critics and historians "to write 200 words each on any Ellington selection, album, tune, musician, or notion the centenary mood inspired." The results were praise of a diverse spectrum of Ellington's music representing the late twenties through 1967. The article's editor, Garry Giddins, commented, "There is no agreed-upon best-of starting gate, no defining Kind of Blue. One thing is certain: an unprecedented openness to all his music. Prejudices on behalf of pre-war Ellington at the expense of post-war Ellington, or for Ellington the miniaturist versus Ellington the long-form composer, have withered on the vine."
One contributor mentioned "Blue Rose", the 1956 collaboration between Ellington and the late Rosemary Clooney. The reviewer, Deborah Grace Winer, described the recording as "a luminous high point of the vocal canon" and noted that "Blue Rose" also represented "a triumph of disparate factors - paring of two idioms, two coasts, and two races, with Billy Strayhorn acting as ambassador." - Bill Saxonis
Ray Brown died on 2Jul02 during his sleep at age 75. He became famous as one of the most important bass-players after the Second World War. His connection with Ellington however was restricted to only a few occasions, some of which were recorded, for example a Joe Bishop Show on 2Jan69 when Ray Brown accompanied Ellington together with Herb Ellis and Frank Capp. He made a historic album together with Duke on 5Dec72: "This One's for Blanton!" Shortly thereafter the two of them made another album, this time with Joe Pass and Louie Bellson: "Duke's Big 4". This 8Jan73 session was recorded for television (see Klaus Stratemann p648). With the exception of the selection Cotton Tail nothing has yet got into circulation.
The last time Ray Brown and Duke Ellington appeared on screen together was during the show of 10 and 11Jan73: "Duke Ellington, We Love You Madly".
Ray Brown could be identified not only because of his personal style but also because of the specific sound that came out of his instrument. He left us with a great number of audio and video recordings which he made with many other great musicians. A real giant has gone. Sjef Hoefsmit
"This One's For Blanton" (recorded in December 1972 and released in 1975 on Pablo) is a superb recording. It offers testimony to the brilliance of the late Mr. Ray Brown and Ellington's unrestrained capacity to be a dynamic and creative force, despite the strain of about 50 years of one night stands, millions of miles on the road and rapidly declining health.
Ray contributed to the liner notes for the recording and described his admiration for Ellington. The following is a brief excerpt: "First and foremost, the two reasons I began to play the bass were Duke Ellington and Jimmy Blanton. . I found myself continually playing Duke's records because you could hear the bass clearly. . Duke Ellington is gone now, and though he left many things for a lot of people, I received a little more. In fact, much, much more."
Of course, Ray Brown is gone now too. He also left many things for a lot of people. God bless Ray Brown. Bill Saxonis
It is an honor and a pleasure to bring to your attention that our own George Avakian (83) was given the Discretionary Awards of the Jazz Journalists Association at the JJA's awards ceremony on Wednesday evening 17Jun02 in New York. I'm sure I speak for everyone in acknowledging Mr. Avakian's many services to Ellingtonia and to jazz.
I only wish I could have been there.
For more information on the JJA Awards, please go to the websites: http://www.jazzhouse.org or http://www.JazzJournalistsAwards.com John Chacona
Wolfram Knauer (44), musicologist and director of the Jazz-Institut Darmstadt, has been named as the recipient of the prestigious "Hessischer Jazzpreis 2002" (Hesse Jazz Award 2002) for his achievements in establishing an international jazz information and documentation center. In addition to serving music lovers and fans, the Darmstadt institute has become an efficient source for researchers, journalists, musicians, and the music business in general.
More about the work of the Jazz-Institut Darmstadt can be found on their (bi-lingual) website: http://www.jazzinstitut.de
We are very proud and we congratulate George and Wolfram on behalf of our Society for these well deserved awards. DEMS
Although it's exactly 35 years since he died, it took until very recently for the figure of composer-arranger Billy Strayhorn to emerge from the shadow of his long-term employer Duke Ellington. This is partly because of the master-servant aspect of their relationship, which enabled Duke to take credit for some of Billy's contribution, but also because of the latter's modest and reticent personality. He was gay when it was not ok (except within strictly limited circles) but also, of course, the most famous music he wrote was written for Ellington's musicians and in Ellington's language, with only a difference of accent. Initially, the different accent was sufficiently discernible in the pieces specifically designated as Strayhorn's. Indeed, they caused some resistance from even eminent observers like the young Stanley Dance, since things like 'Chelsea Bridge' and 'Passion Flower' were seen as rather spineless developments of the late-30s ballads by Ellington himself such as 'Prelude to a Kiss' and 'Warm Valley'. And when Billy started coming up with idiosyncratic medium-tempo tunes like 'Raincheck' and 'Johnny Come Lately' even the pre-bebop of 'A Train' there were those who complained that these lacked some unidentifiable something that Duke's pieces had. The complainers certainly noticed, if they failed to appreciate, the originality of Strayhorn.
Things got more difficult for the concerned listener in the subsequent 25 years because, to some extent, both Duke and Billy became adept at incorporating the mannerisms of the other in their own work. This is hardly surprising, given their mutual admiration, just as it's unsurprising that some band members claimed not to know the difference (their job, after all, was to make it all sound equally good). For the curious observer, there were intriguing puzzles such as the exact significance of the joint Ellington- Strayhorn credits on suites like Such Sweet Thunder or Suite Thursday. To make things more complicated, the musical scores were kept well away from any determined detectives, and both Ellington and Strayhorn, for their own differing reasons, put up verbal smokescreens about who did what.
All this was detailed in general terms in David Hajdu's excellent biography Lush Life (1996), which deliberately steered clear of textual analysis because of the already ongoing research that has led to the present book. Van de Leur had access to the majority of Strayhorn's actual manuscripts and a large number of Ellington's, and all his conclusions about authorship are based on examination of the scores and/or band parts. He is rightfully sceptical about the frequency of direct collaborations between the two composers, despite occasional theories floated by others that Billy might have written down ideas that were somehow 'dictated' by Duke (ignoring the fact, as Frederick Delius found, that this takes a hell of a lot longer than writing it down for yourself). Van de Leur offers a convincing and common- sense justification for believing that scores in Ellington's hand are composed by him, while scores and band-parts in his partner's hand are composed by Strayhorn.
The comparison with Delius's working methods is appropriate not because he was one of the favourite touchstones of early writers describing the sounds of Ellingtonia but because Billy wrote elaborately constructed scenarios in a manner that contrasted quite sharply with Duke's methods. Some of van de Leur's best writing is devoted to nailing these differences of approach, though the deliberate concentration on Strayhorn rather than Ellington has precluded detailed comparisons. Wisely, since a large part of Billy's responsibilities within Dukeland required making arrangements of outside material (from hits of the day to ancient standards), the author has included much discussion of these as well as his originals. Frequently, by comparing the score with an airshot and/or a studio version, he is able to point out exactly how (for better or sometimes for worse) Ellington's presumably off-the-cuff cuts affected how Strayhorn's work was perceived by the listener.
In addition, through the Strayhorn family archive van de Leur has been able to study those early, middle and late- period compositions written for other outlets than the Ellington band and, here as elsewhere, the output of an individual approach is unmistakable. Though they may be less relevant to this journal, they are clearly significant in the overall picture and, while the reader ends up regretting that not every single piece Billy did for Duke isn't dissected, those that are here are often dealt with in masterly fashion ('Blood Count', for instance). Personally, I was disappointed that the author seems unimpressed with 'Blues in Orbit', finding such simple(!) 12-bar blues too simple for his taste, and with 'Lately' (aka 'Half the Fun'). Also, his scrupulous unwillingness to speculate about material for which no score has surfaced prevents him guessing the authorship of that amazingly Strayhornesque chord-sequence, 'Blue Rose'. (Maybe, and this is a serious suggestion, the scores for that album could be in the possession of Rosemary Clooney )
It should be obvious that I am mightily impressed with this book, and find its insights and conclusions invaluable. Happily, when the author has to take to task such earlier writers as Gunther Schuller, Andrew Homzy, Ken Rattenbury or would you be surprised? James Lincoln Collier, he does so with authority and a minimum of fuss. Sadly, it seems to be inevitable these days that there are minor (and I mean minor) editorial errors. No year is shown for one of the periodical references in the appendix while '1967' is shown for a CD liner-note(!) and there's a missing accidental in the excerpt from 'Isfahan'. Otherwise, all my notes seem to be reminders to listen again to pieces described by van de Leur.
The fact that some of the discussion is conducted in musical terminology, with appropriate and well-reproduced musical examples, is laudable and shouldn't deter anyone unfamiliar with the technicalities. As van de Leur himself points out, 'There is ample material for the general reader' you just have to be interested in one of the greatest-ever jazz composers.
(A much shortened version of this review appeared in the July issue of Jazzwise.)
Duke's Diary Part 2 (452pp) is being published by Scarecrow Press in hardback at $55. The ISBN is: 0-8108-4119- 3. It is being printed at this moment (18Jul02).
At the same time Scarecrow are publishing Duke's Diary Part 1 as a hardback at $55. ISBN: 0-8108-4118-5. It is not a reprint as they are taking 500 of my paperbacks and putting on a new cased cover and cover design. If they sell these quickly then they may reprint, but it is unlikely that they will let me make changes. I am down to the last few copies of my paperback version of DD1, but Scarecrow have said they may consider a paperback version in the future. It all depends on sales. Ken Vail**
Volume 26 is now available, direct from the publisher .
This volume covers leaders from Jens Winther to Zzebra and completes the printed series from A to Z. The volume also includes a bibliography and an extensive listing of record companies and is available from Lord Music Reference Inc.
A CD-ROM 3.3 is scheduled to publish this week (18Jul) and has the same discographical data as book volumes 1- 26.
Purchasers are advised that due to circumstances beyond our control, Cadence/North Country Distributors is no longer sales agent for The Jazz Discography, effective as of Nov01. They do, however, continue to offer Volumes 1-25. Commencing with Volume 26, The Jazz Discography books and CD- ROMs will only be available direct from Lord Music Reference Inc. Orders may be placed through our web site, mail, email or fax. For credit card security reasons we strongly advise you to use the convenient and fully secure shopping cart system now in place at our web site.
We regret any inconvenience that may have been caused by this change.
LORD MUSIC REFERENCE INC.
1540 Taylor Way, West Vancouver
British Columbia, Canada V7S 1N4
Web Site: www.lordisco.com
News from A Duke Ellington Panorama
I have given DEMS a new page so that it does not look like it is just a part of "A Duke Ellington Panorama."
The three Bulletins of 2001 and the first one of 2002 are now available.
The address for DEMS is: http://depanorama.net/dems/
You can also get to the DEMS page by clicking on the link provided on the links page of "A Duke Ellington Panorama."
I think the new DEMS page looks quite nice. Duke's face is in color and the masthead looks reasonably similar to the masthead on the hard copy of the Bulletin. I didn't realize until making the illustration that DEMS and "A Duke Ellington Panorama" use the same drawing of Ellington on our respective mastheads.
Peter MacHare A Duke Ellington Panorama http://www.depanorama.net
The famous Ellington caricature is made by Covarrubias. The earliest appearance we have found is on the cover of the "Jump for Joy" programme. See p13 of Patricia Willard's study, published in 1988 by the Smithsonian Institution. DEMS
New prices for the New DESOR
Because of the large increase in mailing expenses, the prices for the New DESOR (two heavy volumes) are now, shipping by surface mail and handling included, expressed in Euro's (€): Europe € 148.- ; U.S.A. and Canada € 180.- .
Many corrections and additions have been made since the New DESOR was presented in Washington at the Ellington Conference in 1999 (on 30Apr to be exact). Those authorised by Luciano Massagli and Giovanni Volonté, are available through DEMS.
(See also p27/28 of this Bulletin) DEMS**
SLe: Reading about "Missing early Ellington recordings" in DEMS 01/3-9/1, I must say that I also wondered why these two selections were not included in any of Duke's discographies, except in Dick Bakker's "Duke Ellington on Microgroove". Speaking of "Missing recordings", maybe you can help me find some in the New DESOR.
Q1. Take the "A" Train with Betty Roch, and the Delta Rhythm Boys and a solo by Ben Webster on LP Kaydee KD-8. According to the liner-notes ca. Spring 1943.
SH: It is from 8oct42, DESOR 4230. The Delta Rhythm Boys were not involved. The "choir" consisted of Ray Nance, Rex Stewart and Harry Carney.
Q2. Let the Zoomers Drool on LP Radiola MR 1031. According to the liner- notes is this from a New Years Radio Dancing Party on 31Dec45 in Evansville, Indiana.
SH: This recording was made on 16Jun45 and used for the "Armed Forces Radio Service New Years Dancing Party", broadcast shortly before midnight on 31Dec45.
Q3. Stormy Weather and St. Louis Blues on LP Sunbeam SB 214, both with Ethel Waters.
SH: It is claimed in the liner-notes that this is an Ellington recording. That seems to be wrong. Lotz & Neuert in "Jubilee, an exploratory discography" 1985 have identified the piano-player in St. Louis Blues as Reginald Dean and both the piano-player and the violin-player in Stormy Weather (this time with question-marks) as Reginald Dean and Ray Nance. Bass and drums are unidentified and it was probably Ellington's Orchestra playing the codas. But who cares? Is the recording suddenly more valuable when we are sure that it's an Ellington performance? Like a recently discovered van Gogh painting?
Q4. Mood Indigo and The Mooche on the LP Kaydee KD-7. Could this be from 14Mar52 (5203)?
SH: You are right. This LP even contains the genuine Mood Indigo. Most releases of this Snader transcriptions session contain an edited version, made from the Columbia Masterpieces album (5017b). See DEMS 82/5-3 and Klaus Stratemann p335.
Q5. The LP Columbia P (2M) 5193 "The Best of the Big Bands" contains a recording of Take the "A" Train. The date is said to be probably 30Jun62. I have not been able to trace this recording in the New DESOR, not even on the same day in another year.
SH: I'm sorry. I need an audio copy to identify this recording.
Q6. On the LP Black Jack 3004 are from the soundtrack of "A Day at the Races" two selections: Who's That Man? and All God's Chillun Got Rhythm. Does Ellington participate?
SH: It is now believed that he did in All God's Chillun Got Rhythm. See DEMS 00/1-5; 00/3-8/1 and 00/4-17/4. See also DESOR session 9012 on correction-sheet 1023.
Q7. I am desperate about the LP Unique Jazz UJ 35 "Duke Features Hodges". There are 12 selections, from the years 1940 until 1946 I guess. I cannot find any of them in the New DESOR. Can you help?
SH: 11 of the 12 selections were identified by Ulf Renberg in DEMS Bulletin 85/4-4. The 12th selection was identified in Bulletin 01/2-21/2. Here are the results:
10Nov46(4647): Ring Dem Bells.
30Jun45(4542): Day Dream.
Sep43(4355): Jump for Joy.
23Jun45(4540): Warm Valley.
11Jul46(4621): Rockabye River.
11Sep40(4022): Whispering Grass.
21Apr45(4515): Mood To Be Wooed.
12May45(4530): Jeep Is Jumpin'.
27Nov43(4361): Sentimental Lady.
28Apr45(4521d): I Don't Mind.
4Aug45(4553): Passion Flower.
9Jun45(4538): Hop, Skip and Jump.