DUKE ELLINGTON MUSIC SOCIETY
08/2 August-November 2008
Our 30th Year of Publication
FOUNDER: BENNY AASLAND
Voort 18b, 2328 Meerle, Belgium
Telephone: +32 3 315 75 83
Bob Rickles died on 8Apr08. Bob was unique, with a wonderful sense of humour. We shall miss him greatly.
Jean and Tony Adkins
All the people who knew him (and that are many) will miss him.
Bobby Durham who played with Ellington from 28Mar until 7Jun67, died on 6Jul08. The only recordings that he made with Duke and which have been released are available on Storyville 101 8390, “The Jaywalker”. See DEMS 04/2-39.
See DEMS 07/2-22
The Independent Lens documentary, "Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life" directed by Robert Levi won a Peabody Award it was announced today.
A. Alyce Claerbaut
Message from Francine Bellson
Dear Ellington Society Members,
Want to really cheer up Clark Terry? Get his new CD with Louie Bellson, “Louie & Clark Expedition 2” [DEMS 08/1-31] and cheer yourself as well! (Amazon, CDbaby or (800) 645-6673)
Message from Sturgis
See DEMS 07/2-19
STURGIS HISTORICAL SOCIETY
P.O. BOX 392, 200 W. MAIN ST.
STURGIS, MI 49091
June 30, 2008
This letter is being sent to express our appreciation for you trusting us with these priceless photos of The Duke. We had them copied and now have a set of them in our Museum and they are matted and on display.
We had a presentation ceremony at the Sturgis-Young Auditorium in May of this year. In front of almost 250 people, I announced that there would be a State historical marker at the auditorium and that the International Duke Ellington Memorial Society [sic] had paid for half of its cost. I read your email to the audience and everyone who commented to us said that it was about time that The Duke's final performance was noted as being here in Sturgis, Michigan and several of the people attending the Michigan week festivities recalled having been at that performance. We even listened to The Duke's music during the dinner.
Sjef, the historical marker has not been set up in the lawn of the Auditorium yet and when we find that the City of Sturgis is going to do that project, I would like to have another small ceremony and more photos in the local paper. Do you have any members in this area who might like to attend this event and perhaps say a few words? I sure would love to have them here and to meet them!
Again, thank you for both the generous donation and for letting us borrow the photos. I hope this letter finds you in good health.
All my best
President of the Sturgis Historical Society
1. 25 Years and 17 days after the start of the first International Duke Ellington Conference in Washington and 4 years after the last Conference in Stockholm, the initiator of the 20th Conference, Ellington 2008, Antony Pepper, opened the proceedings with the traditional Eddie Lambert gavel, brought to him from Sweden by Jan Falk.
Antony conveyed to us the good wishes of Alice Babs, who is actually retired nowadays.
Brian Priestley gave apologies for the three speakers who were not able to attend.
Steven Lasker would present Ken Steiner’s contribution,
Ted Hudson would present John Fass Morton’s contribution and
George Avakian excused himself. Brian read George’s address to the conference attendees. It had been his intention to present at the conference a fresh re-release of the 1956 Newport concert as Duke agreed upon it, with correct and truthful liner-notes. But it apparently could not be made ready in time for May 2008. He had recently made contact with a brand new record label in NYC, which had shown interest in this project and George hoped that the re-release would hit the market next year. He promised a discount for members of Duke Ellington Societies.
2. The first speaker was Michael Pointon, who delivered the keynote address: “Ellington Tours in the UK: 1933, 1948 and 1958.” Michael is a free-lance writer and broadcaster and he also plays trombone. His talk was casual and pleasant. He cited many publications from the European press about Ellington’s concerts. They were not all favourable. He played many of the selections which were played during Duke’s concerts. One of the selections he was planning to play was Trees, but Antony couldn’t help him by supplying a recording. This surprised me, since Antony e-mailed DEMS on 9May to acknowledge the receipt of a CD with all three recordings of Trees that have survived.
3. The other presentation of the morning was the one by Ken Steiner, delivered in Ken’s absence by Steven Lasker. Steven started his talk by referring back to the previous speaker who very much relied on Ken Vail’s two-volume “Duke’s Diary”. Steven pointed out that Ken Vail had benefitted enormously from the earlier work of Klaus Stratemann. What he did not mention is the fact that Klaus himself benefitted enormously from the work, started by the late Joe Igo, and continued after Joe’s death by the late Gordon Ewing and the late Art Pilkington. Roger Boyes pointed out that Ken Vail had had Klaus’ permission to base his diaries on Klaus’s research. I further add that Klaus too had had permission from Gordon to use Joe Igo’s Duke Ellington Itinerary. Actually what Gordon and Klaus did was to exchange their research results.
Ken Steiner’s research covered the period of “The Washingtonians”, not included in Klaus Stratemann’s book, which opens after a short introduction with Duke’s first film, made in around Aug29. Klaus’s first and foremost object was to be complete about Duke’s films in his book. Later he added a lot of Itinerary facts to his manuscript, which as he stated were not complete. That’s why I have been irritated by remarks in the past about the Stratemann Itinerary being incomplete.
As a great surprise we all received a 38 page booklet, titled: “Wild Throng Dances Madly in Cellar Club. Duke Ellington and the Washingtonians, 1923-27. A compilation from the Contemporary Press and Duke Ellington Itinerary by Ken Steiner”. While most of us were reading Ken’s brilliant work, Steven played for us the following 11 recordings from the period, by Duke and also by Duke’s contemporaries.
1. The Washingtonians (Miley, Irvis, Hardwick, Ellington, Guy, Greer): Choo Choo (Ellington, Ringle and Schafer), NY, Nov24, Blu-Disc T1002.
2. Van and Schenck, Comedians—Orch. Accomp.: Choo Choo (Ringle, Ellington and Schaffer), NY, 8Aug24, Co 197-D.
3. Fred Weaver Assisted by Leroy Tibbs (piano): I'll Take Her Back (If She Wants to Come Back) (Leslie and Monaco), NY, Dec24, Up-to-Date 2018.
4. Piron's New Orleans Orchestra: Ghost of the Blues (Brymn-Bechet), NY, 15Feb24, Co 99-D.
5. Viola McCoy and Billy Higgins (acc. by ?Louis Metcalf, t; unk., p): Get Yourself a Monkey Man and Make Him Strut His Stuff (Morton), NY, early oct24, Vo 14912.
6. Gertrude Saunders (blues singer with jazz band [a contingent from Paul Whiteman's orchestra]): Love Me (Pinkard), NY, 6Sep23, Vi 19159
7. Sunny and the DC'ns: Oh How I Love My Darling (Leslie-Woods), NY, Nov24, Blu-Disc T1003.
8. Duke Ellington & His Washingtonians (Miley, Charlie Johnson, Nanton, Prince Robinson, Hardwick, unid. alto sax, Ellington, Guy, Mack Shaw, Greer): Li'l Farina (Smith-Mier), NY, 21Jun26, Ge 3342.
9. Bert Lewis (Of Club Kentucky) Piano Acc., Jack Carroll: If My Baby Cooks (As Good as She Looks) (Kahal-Carroll), NY, 13oct26, Ge 3399.
10. Clarence Williams' Blue Five (Miley, Irvis, Hardwick, Clarence Williams, Fred Guy or Leroy Harris, Bass Edwards) Vocal Chorus by Eva Taylor: Pile of Logs and Stone (Called Home) (Pinkard), NY, ca. 22Jan26, OK 8286.
11. Duke Ellington and His Kentucky Club Orchestra (Miley, Metcalf, Nanton, prob. Prince Robinson, Hardwick, unid. reedman, Ellington, Guy, Mack Shaw, Greer): East St. Louis Toodle-o (Elllington-Miley), NY, 29Nov26, Vo 1064.
The title of Ken’s work was chosen by his wife, who was struck by the title of one of the articles, reproduced on page 23 of his work. When I realized how much time and devotion Ken had invested in this present for his friends, I had a problem using the term “booklet”. It is so much more than that. In addition to the great collaboration between Stratemann, Ewing, Pilkington and Igo, Ken Steiner has also benefitted quite a bit from the privately published work of Steven Lasker in 2006 titled: “The Washingtonians: A Miscellany”, 50 copies of which were printed and distributed among interested friends and research colleagues. The result of this collaboration between Steven and Ken is impressive and will give the privileged readers a great joy.
After I mailed a draft of my report with my compliments to Ken for his impressive work, he e-mailed me:
“It was such a disappointment for me to miss the London conference. I'm very pleased to hear of the wonderful reception of "Wild Throng." Your comments are very meaningful to me.
Thanks for mentioning Steven's important role. He is the one who really put the puzzle together. I firmed up the dates and added details. It was so much fun. I wish I had the time to write up all my 1930s research.
Steven had a very interesting comment about "Headlines," the 1925 movie that the Washingtonians likely appeared in. He said that Klaus would have needed to make the starting point of his book in 1925 if indeed it is true that the film contains scenes of the Club Kentucky band.
I only have a few extra copies of "Wild Throng" left. I plan to correct the typos and make a few minor corrections, and do a second printing. Arne mentioned "Wild Throng" on the jazz-research list, and I received more requests than I could fulfil.
PS Thanks for mentioning my wife - she was delighted to hear it.”
Ken Steiner allowed us to publish his e-mail address, so in case you would like to have a copy of his work, you know where to go.
4. The afternoon started with what could be called a panel discussion between the three Ellingtonians, Buster Cooper, John Lamb and Art Baron. In the chair was Brian Priestley who did not have much to do. The three guests told us anecdote after anecdote about the Ellington period of their careers, which resulted in their contribution to the conference programme being the most hilarious one.
When Brian opened the discussion by asking each of the guests to say in a few words what it had meant to them to play in the Ellington Orchestra, I expected that Buster Cooper would repeat his remarkable statement from Oldham 1988, when he gave as an answer to the same question: “I didn’t have to audition anymore.” But he didn’t this time. Instead he gave us recollections of the great trombone section: Lawrence Brown, Chuck Connors and himself.
John Lamb very appropriately made the remark that Duke’s band would not have existed without the musicians. They were the band. A noteworthy remark from John Lamb was the mention of his real birthday: 29Nov33. Since the midwife was a bit confused the date was registered as being 4Dec33. That’s probably the date that she went to the Registry Office. (The same happened with my grandfather, who was too busy with his butcher’s shop to realize that he had come to the Town Hall two days after the date of birth of my father.) This warrants a correction in the New DESOR. The wrong date of 4Dec33 can be found in the New Grove (edition 1994). The New DESOR had the different wrong date of 12Apr33. This is because of the different ways of expressing all-figure dates in the USA and Europe: M/D/Y as opposed to D/M/Y.
Art Baron who was obviously very much enjoying himself during the Conference, told some anecdotes about him being the junior in the band.
This was undoubtedly the most casual and good-humored panel discussion with Ellingtonians since 1988, when Jimmy Woode and Sam Woodyard were also on the panel with Buster Cooper and Bill Berry. The Jimmy Woode story is too long but Sam was very brief: When he was asked why he left the band, he said: “Money”. When someone asked him why he came back, he said again: “Money”.
5. Earl Okin was the next speaker. The title of his presentation was a little thought- provoking: “Duke writes for orchestra, but his real instrument is the piano”. I enjoyed this presentation very much, because I agree with Earl. It is true that Ellington plays new melodies in his improvisations. It is true that he had a very personal way of piano playing, which is probably because he was in spite of Marietta Clinkscales’ efforts largely self taught. The way he played the piano was also the way he arranged for the band.
Gunther Schuller made the same statement. Earl played for us The New Piano Roll Blues. He said that when he played it for some of his friends, they assumed that it was Thelonious Monk. I again agree with Earl: Duke had two specific qualities as a piano-player: The self taught Monk style and his romantic piano playing.
The highlight of Earl’s presentation was when he played for us a tape, recorded by Renée Diamond in London in Oct58. (Renée was a dear friend of Duke, and also a friend of Earl.) On this tape we hear Duke play his first version of Single Petal of a Rose.
This is what Earl earlier mailed to the Duke LYM list on 18May99:
“I have the actual original tape-recording in my possession here. Renée Diamond left it to me. She certainly told me he'd composed it on the spot. A year later, he apparently sent to her for a copy because he's forgotten how it had gone and wanted to record what is now on Pablo. Again, if he'd already been playing it a few times, I think that he wouldn't have needed to have a copy sent to him. This and the fact that there are one or two real differences between this and the 'final' version make me believe it really was composed on the spot. After all, we know that he did compose like this relatively often. Of course, we'll never know for certain. As you know, I'm sure, it was named after a petal, which was falling on the piano that night from a vase of roses...”
In a later E-mail, Earl Okin mentioned the fact that since the Diamonds were close friends, Duke would not have deceived them, and would have told them so if it had been composed earlier. He even made the Diamonds fly to his 70th birthday party in the White House.
6. By far the most interesting presentation (for my taste) was the one by Harvey Cohen, the author of the book “Duke Ellington’s America”. His book will be out next year around May. Maybe I am biased because I had the great pleasure of reading his dissertation, which was submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Maryland, College Park, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 2002. His dissertation won the Pauline Maier Best Dissertation Prize. In his dissertation, Harvey gives us a picture of Ellington in all his aspects, not only as a composer or a musician. It shows him as an important figure in American history, especially as far as race relations are concerned. He illustrated his presentation with a lot of audio recordings of Ellington statements during interviews. Several of these recordings were taken from the long (more than half an hour) Stanley Dance interview in London on 21oct71.
Harvey had already published in the American Quarterly, “Duke Ellington and Black, Brown and Beige: The Composer as Historian at Carnegie Hall”. Duke not only composed the suite, he also produced a written version of his story of the American Negro in the USA. The handwritten manuscript as well as a typed version are in the Smithsonian Collection. In this manuscript, Duke used the name Boola for his subject. In the interview with Stanley Dance he mentioned this text manuscript saying that music only needed to sound good. But music on its own was not sufficient to convey the story fully. This article is the basis of one of the chapters in Harvey’s forthcoming book.
Harvey also wrote “The Marketing of Duke Ellington: Setting the Strategy for an African American Maestro” for the Journal of African American History. Both these publications are hard to come by, but this article too is adapted from a chapter in Harvey’s book. So don’t worry. Next year you will be able to read both.
During the seven years of the writing of his dissertation, Harvey worked intensively at the Smithsonian Institute through Duke’s business records and through the scrapbooks to get a clear picture of the non-musical aspects of Duke’s life. He also explored the maze of paper at National Archives II in College Park, MD. At the U.S. State Department Library he found a lot of information about Duke’s State Department tours. He furthermore visited the Library of Congress and the Institute of Jazz Studies and he interviewed many people who knew Duke.
When Duke died, I read in a Dutch weekly magazine (Elsevier) that he had left around $300.000. My admiration for the man grew considerably. He had managed to write his music and play it for his audiences and still leave a small positive financial legacy. If he had simply tried to make more money, he would have died a very rich man, but if he had done that he would not have lived the life he wanted. He went as far as he could go in combining a good life with his artistic ambitions. Harvey concluded his presentation with the same observation. Ellington always found enough profit to keep his band touring, and his artistry in record stores. Some people say that he was not a good businessman. Harvey said that he couldn’t have been a better one. He accomplished in his life exactly what he wanted, including supporting friends and family, rather than aiming for pure profit.
I am very much looking forward to the book next year. I expect it to be in the same category as the writings of the late Mark Tucker, with whom Harvey Cohen shares many qualities, even his way of teaching and his outlook.
7. Bob Wilber and his wife Joanne Horton (a.k.a. Pug) made the most moving presentation. They started it with three versions of Jam a Ditty. The first one was by Ellington, the second by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the third by the winners of the 2008 Essentially Ellington contest, the band of the Roosevelt High School of Seattle. Bob Wilber and Pug attended the contests in NYC between 15 and 17May of this year. Bob was one of four members of the jury, together with Wynton Marsalis, David Berger and Reggie Thomas. 1000 bands from the US, Canada and Western Australia participated in the contest. For the last round 15 bands were selected. The winners of first, second and third prizes participated in the final concert. You can find their pictures at www.jalc.org/about/gallery/ee-08. The whole program is a huge success and the number of young musicians taking part is growing every year. A promotional film has been prepared, titled “Chops”. (By the way, chops are vital for playing every instrument, even a piano.) The documentary was made two years ago at the 11th contest in NYC. The trailer of this picture was shown on screen. Because the conference auditorium was very light and couldn’t be made any darker, the film was hardly visible. If you wish you can see it yourself at www.chopsthemovie.com.
Pug supplied us with a great number of statistics. 200 packs with scores and recordings were sent to each school this year. The recordings included one of each selection by the Ellington band and one by the Jazz at Lincoln Center band. There were 6 different selections. It took the students 8 months to rehearse. They were youngsters between 16 and 18 years old. The total of selections used for these contests in the past 13 years is 71. A total of 66.000 scores have been distributed and more than 210.000 students have taken part in the 13 contests. 3700 Schools were involved. Next year music by Benny Carter will also be included. Much more information is available at www.jalc.org/jazzED/ee/index.html.
The enthusiasm of Bob and Pug was stimulating and the great success of the program “Essentially Ellington” is a blessing. David Palmquist spoke a few words of appreciation for the work Bob and Pug are doing to preserve Ellington’s music. The applause underlined that we all felt the same.
Since the final contests are held each year in May, it seems to be a golden opportunity to organise a future Ellington Conference in conjunction with these rehearsals or concerts. Even if we had to spend the daytime in the concert hall, we could easily decide to have our presentations in the evening.
8. Bjarne Busk began by asking us to bear with him because he was the only non-English speaking presenter at the conference. He was mistaken. Arne Neegaard comes from Norway! Bjarne’s was probably the most entertaining presentation. He played us a lot of music that almost none of us had ever heard from the period 1924-1939. Like Bill Hill in California, he is highly interested in recordings made of Ellington compositions by other bands, and in tributes to Ellington. In DEMS 05/3-60, Bjarne published his list (Oct05) of all the Ellingtonia he could trace, even if he had not heard the recordings. An updated list (Jun08) will be sent to everybody who expressed interest by giving their name and e-mail address at the Storyville stand.
Bjarne played the following recordings:
Jim Dandy, by the Hungarian orchestra of Sándor Józsi a.k.a. Dajos Béla, 24oct25
Jig Walk, by The Devonshire Restaurant Dance Band in Great Britain, 10Dec26
Bjarne recommended two CDs for people with an interest in these ancient recordings: Keith Nichols’ CD “Harlem Arabian Nights” from 1996, on which 13 compositions out of 23 are by Ellington and with Bob Hunt on trombone (remember Leeds 1997?); and Bob Hunt’s own CD “What a Life”. See DEMS Bulletins 99/4-23/1 and 99/5-6/3.
The Mooch, by Leo Reisman and his Hotel Brunswick Orchestra, in a Vitaphone film, which was shown on screen. This is probably the only film showing Bubber Miley although only in silhouette. Recorded Mar29. After a discussion on Duke LYM, Andrew Homzy does not believe that this was Bubber Miley.
Misty Mornin’, by Spike Hughes and his Dance Orchestra of Great Britain, 5Nov30.
Next Bjarne showed us a clip from a Dutch newsreel. It contained a very short part of Duke’s performance claimed to be in Scheveningen on 25Jul33. The date and the location are wrong. The newsreel text said that it was secretly filmed at the “Gebouw voor Kunsten and Wetenschappen” (Hall of Arts and Sciences) in The Hague. This film clip was made on 8Apr39. (According to Joop Gussenhoven and Ate van Delden the date was 8Apr and not 7Apr as mentioned in Ken Vail’s Duke’s Diary 1.) I have an old Dutch book, titled “Jazzmuziek”. First edition Nov39, second edition Jun47 (which is my copy). It was written by Will Gilbert and Mr C. Poustochkine. At the end of the book are a few pictures, one of which is exactly identical with what we saw on screen. The caption reads: “Edw. Ellington orchestra during his latest European tour, performing in the Gebouw voor Kunsten en Wetenschappen at The Hague (1937 [sic]).” It obviously dates from 1939. Although Otto Hardwick was supposed to have stopped playing his bass saxophone by 1939, he still has it with him on stage. The picture shows Rex Stewart and Wallace Jones. On the film clip the trumpets were too dark to be identified. The music we hear accompanying the film clip is the final (4th) chorus of the 14oct39 recording of Little Posey, a further indication that the year 1933 must be wrong.
The number of recordings of Ellington tunes by others constantly increased in the early thirties. With the exception of the second half of the year 1933, more recordings were made in the US than in Europe, approximately 60% as against 40%.
An example of the recordings, made as a tribute to Duke, is a composition by Klaas van Beek (van Beeck is wrong), titled Duke’s Holiday. The recording, made in Dec33 by the Dutch Radio Dance Orchestra “The Ramblers”, was played.
On 17Nov33, The British band Madame Tussaud’s Dance Orchestra recorded Echoes of the Jungle.
On 15oct31, Don Redman recorded Shakin’ the African, The first part of this piece consists of a spoken intro (by Don Redman) over the first strain of Duke Ellington’s Mood Indigo: “Boys, look like we’ve picked out the wrong spot this evening. Of course this sweet music is all right, but man, we wanna go where it’s hip,……(?). And I really know a spot too with real excitement. Take your coat, get out of here, and come along with me. I mean I gonna take you to a place where it’s just too bad” - and then the music continues with Shakin’ the African, with some more narration. When Roger Boyes proof-read my text, he made the remark that the similarity of the beginning of this piece and Mood Indigo is hardly noticeable.
In his book “Louis Armstrong on the Screen” (1996), Klaus Stratemann’s second masterpiece, Klaus wrote on page 27-36 about the film “København, Kalundborg OG? In this film are the three famous clips with Louis Armstrong playing I Cover the Waterfront, Tiger Rag and Dinah. Also in this 70 minute film is a clip of Roy Fox and his Orchestra playing It Don’t Mean a Thing. Bjarne showed us this clip, with a great number of beautiful girls, dressed in old-fashioned bikinis, as an illustration that we do not exclusively talk during these conferences. The film was made in London probably in 1933.
The next recording was Mood Indigo, by the British band Nat Gonella and his Georgians. The name of the band was probably connected with the song Georgia on My Mind, which was one of the big successes of Nat Gonella in these days (as I remember vividly). The recording of Mood Indigo was made 13Apr38 in London.
In Apr36, Aage Juhl Thomsens Orkester from Denmark recorded in Berlin Showboat Shuffle.
Bjarne read a paragraph about Duke Ellington from the book by Martin Goldstein and Victor Skaarup, titled “Jazz”, Denmark 1934.
The last item in this presentation was the film clip of Ellington and his sidemen leaving the ferry from Malmö to Copenhagen and a picture of the band playing in Copenhagen in 1939.
As it was playing we watched in the background our friend Arne Neegaard struggling with the inadequate presenters’ equipment for his presentation the next day. He was still doing this when Bjarne concluded his very entertaining presentation with the understatement: “That’s all there is. Sorry.”
9. The most academic presentation was the one by Professor Andrew Homzy. Andrew had two dreams: one about the fact that the history of classical music is based on the composers and the history of jazz music is based on the performers. The second dream was inspired by statements by Buster Cooper and Clark Terry, who both described Duke’s orchestra as a University, a graduate school for musicians. This led Andrew to the idea of identifying several ‘chairs’ in each section of the orchestra, which as in a University had to be occupied from time to time by a new incumbent, replacing his predecessor in order to keep the chair occupied and available for Ellington to write for. Andrew only dealt with the trumpet chairs in his presentation, but his handout also covered the trombone and the reed section.
For the trumpets he first played West End Blues by Louis Armstrong, being a hot player, followed by Singin’ the Blues by Bix Beiderbeck being a sweet-cool player, King Oliver with Dippermouth Blues as being a bizarre player and Henry Busse as a sweet-legit player in Way Down Yonder in New Orleans. Andrew now set up four chairs on the podium, labelled for each of these four categories. Then he started to discus the trumpet-players in the Ellington orchestra. Bubber Miley was unquestionably a bizarre player and Arthur Whetsel a sweet-legit. Freddy Jenkins was a hot player. These three players gave Ellington a choice of trumpet sounds and styles. When Bubber left, Cootie Williams was supposed to take his place. Cootie as we all know started as a hot player, but gradually developed himself into a bizarre player in order to replace Bubber in that empty chair. When Rex Stewart came in the band, Duke had a second bizarre player, but this time not so much with the plunger as with his special half-valve technique. When Wallace Jones came into the band, Duke had his first sweet-cool trumpet and a full trumpet faculty with four chairs. With the replacement of Cootie by Ray Nance Duke had a multitude of qualities at his disposal. Andrew characterised him as hot-plus. He could be hot, play the violin and sing. Andrew forgot to mention Ray’s qualities as a dancer.
Harold Baker took the chair of sweet-cool and Cat Anderson could play anything. Andrew called him bizarre-screech. He could play in every style and he had his own speciality, his high notes. Clark Terry was a sweet-cool player. The last trumpet player to be mentioned in Andrew’s presentation was Fred Stone, undoubtedly a bizarre player. Andrew’s hand-out enables us to play his selections again, but without having them abruptly cut short (which hurt like an amputation). We can also cover the two other sections and play the selections chosen by Andrew to illustrate the fact that in these sections too the diversity of styles was always preserved by replacing specific players with successors who more or less played in these same four styles: hot, bizarre, sweet-cool or sweet-legit.
10. The most personal presentation was the first session of the Saturday afternoon, 24May, devoted to memories of Duke’s 1958 tour through Britain. Peter Caswell, Roger Boyes and Jack Kinsey told their stories about the concerts they attended. The presentation was illustrated with the showing of the DVD of the 1958 Amsterdam concert (DEMS 08/1-10).
Roger Boyes suggested that the entire Ellington tour originated in the 1958 Leeds Music Festival. Leeds Town Hall was completed in 1858 and opened by Queen Victoria. Now 100 years later, her great-great-granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II was coming to Leeds for this centenary festival, which was organized by her first cousin Lord Harewood, a great music lover. Lord Harewood’s brother, Gerald Lascelles who was co-author with Sinclair Traill of publications about jazz, arranged a programme of jazz concerts. Sinclair made, probably through Stanley Dance, contact with Duke. Duke wrote later the foreword for the 1959 edition, volume 3, of the annual publication of Traill and Lascelles, titled “Just Jazz”.
The band played in Leeds on two different dates at the same venue, the Odeon Theatre, a movie theatre from the 30ties. The first date was on Monday the 13oct and the second date, 18oct, was the more important one, because it was when the Queen was in Leeds. On that occasion she couldn’t come to the concert in the afternoon. But the Duke of Edinburgh and Benjamin Britten, who in the morning had conducted a Mozart concert, sneaked out of the lunch at Harewood House and came in during the concert. Late in the evening of that day the famous Civic Hall reception was held where the Queen and Duke exchanged their compliments. When Roger spoke about the single record, pressed for the Queen of “The Queen’s Suite”, Steven Lasker produced a copy of that original LP, to the great surprise of Roger and everybody else in the audience. Steven would later that afternoon talk about the rare copies of the Queen’s Suite LP.
The concerts in Manchester were planned to be at the Free Trade Hall, but that was already booked, so they had to be relocated to the Kings Hall, Belle Vue, a very large uncomfortable “garage” in the words of Bob Hope. Because this huge hall could not be filled twice on the same day, there was only one concert in the end, which turned out to be a terrific bonus for those who didn’t have to leave to catch a bus (like Peter Caswell whose family had a new car). The reason is that after the concert the band members gradually returned to the stage and they played exactly what they wanted. Later Duke himself joined the group. What a pity that this was not recorded!
Jack Kinsey was very unhappy with the Manchester concert. For a start he had to catch his bus and so missed the encore session. Also, the sound was terrible. He very much more enjoyed the London-Kilburn concert. A selection from the double CD of both Kilburn concerts was played, and then Peter invited the audience to add their own stories about 1958. One of those who did was Claude Carrière. It was a great pleasure to meet him for the first time in person at this conference. Lance Travis also saw the band for the first time in 1958. His recollections are part of the liner-notes of DETS CD Vol 13 (See 08/2-28).
11. The greatest disappointment was the presentation by Arne Neegaard about Duke’s State Department Tour in 1963. It was not disappointed so much for us in the audience as upset for Arne himself, who had prepared his talk as a Power Point presentation, but who had to accept the fact that he couldn’t show it with the poor equipment that was available at this conference. To compensate a bit for this shortcoming, Arne had invited Buster Cooper, the only living soul from the band during the 1963 tour, to assist him. Their collaboration was obviously unrehearsed. Buster was sometimes in a different city with his memories than Arne who was trying to follow the itinerary of the tour.
Arne had chosen the 1963 tour as his subject because of the information he had received about a forthcoming movie with Morgan Freeman, titled “The Jazz Ambassadors”. This film in which Morgan will personify Duke Ellington will be out next year. Shooting starts at the end of this year. Morgan Freeman not only plays the lead role in the film, he is also involved in the production with his Morgan Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment. It was found out that the CIA infiltrated Duke’s entourage. When Duke was in Bagdad to play two concerts, the people were advised to stay home because of the danger of a coup which actually took place and which resulted in Saddam Hussein becoming the country’s dictator.
Jeremy Doner will write the script for the film. Buster Cooper has been asked to be consultant. The film will concentrate on the relationship between the black elderly Republican and the 25-year-old white Democrat, the U.S. State Department escort officer Tom Simons and not Simon as he is wrongly spelled in Music Is My Mistress. By the way if you make your correction on page 301, go also to page 328, where you can see Tom watching Duke at a water wheel. This scene was also filmed, but since the “Contessa”, Fernanda de Castro Monte, was also on the film, it was never released.
The Morgan Freeman film will show the problems with Ray Nance being sent home because of his behaviour. The State Department was not happy with his conduct especially since he had a history of drug abuse. The ambassador was told to send him home. The ambassador told Tom Simons and Tom told Duke what to do. This resulted in Ray being angry with Duke for a long time. Arne Neegaard referred to Duke’s chapter about Ray in Music Is My Mistress to show that Duke for his part was not angry with Ray. The film will also show Duke being happy to go to Delhi where the Contessa was waiting for him. She created another problem for the State Department because of the mixed race problem. Another problem was the fact that Duke would explain in interviews that he had not used the word jazz since the early forties. The tour had been advertised at great expense as being by a jazz orchestra.
Both Buster and Arne made the best of the presentation, which despite all the technical problems was very interesting for the audience, especially the announcement that Arne still hopes to release his DVD of the concert in Oslo on 8Nov71 (see DEMS 07/3-19) from which the hilarious selection Fife was shown on screen. It was clear that this black and white video is superb. Arne is trying to find the remaining 20 minutes of the concert. He told me that it must exist. Let’s hope he finds it. Anyway now we know why the intro to Fife was so remarkable. You can see it described in the New DESOR on page 868 in the description of 7173i, or you can hear it if you have a copy of the audio tape which is in circulation. But you had to be in the London audience to see on film what really happened.
Duke many times used the term “courageous performer” when he announced a soloist for an unexpected performance. We can say that Arne was also a courageous presenter, being at an Ellington Conference for the first time and having to struggle along without the doubtlessly perfectly organized preparations for his talk. Since the end of 2003 he has been a very active member of the Duke LYM list and although he grew up with Ellington, we as a community have failed all these years to contact him. Now we have met him in person. It was a tremendous pleasure!
12. For people like me (the fanatic collectors), the traditional Steven Lasker presentation is the highlight of each conference. The first recording he played for us was the off take of Oklahoma Stomp of 29oct29 (Black Tuesday). It differs from both the –A and the –B take. Duke was playing at that time at the Cotton Club with the Washboard Rhythm Kings. He took Teddy Bunn on guitar and Bruce Johnson on washboard with him to the studio for this recording session. All takes of Oklahoma Stomp were recorded under the title Oklahoma Stuff. David Palmquist wanted to know what an off take is. It is an office take, from which only one pressing is made to listen to at the office. Parts and test were usually destroyed but this one survived.
The next recording was Jive Stomp from 15Apr33. It is the alternate take. On the label both the –A and the –B are visible. It is in any case much faster than the well-known release. It was mentioned in DEMS 05/2-12.
The next recording, made in Dec36 in Hollywood, probably immediately after the Ellington session of 21Dec, was by Ceele Burke with Betty Treadville. The label number is Variety 600, and the matrix numbers are LO 379 for Baby, Ain’tcha Satisfied? and LO 382 for I Never Had a Dream. LO 380 and 381 have never been located. At the Ellington session the last matrix number was LO-378. It is very possible that one of Duke’s men stayed in the studio and played with the Ceele Burke group. The alto player, doubling on clarinet, sounds very much like Johnny Hodges. One could also ask: why would Mills hire a Hodges clone if Hodges was already in the studio? Steven played first I Never Had a Dream. After playing both selections, he asked the opinion of the audience. Bob Wilber guessed that Hodges played in the first selection, but that it was someone else in the second. I personally believe that if it was Hodges in the first, it was also Hodges in the second. I gradually changed my mind, inclining towards Hodges instead of an unknown altoist.
Steven noted that 2008 was also the 50th birthday of the Duke Ellington Society, started in Los Angeles by Patricia Willard (for the very first time not present at the Ellington Conference) and Bill Ross.
Now it was time to go a little deeper into the miracle of the LP of The Queen’s Suite. There is obviously more than one copy in existence, since one is in Buckingham Palace and Steven had another with him. Apparently Teo Macero, who died this year on 22Feb, had five copies. With all the rumours about other copies, Steven estimated that a total of ten copies were pressed.
The second part of Steven’s presentation was dedicated to Ivie Anderson. He read first an article by Paul Edward Miller published in Downbeat shortly before Ivie left the band. This article contained the facts as later published in John Chilton’s “Who’s Who of Jazz”. Steven went on to read to us many more reviews and articles about Ivie, first from the thirties and later from the twenties. Not everything in these articles was true, and there were too many for me to sum up. Steven is considering writing an article about Ivie. We hope that this plan materializes. Steven concluded his talk with an overview of Ivie’s marriages and invited Claire Gordon who knew Ivie in person to say a few words. Claire mentioned that in those days of racism it was not only Duke who as Harvey Cohen had pointed out, behaved with dignity; Ivie did so too. In 1944 Ivie invited Claire to visit her and to Claire’s surprise had prepared a whole chicken dinner. That was the last time Claire ever saw Ivie.
Steven Lasker has asked me to forward these two jpgs to you for the bulletin.
The lacquer letters are minorly intriguing. The mono side is -1A which would make sense for a very limited run. The stereo is -1D however which I take to be the fourth cut (from the 1st tape master) of the side. (For a usual issue if seems they'd cut several to begin with - maybe for different plants - and more as needed - I might have an incomplete understanding of this!).
14. Brian Priestley took over with a humorous presentation about Duke’s verbal descriptions of his compositions, both to his musicians and to his audiences. The instructions he gave to Sam Woodyard to play Half the Fun and to Clark Terry to play the role of Buddy Bolden are good illustrations. Brian discussed the difference between programme and abstract music. It seems that many people gain listening pleasure from the story behind the title. About Mood Indigo three different stories are known. Blood Count was first known as Blue Blood. Which title is preferable?
Brian closed his talk by playing East St. Louis Toodle-O from the recently released double CD AVID Jazz AMSC 937 (see 08/2-32).
15. The third speaker on the last day was Bill Saxonis. As he explained to us, Bill is not a musician but like myself a pure amateur listener to good music. Bill has other qualities however. Last April he made his ninth annual broadcast on the occasion of Duke’s birthday. Thanks to my new computer, I had the pleasure of listening to this broadcast. It was splendidly done.
Bill is apparently not only an admirer of Duke Ellington but also of Bob Dylan. He titled his presentation “Ellington’s Sophisticated Folk Music”. Bill saw many points of resemblance between Ellington and Dylan. He played for us both the Ellington and Dylan versions of Bob Dylan’s song Blowin’ in the Wind. It must be nice to find so many similarities between both your heroes. It was a refreshing perspective and Bill used it for an entertaining and personal talk.
One of his anecdotes was too good not to be documented: When Louie Bellson was occupied with marrying Pearl Bailey Ed Shaughnessy replaced him. There were (as we know) no drum parts. After the performance, Ed went to Duke and said: “Duke I am not good enough for this band.” Duke answered: “I don’t believe that anybody is good enough for this band.”
When I tried to find the name of Ed Shaughnessy in the New DESOR to avoid making any errors in the spelling, I couldn’t. Louie married on 19Nov52 in London. Benny Aasland was convinced that Ed replaced him during the broadcast at Birdland on 20Nov52. The New DESOR however mentioned Louie as drummer during that broadcast. Listening to How High the Moon, Lullaby of Birdland and Perdido convinced me that Louie was indeed back in time, but it is still a miracle how he managed to do that. If you have the CD Jazz Unlimited 2036 you may want to listen to find out whether you agree with me.
16. John Fass Morton couldn’t come o the Conference, but he had prepared a script for Ted Hudson to read to us. Ted received the text less than 24 hours before he left for London. He told us something about the author. John is a writer. He writes among other things manuals for the government. His father is a Navy officer who married an English woman. When John was once in England, people needed someone with an American accent and John was chosen to become an actor. He later appeared as an actor in the United States in the Star Wars films, and, asked if he was able to play the role, he said that it was not difficult since he was dressed in strange looking outfits and his face was almost totally covered.
With some doubts, I was looking forward to the presentation. I couldn’t believe that one could write a whole book about one concert (Newport) and even more so, concentrating on one single solo (the Wailing Interval). Ted’s presentation took away some of my doubts. The title of the book is not “The Backstory to Newport ‘56” as given to the presentation in the London programme, but “Backstory in Blue — Ellington at Newport ‘56”. Ted supplied us with some background information. John had worked 6 years on the book. Ted had not read the whole manuscript. It may be that this is why he spoke of 15 chapters, while we later learned that there are 20 in the completed book. I know now because in the meantime I have received a copy of the book to be reviewed in DEMS Bulletin (see 08/2-8). The book contains 150 photos, many of which have never been published before. John had planned to show us a few on the screen but yet again the equipment failed him. I know now that the script for Ted contained parts of chapters 10, 12 and 14. As of this moment I am still in the process of reading the book. I must have the review ready for this next Bulletin, which at the time of writing is on schedule. The book will be on the market in August.
17. The next presentation by Chris Howes was a bit gratuitous. When Antony was looking for presenters for his Conference, I offered to bring one or two video tapes, for instance the one with the brilliant presentation by Mark Tucker in New York 1993, about New World a-Comin’ or the one with the Television show, “Duke Ellington We Love You Madly” from the Schubert Theatre in Los Angeles in Jan73. He didn’t accept my offer, maybe because he didn’t want to spend money on the required equipment or because he realized that the hall would be totally unsuitable for video presentations anyway.
As a replacement for George Avakian, he invited Chris Howes. Antony should have told Chris that an introduction to Ellington, well suited for any other audience would not be of much value for us. It was not Chris’s fault that he couldn’t tell us much that we didn’t know. He had titled his presentation “My People”. He had to introduce himself, since obviously nothing was mentioned in the programme notes and nobody was there to introduce him. He has been a jazz enthusiast since he was fourteen. He worked for an insurance company, also as a plumber and he was the last 27 years of his career a teacher at a secondary school. Since retiring he has lectured about music, from Beethoven to the Blues. Brian Priestley had taught him to play the piano. He described Duke’s social attitudes. Duke took care of his family, his musicians, his audiences and his friends (he mailed 4000 Christmas cards). From an early age he managed to transcend the grotesque racial stereotype. As an example of this phenomenon Chris mentioned the song All Coons Look Alike to Me. It was written and composed by Harry von Tilzer. When I looked for this name on Google, to be sure to have the spelling correct, I found out that the words and music of the song were by Ernest Hogan. Harry von Tilzer was indeed a piano player and a composer but he had nothing to do with the song other than possibly having played it. A recording by George Gaskin on Berlin Gramophone was issued in 1896. About the relation of this song to the race question I read the following: “It is important to note that, in the song, a black person is saying the words to another black person, not a white person speaking the offensive words. Moreover, a black songwriter wrote this for black singers to introduce to audiences (white singers sang it after the song caught on).”
Chris had hoped to show us clips from the 1983 Russell Davies BBC documentary, “Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra”. He couldn’t do this because he was on the wrong day for using the video equipment. He possessed only a few clips and he would like to have a complete copy of the documentary. If he sends his home address to DEMS, we will take care of it.
He considered the opening song of “A Drum Is a Woman” as being of poor taste, but he played many selections from the LP. He had noticed a similarity in the introduction by Sam Woodyard to Half the Fun and to Rhythm Pum te Dum. Incidentally, the second title was not included in the television show itself, but only on the LPs.
Chris also mentioned the show “My People”, with Duke’s soap box speech and he read a transcription of an interview from the late fifties or early sixties by Ralph Gleason’s Jazz Casual program. What he read out however was actually part of Duke’s answer about “my people” to a question by Byng Whitteker on 2Sep64 in Toronto for the CBC television show, “A Gift for Boxing Day”.
From the LP “My People”, Chris played What Colour Is Virtue? He closed his presentation with the words of John O’Hara in his tribute to George Gershwin, borrowed by Alistair Cooke for his spoken letter from America for the BBC in May 1974: “Duke Ellington is dead. I don't have to believe it if I don't want to”.
18. Between this presentation and the next one a number of people stepped forward to use the mike.
Jan Falk asked if anybody had a video copy of the Michael Parkinson interview of 5Jan73. DEMS can only supply an audio copy, which makes it clear that during the interview clips were shown from the 1965 BBC documentary “Ellington in Europe”, from the picture “Check and Double Check” (Old Man Blues) and from the picture “Cabin in the Sky” (Things Ain’t What They Used To Be and Goin’ Up).
Clair Gordon spoke about the high costs of sending her books individually from the USA to the UK. She planned to send a supply of books to DESUK for subscribers who gave their names and addresses to the DESUK stand. She would send them a letter later with her signature.
George Ward expressed his love for Duke’s music in a very statement.
More time was spent by Lawrence Mirando, who spoke of a 2010 Conference. He asked me for an audio copy of his “speech”. DEMS will be happy to send one if he sends us his home-address.
See my comment at the end of this report.
David Palmquist expressed his gratitude for this conference and plugged his website www.ellingtonweb.ca with its many branches like http://www.ellingtonweb.ca/Hostedpages/CDCatalogue/CD-Lists.htm and
19. The last presentation of the day and of the conference was done by Ian Wellens. He is the leader of the group called Ellingtonia, which was scheduled to play for us that evening during the dinner party as first of the usual two bands each evening. His talk gave us a highly revealing look into the kitchen of a transcriber. After a short career as a furniture maker he was now involved in keeping Ellington’s music alive. He discussed the problems of doing this with Michael Kilpatrick and they came up with the analogy of an ice-cream parlour. Once people have tasted it, they will certainly come back for more, but the problem is, how to make them come in for the first time?
His talk was titled “14 Into Eight Does Go”. The question is how to play Duke’s music? Exactly or not? Using eight instead of fourteen musicians is a compromise: two brass, two reeds and four in the rhythm section (the fourth being his guitarist, who was too good to be left out). [In my humble opinion Duke should also have kept a guitarist in his band.]
Playing with a small group was not unusual. Duke did the same thing. Transcribing the pieces Duke recorded with his complete band into scores for eight instruments plus the occasional vocal was not easy. It is mostly guesswork. Then there is the question about possible errors. Ian has had the same experience which Gunther Schuller once described in one of his presentations: if you think you have found a mistake, it may be better to keep it in and not correct it. Ian was not greatly impressed by Duke’s arranging for small band. He found it a bit lazy. The bridges were mostly based on the harmonies of I Got Rhythm. A nice example of an exception is Boudoir Benny with nice cymbal work at the intro.
The backgrounds behind the soloist are another focus of interest. In I’m Beginning To See the Light the background has a melody of its own. Ian played I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart where Bigard’s solo and the background are of equal interest.
It is difficult to write in Duke’s style. Duke’s style is elusive. There are numerous Ellington styles, which makes it really difficult. Ellington did not explore the possibilities of a small band to the limit. We hear mostly four horns together or one horn solo and three others. Much more rarely we hear two reeds against two brass. Ian uses this solution for imitating the full band; an example is his transcription for small band of In a Mellotone.
In Bojangles, the relevant bit is the saxophone tune with Blanton backing, which works perfectly with a small band. Call and response are not repeated. Not all the recordings are the same. In the studio version of Bojangles the piano at the intro compared to the same piano at the end shows that there is a shift of two beats. In the Fargo version there is no shift.
Ian’s goal is keeping alive something like a reasonable representation of Ellington’s music. The prospects of doing that are however slim. Even with quite a number of “tribute bands” the whole thing is a niche within a niche. But Duke’s music is too good not to be played.
At the end of the day, Antony Pepper thanked everyone for coming to his Conference, for which he took full responsibility. He explained that it was not a DESUK activity, but Antony is [and all of us are] very grateful for the help given by DESUK.
20. I conclude this report of the 2008 Ellington Conference with a highly personal note. In the report I have tried to give you the facts, now I give you my opinion. I was extremely happy to see many of my old friends again after many years. I also was excited to meet for the first time several people whose names are well-known to me from the Duke LYM list. But I was also disappointed with the Conference itself.
The first conferences were almost exclusively devoted to presentations. In 1983 in Washington we spent the three evenings with a free concert by the Army Blues Band (thanks to Ray Knight), a film presentation of Duke in Mexico (thanks to Jerry Valburn for the film and Jack Towers for keeping the machine running) and on the last evening there was a recital by Brooks Kerr with George Duvivier (sponsored by Brooks) at the fraternity house. There was no dinner party. We held the daytime presentations in a local library. You can read the report in DEMS Bulletin 83/4-5.
The next year we went to Chicago. Musicians, playing for a local festival, who were so kind as to include some Ellington in their programs, delivered the music.
The third Conference was in 1985 in Oldham. Those who were there and are able to make comparisons, say that this was the best conference of all. Dear Eddie Lambert was astute enough to get the local television company (Granada) interested in making a documentary of the conference, but for that purpose live music was required. No problem. Granada paid for the documentary. It was clear after Ellington ‘85 that it would not be easy for future organizers to go back to conferences with little live music. I have nothing against change and progress. I fully accept that the conferences have evolved in the direction of more music. I am however against spending almost all the money on the luxury of having two bands each evening, and accepting a very inadequate hall with insufficient equipment for the presenters, with the end result that we are having to help out financially to write off losses. I know that not everybody has the same interest in these conferences. There was even one music lover who only came to the concerts and the dinner party.
I plead for a reasonable balance between what we do in the daytime and in the evening. Let us try to find the balance which will attract the greatest number of participants. That will help to keep the costs as low as possible, and to avoid losses.
I am also strongly against one-man shows. One man cannot organize an Ellington conference. (The only exception to the rule is Steven Lasker who almost single handled organized two successful conferences in Los Angeles.) Organizing a conference not only requires a group of people, but a group of people who are able to work well together. It should not be organized without the 100% support of the local Ellington Society, if there is one. The possibilities for a conference in New York in the month of May are terrific if we work in coordination with TDES and the organization of “Essentially Ellington” for the music and if maybe Wynton Marsalis and/or David Berger would give us a nice lecture. But I am apprehensive about the steel drum band which our friend Larry Mirando is dreaming of.
I have not yet said a word about the music in London. I will be brief. It was a real pleasure to see and hear Buster Cooper, John Lamb and Art Baron. I very much enjoyed John Lamb’s bass playing, exquisite as ever. I have heard the trombones of Buster and Art before and better, with less tricks and with more music.
The two performances of the first evening were rather disappointing. I do not object to hearing other music than that of Ellington, but I am not prepared to travel all the way to London to hear it. I shall mention only a few musicians by name.
Michael Garrick, who talked almost as much as he played, tried to be funny by quoting from the most despicable book about Ellington, the one by Don George.
On the second evening Michael Kilpatrick gave us a splendid concert. His band would be my first choice if I had to choose from all the bands involved. Let me say that I did not stay all day on Monday. I did enjoy Brain Priestley with the Ellingtonians, who were happily less acrobatic than on previous evenings. Then I had to catch the Eurostar to bring my grandson back to school. I would have loved to hear again “Echoes of Ellington”. This band made a tremendous impression in Leeds. There is only one musician who I want to mention separately: Simon Wyld, the trombonist of the Vo De O Do orchestra. He showed impeccable musicianship and full control of his trombone (my favourite instrument).
I hardly ever offer in DEMS Bulletins my personal opinion. I prefer to confine myself to facts. I make an exception in this case because I very much regret the way in which this conference turned out. I am not obliged to support Antony in clearing his deficit, in order to have the right to express my critique. I see however no reason for DEMS not to support this 2008 conference in the same way we supported, on our own initiative, Pittsburgh and Chicago, the two other cases where the expenses for entertainment were excessive. The equivalent of 1000 USD has been transferred in the meantime to Ellington 2008. (This gives you at the same time an idea of where the donations go which I occasionally ask from DEMS members for cassettes or CDs).
Ellington in Umeå Sweden
Here's a short interview in 1973. I can't recall if it's been posted here.
This interview was done by a reporter from Finland on Duke's arrival in Umeå in northern Sweden on 27oct73. The interview was shown on Finnish TV (YLE). Notice that Duke in the first seconds of the recording refers to "Sweden" several times.
Backstory in Blue
Ellington at Newport ‘56
by John Fass Morton
We did not have the privilege of meeting the author in person at the recent Duke Ellington Conference in London (see DEMS 08/2-6). He was unable to come, so he arranged for Ted Hudson to read a script to us introducing his new book. Shortly after I came home from London, I received from Bob Lemstrom-Sheedy Publicity an advance review copy of the book that will be published by Rutgers University Press in August for $ 34.95 in hardcover. If I hadn’t been rather pre-occupied with watching my conference videotapes and writing my conference report, I would have read this book at one sitting. It is amazing. It is different from all other books about Ellington. Other books describe Duke’s career chronologically, but this book describes one evening in Duke’s career from every angle. Like in a crossword puzzle this books interconnects with Duke’s biographies at the single point of Newport on 7Jul56. It gives us literally every detail one could ask for concerning that evening. It seems impossible that anyone could write a 336 pages book about one solo in one selection at one concert 52 years ago. However John Fass Morton tells us everything related to this famous happening. Don’t be afraid that this will be boring. It is an exciting story and it reads like the most thrilling fiction. It isn’t fiction however. It is the truth. John has studied every source that is available and he has interviewed everybody who played a role in this exciting story, even if that role was very small. The way all these testimonies are brought together is masterly.
There are many more remarkable Ellington recordings than the one at Newport ‘56, too many to be mentioned. For an Ellington collector it seems a bit odd that this single one alone has been considered important enough to be the subject of a complete book. It is however a fact that this performance and the subsequent LP had a tremendous impact. There is no doubt that the event was of enormous importance for Duke’s career. As Harvey Cohen describes in his own forthcoming book, 7Jul56 was a very important date for Ellington:
“The smashing success of the Ellington Orchestra’s 7Jul56 Newport Jazz Festival appearance initiated an artistic and commercial rejuvenation for Ellington. It allowed him once again the latitude to develop his art in ways that deviated from his peers and previous traditions in popular music, while retaining audiences large enough to support the big band he preferred to compose for. This career-long Ellingtonian balance between the creative and commercial looked threatened in the mid-1950s during his artistic nadir at Capitol and Bethlehem Records and during the Aquacade engagement. After his Newport success, Ellington responded with an outpouring of challenging and often excellent new compositions and suites.”
John Fass Morton’s book is not specifically chronological. It starts with the anticipation of something mythical, increasingly exciting until we arrive at the key moment; and even when we believe we are there, another chapter, about Paul Gonsalves, means we have to wait a little longer.
The first chapter describes the encounter of Elaine Anderson, the heroine of our story, with Duke on the occasion of the First Sacred Concert in San Francisco. It sets Ellington and his music in the context of other kinds of popular music, and it introduces to us some of the important persons and some record companies involved.
The second chapter, titled “Ellington’s Long Road to Newport”, is more or less an Ellington biography. It ends where Ellington had his weakest period.
The third chapter is a description of the 1956 band.
Chapter four deals with the different record labels.
Chapter five is devoted to George Avakian.
Chapter six describes the plans for making an outdoor live recording.
Chapter seven is about Mrs Elaine Lorillard, who was very much involved in the creation of the Newport Jazz Festival ’54 and its evolution into Newport ‘55.
Chapter eight starts with a description of Newport ‘54 and the development into Newport ‘55.
Chapter nine is titled Newport ’56.
Chapter ten is titled “The Saturday Night”. It ends at the point where Duke announced Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue.
Chapter eleven is dedicated to Paul Gonsalves. It describes his ancestry and his life up to the Newport ‘56 Festival.
Chapter twelve finally gives a description of “The Rhythmic Groove of the Century”.
Chapter thirteen is completely dedicated to Elaine Anderson “The Gal Who Launched 7000 Cheers”. It is almost a complete biography of her and her family.
Chapter fourteen describes the reaction of the audience and it introduced the notion of “the fourth wall”, being the separation between those who perform and those who witness the performance. The other three walls are the three walls of the stage. This chapter contains 17 pictures of Elaine dancing. It is a pity that the pictures are not numbered and that the description of each picture and each photographer does not refer to these numbers.
Chapter fifteen tells us everything there is to know about the LP.
Chapter sixteen describes the development of Columbia Records after Newport ‘56.
Chapter seventeen continues with the biography of Elaine Anderson until her death in April 2004 (if I have made my calculation correctly).
Chapter eighteen describes the relationship between Duke and Paul, which as we all know was a special one.
Chapter nineteen covers the VoA broadcast and the important role of Willis Conover. At the end of this chapter it is said that Terry Ripmaster is writing a biography of Conover. That is not correct. The biography has already been published, in 2007, and the book was reviewed in “Ellingtonia” of January 2008. (See 08/2-9)
Chapter twenty gives a description of the evolution of different festivals, ending in the famous one at Woodstock.
At this point you have arrived at the end of this story, but you should not stop reading. There are a lot of interesting notes which have not been numbered. Each note carries the number of the page and the relevant text in Italic, like in Hasse’s book. If you read this review before you start reading the book you might consider reading the notes while you are going through the pages. As I read these notes I understood why some quotes sounded so familiar to me. Some have been taken from DEMS Bulletin 02/2-9 where we combined a question from David Palmquist on the Duke LYM list with an answer by Jack Heaney, who was there and who is mentioned several times in the book. We further combined it with a long reaction by George Avakian who included in his answer quotes from a recent letter to him by Elaine Anderson.
Several queries which I noted while reading the book were answered in these notes. One is the mention on page 121 of Herbie Jones as fifth trumpet player during the second set. I wanted to make the point that another trumpet player claims to have played in the band that night: Jimmy Maxwell. (See DEMS 97/1-5 and Stuart Nicholson page 309.) But the note at the top of page 277 of the book clarifies this. I needn’t have worried, had I consulted the notes while reading the book.
There are however a few things I think I should say. On page 22 Jimmie Blanton is spelled Jimmy Blanton. We spell it as Jimmie did himself. The statement on the next page that the last Blanton-Webster recording session was in July 1942 is wrong. Jimmie left in November 1941. The recording session of 28Jul42 was made with Junior Raglin. The name of Louie Bellson is repeatedly spelled as Louis, which Louie doesn’t like.
I also wanted to mention Charles Waters who has made a serious study of the interludes between Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue. But the note on page 278 mentions him (referring to page 146 in the main text). I couldn’t find the reference to Charles on page 271 though. I also cannot believe that Al Lucas blew two intros on Honeysuckle Rose with Anita O’Day. Lucas was a bass-player. My guess is that Harry Edison did the blowing, because one of Anita’s numbers in Newport ‘56 was Pick Yourself Up, which was recorded for Verve in December ‘56 with Harry on trumpet.
Some of the notes are rather lengthy, but the lengthier they are the more I recommended that you read them. Some of them may sound familiar if you have read the Gunther Schuller literature, but others, like the one on page 281 referring to page 157 Woodyard started to swing, are very revealing. I never understood why the band played so well in Newport. I knew it couldn’t just be Jo Jones’ Christian Science Monitor. I never heard that sound, not even on Phil Schaap’s complete release. What I did hear was Sam Woodyard and now I understand a bit why it sounded so good.
My conclusion is this: as an Ellington collector you won’t “need” this book, but you would certainly regret it not having read and enjoyed it. And I cannot recommend it more highly than that.
Willis Conover: Broadcasting Jazz to the World
by Terence M. Ripmaster
New York: iUniverse, Inc., 2007. 218 pp. $18.95
Reviewed by Ben Pubols
There are many non-musicians well known for their roles in promoting jazz, individuals such as George Avakian, Norman Granz and George Wein. There is another such promoter, equally as important but less well known in the Western hemisphere, and that man is Willis Conover, who was the Voice of America's "Voice of Jazz" for 40 years, from his first broadcast in January 1955 until shortly before his death in 1996. His program, Music USA, was beamed to as many as 80 foreign countries, but, by Congressional decree was not available to listeners in the United States. Conover travelled extensively, including many trips to Iron Curtain countries, where he was often hailed by his admirers as a saint. He spoke in a slow, deliberate, deep baritone voice. He had a particularly strong impact on listeners behind the Iron Curtain. As one commentator put it' "If I had to list the five people most responsible for the dismantling of the Soviet Union, Willis Conover would be at the top of the list."
His programs consisted primarily of playing jazz recordings, from the infancy of jazz through the swing era and into the "modern" period. His theme song was Duke's classic recording of Take The A Train. The programs included many interviews, with jazz musicians (e.g., ten with Louis Armstrong, fifteen with Duke Ellington) and others (e.g., several U.S. presidents, Martin Luther King Jr., Jackie Robinson and Leopold Stokowski).
The author of this biography, Terry Ripmaster, a retired professor of history, takes detailed advantage of the vast amount of primary material on Willis Conover. His principal sources are VOA tapes of Conover's Music USA programs and interviews, many now at the National Archives, and Conover's personal papers, including extensive notes for an autobiography, now in the North Texas University library. Extensive use is also made of correspondence and interviews. Among the latter are interviews with our own Jack Towers and with the author of this review, Ben Pubols. (Disclosure: I was friends with Willis while I was in high school in the late 1940s, during Conover's pre-VOA, radio station WWDC days).
The book itself is arranged topically rather than chronologically. After a brief introduction on Willis's personal life, including his time as a student at Western High School (now the Duke Ellington School of the Arts) and his stint as an announcer at station WWDC, there are chapters on the formation and history of the Voice of America and Willis's activities there. A lengthy chapter deals with his influence on many listeners from abroad, including details of his trips behind the Iron Curtain and the many fans he met there. Also included is a chapter on his non-VOA activities and excerpts from many of his interviews. But the most exciting chapter is the one entitled "Conover Under Fire: Black Nationalism and Jazz." "Black Nationalism" is perhaps too strong a term in this context, as the chapter deals primarily with the Black Power movement of the 1960s, not the earlier Marcus Garvey Black Nationalism movement. In particular, Willis encountered many problems as a white man promoting what began as black man's music. But, as Ripmaster states, "He had a deep appreciation of what can be called the black roots of jazz. He devoted his life to understanding, playing, and promoting jazz."
As is well known, Conover was instrumental in organizing the 1969 75th birthday tribute to Duke Ellington at the White House. Ripmaster quotes H. R. Haldeman to the effect that "When President Nixon heard about the plans for this tribute to Duke, he told us to invite all the jazz greats, like Guy Lombardo."
The book is not without its shortcomings. For example, dates are not given for the many interviews and letters cited. At one point Conover is quoted as saying that he was making "between twenty and thirty thousand dollars a year" (when was this?), while elsewhere it is stated that, by the 1990s he was making close to $100,000 a year. And the book could have profited by another round of proof-reading. There are many instances where a source is quoted, but there are no close quotes (including a "quote" from this reviewer). Also, "he" is often mentioned without a clear referent.
In the opening chapter, Willis is quoted as stating that during his childhood he was enamored of the Wizard of Oz books. In the final chapter, James Lester, writing in 1999, states that "... it is hard not to think of Conover as the Wizard of Oz, a gentle, reticent sort of person hidden behind a curtain, projecting through the turning of dials and pushing of levers, a powerful image, rather different from himself, that ends up changing lives. He seems to have been the perfect person for the job." A fitting and insightful statement.
There remains a vast amount of material on the mysterious, majestic Mr. Conover, waiting to be tapped by the next author. Meanwhile, Mr. Ripmaster provides an overdue, pioneering book on this individual who did so much to promote and spread American jazz throughout the world.
© ~ 2007, Ben Pubols
As I told Ben some months ago, the VoA's Jazz Hour was not introduced by the 'classic' A Train (assuming this to be the 1941 Victor). It was the start of the extended Columbia version, as I recall, in which Betty Roché sang. I used to listen to it most nights as a reward for finishing my homework for school, on short wave, beamed from a transmitter in Tangier.
I am very grateful to Ben Pubols for giving me permission to print his review of Terence Ripmaster’s book that appeared in Ellingtonia, the publication of the Duke Ellington Society of Washington D.C. of January of this year.
When I saw the name of Terence Ripmaster mentioned in the book by John Fass Morton on page 256 (see 08/2-8), I was curious to see what he had to say about the Newport Jazz Festival. It struck me at once that on page 135 he placed the long solo by Paul Gonsalves in the wrong year, at the 1957 festival. It seems that Ripmaster consulted “Newport Jazz Festival: The Illustrated History” by photographer Burt Goldblatt. I do not have that book, otherwise I would have checked if the wrong date came from Goldblatt. According to Ripmaster Duke also played King Fit the Battle of Alabam’. This came (according to Ripmaster) from the Conover notes. This is even more wrong, by seven years.
Another error is on page xiii. It says that Conover was speaker at the Duke Ellington Conference in Chicago in 1983. The 1983 Conference was in Washington and indeed Willis was one of the speakers. The next year he came back to the Conference in Chicago and again he made a presentation as first speaker on 19May. During that presentation Willis recited a poem that he had written, titled “Come Monday”. It was a tribute to Ellington who had died ten years before. It was beautiful. When Ripmaster asked people who knew Willis to contact him, I wrote him (indeed on 5oct04) and told him among other things about this terrific poem and asked him to look for it in Willis’s papers. I hoped to see it in print in Ripmaster’s book, but I am afraid it got lost.
It went like this:
Edward Kennedy, Duke Ellington, born April 29 1899, died at 10 minutes after 3 in the morning of May 24, 1974.
He smiled, he bowed a perfect angle, brushed the cheeks and found the phrase from ages gone
Never was nobody like him
He introduced us, knew our pulse, made us dance, shaped our moments
He was there and we were young
Love you, sadly
Never be nobody else
Taller, deeper, faster, fuller, wiser, older, younger longer
No one knew him
No never, never no Duke
After the poem we listened to Ray Nance playing Take the “A” Train on the violin. There was no applause until Don Miller thanked Willis for his words. Willis Conover with his terrific voice made a huge impression on all of us.
I severely pitied dear Andrew Homzy who was the second speaker of the morning with “Ellington Materials at the Library of Congress”.
Ben Webster in Denmark (1965 - 1971)
Emarcy 06025 175 464-2 4
Released March 24th, 2008
From the archives of the Danish Radio vaults, presented here for the first time on any media format, CD or DVD, are three great concerts plus the documentary “Big Ben”.
These stunning archive classics feature some of the most talented musicians in jazz: Kenny Drew (piano), Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Alex Riel (drums), Teddy Wilson (piano), Makaya Ntshoko (drums), Inez Cavanaugh (vocals), Charlie Shavers (trumpet), Finn Ziegler (violin), Niels Jørgen Steen (piano), Jørn Elniff (drums) plus the Danish Radio Big Band & String section.
01 Ben Webster 1965 (TV-Byen)
02 Ben Webster & His Music 1968 (TV Byen)
03 Timme Rosenkrantz Memorial Concert 1969
04 Big Ben 1971 (TV-Byen) (Jazzhus Montmartre)
Milo van den Assem
Duke Ellington at the Côte d'Azur with Ella Fitzgerald and Joan Miró
See DEMS 08/1-8
I think you should have mentioned that
- an approx 3min30 presentation by Nat Henntoff is added
- the DVD seems to run slightly faster thaan the Toemi VHS TVS182: 62:40 instead of 65:25
- The Old Circus Train (3:08%) reheearsal just before 6664s (%3:13) from the evening concert still didn't find its way into the New DESOR, but should be added.
Derek Jewell is certainly right concerning Ella on Monday, 25Jul66. Ella was indeed booked for a midnight appearance "sur les terrasses fleuries" in Antibes and this obviously was a kind of summer outdoor (concert) place. Anita O'Day was booked for 27Jul and a photograph showing the announcing ad was published in French Jazz Magazine in Jan07. This Ella performance was cancelled.
The Ella Fitzgerald Show
See DEMS 06/3-25
23May08. I just saw this DVD: http://www.jazzmessengers.com/ProductInfo.asp?ref=118599
It contains the Ella Fitzgerald Show of April 1968 with Duke. There are some other videos of her with Benny Goodman [from 1958].
From what I know of this label, I would not be the least bit surprised that this was issued on a VidJazz VHS video tape, all they did was copy it.
If anyone else has further information about this DVD, please tell us.
3Jun08. I just got my copy of this DVD yesterday. It is on the Impro-Jazz label [IJ 540]. Now this DVD is in black and white. The video quality is what I will term acceptable. Now, you can see clips for the same broadcast in colour on You Tube. Does anyone know if this video was ever issued in colour? If you have any opinions about this DVD's quality, please state them.
I received from my Italian friends the corrections to be made in the New DESOR. They say that the Impro Jazz 540 does not contain the two following selections, which are on my tapes: Oh! Lady Be Good and Lush Life. Is that correct?
I have a PAL copy of the same show in colour, but it was not an official release (see Klaus Götting’s description in DEMS 06/3-25). On the contrary, it seems that it was still non-edited material.
Neither track is on my DVD. They both can be found on You Tube in colour.
Change of Mind
See DEMS 06/3-9
Now in my 83rd year, many past events are no longer recalled clearly. However, I did, at one point have a 16mm print of “Change of Mind”, which I sold! But first I made a good VHS copy; subsequently I transferred the VHS to DVD. Like yours, my DVD copy is quite satisfactory. That is not why I'm trying to locate the owner of the 16mm print. While Duke-ophiles seem to be uninterested in Duke's last film project, nevertheless the film, if it can be located, should be digitally remastered, and released on DVD in the highest possible quality. There are several companies (such as Kino) that do a fantastic job in rescuing obscure, rare films of the past. Before the remaining 16mm prints (perhaps there are no more than 1 or 2 in existence!) vanish for- ever, I am simply attempting to stir up interest, which may result in the owner surfacing, and agreeing to provide his or her print, for issuance on DVD. The digital process is truly remarkable. I have some DVDs of ancient films, that amaze me by the clarity of both audio and video.
Pleased to hear from you again, and hope you will spread the word, so to speak, about the need to 'rescue' “Change of Mind”.
Irv Jacobs, firstname.lastname@example.org
DISCUSSIONS - ADDITIONS - CORRECTIONS
There are two takes of Lazy Rhapsody from 2Feb32. DESOR 3201c and 3201d.
All 78s issued (there are quite a few) are 3201c with matrix no. B11205-A except Columbia 35834 said to be take -B. It is shown like that in Rust, Bakker and DESOR [and in Benny Aasland's Waxworks]. However, when I take a look at my Columbia 35834 the wax clearly shows B11205-A. Have you any sort of explanation for this?
Co 35834 comes in three variations:
Lazy Rhapsody -A/Blue Ramble -A
Lazy Rhapsody -B/Blue Ramble -B
Lazy Rhapsody -A/Blue Ramble -B
Given that the labels specify that each side should be a "second master," we may conclude that Co 35834 was supposed to bear the B take of each title, and the A takes were released in error.
See Valburn's Directory, p1-13.
This is what Jerry Valburn had to say about this matter:
The following four issues, 35834 through 35837, were originally issued [by Columbia] in a four-pocket album, titled "The Duke" with its own number C-38. [Valburn's Directory, p1-33].
When originally issued the concept was to present new masters on all eight selections. The "new" take of Baby, When You Ain't There is a fake. It is a speeded up version of the original Brunswick issue. Over the years, errors were made in the re-pressings and many combinations exist in the pressings. We will attempt to document all-known combinations here:
35834 Lazy Rhapsody [#A] / Blue Ramble [#A]
35834 Lazy Rhapsody [#B] / Blue Ramble [#B]
35834 Lazy Rhapsody [#A] / Blue Ramble [#B]
35835 Baby, When You Ain't There [#A] / Lightnin' [#B]
35835 Baby, When You Ain't There [#B] / Lightnin' [#B]
35836 Best Wishes [#A] / Bundle of Blues [#B]
35836 Best Wishes [#A] / Bundle of Blues [#A]
35837 Drop Me Off at Harlem [#A] / Merry-Go-Round [#2]
35837 Drop Me Off at Harlem [#B] / Merry-Go-Round [#2]
[end of quote from Jerry Valburn's Directory]
It would be interesting to know which of the two error pressings is in your collection. The one with Blue Ramble [#A] or [#B]. You should also check the take of Lazy Rhapsody. If it is indeed take -A you should not hear the sound of a chime at the very end, which is clearly audible at the end of take -B. There are many differences between both takes, but no other difference is so simple to describe. I have accepted as the truth the numbers of the two takes on the French double LP CBS 88000 "The Complete Duke Ellington Vol. 3". These take numbers correspond exactly with the two takes on Classics 616 and Neatwork 2023. Furthermore take -B is slightly faster than take -A (3:11 against 3:14), which is often the case for a subsequent take.
Thanks for this explanatory mail. My copy of 35834 is #A/#A. Seems I have to watch out for the other combinations.
Manchester in the 60ties
See DEMS 07/3-11
In one of the two concerts in the Free Trade Hall in Manchester on 29Feb64 (only one of the two was recorded), Duke dedicated Black and Tan Fantasy, Creole Love Call and The Mooch to several of his young friends in the audience, whom he called “Group Seven”. At the time of writing last year we did not know who these people were, and we asked for information from our readers. Now we do know, thanks to Tony Adkins, who corresponded with his friend Bill Birch who was there and who took a great number of nice photographs. Bill wrote:
“ ‘Group Seven’ was a mainstream/modern combo, popular in the early 1960’s, playing at a small club opposite of the University, called “The Windsor”. The seven members of the band were: Wally Davis (alto); Frank Hartley (tenor); Pete McQuire (trumpet); Niall Jackson (trombone); Tony Smith (piano); Mike Quellin (bass) and Norman Caldas (drums). They played such numbers as Perdido, Satin Doll, Take the “A” Train, In a Mellotone, Shiny Stockings etc. Wally Davis is still alive (plays tenor now), Mike Quellin died a few years ago. The others are not known to me. I know Wally well, and he has confirmed the information I have supplied. I add a few newspaper ads with not uncommon odd errors.”
Bill added three ads taken from the Manchester Evening News from 16Feb61, 13Apr61 and 11May61 for two sets on the evenings of the same days at the Windsor. The first one read: TO NIGHT at the WINDSOR (opp. Univ.). The idiom will be coolly dug by GROUP SEVEN. Featuring Jerry Smith [should read Tony Smith] 8:30 to 10:30 [should read 11:30].
We are very grateful to Tony Adkins who brought our request for information to the attention of his friend Bill Birch and to Bill himself who was so kind to share his knowledge with us.
Duke and Count Basie together at Carnegie Hall?
I have downloaded a file, can you tell me what this is? It is on side b) of this upload:
Side a) was correct, but side b) is a couple of unknown titles, and Jumpin' at the Woodside
The download is titled “Duke Ellington at Carnegie Hall Side 2 mp3”.
Side 2 is actually side 2 of the LP “Battle Royal” on CBS or “First Time” on Columbia. The titles are Wild Man Moore; Segue in C; B.D.B. and Jumpin’ at the Woodside. Wild Man Moore and B.D.B. are different from the latest Columbia CD, see DEMS 99/4-20, but they are exactly the same as on the CBS and Columbia LPs, which means that some parts are missing, see DEMS 84/3-12.
The message by Hans-Joachim Schmidt
See DEMS 08/1-14
I was hoping someone else would take the task of responding to this. Point 4 of the above entry in the invaluable DEMS Bulletin contains the following rather extraordinary statement from Hans-Jorgen Schmidt:
“I trust that in spite of Andrew Homzy's rude attack everyone will have Ken Rattenbury's book ‘Duke Ellington Jazz Composer’.”
Please note that Andrew was not the only person to express reservations about the late Ken Rattenbury's work, and for instance I wrote two rather negative reviews when it first appeared. One reason being the inadequacy of the so-called transcriptions, the worst example of which is perhaps the section of Junior Hop shown as played by four instruments when only three are heard on the Hodges record. Call that a Rattenbury arrangement, if you like, but don't call it a transcription.
As to Hans-Jorgen's comments on Ko-Ko, he says: “This is the beginning of a discussion.” I hope so, and here is a contribution to that discussion.
The comment: “Ko-Ko is a head-chart. When Ben Webster came he had to make up his own part” doesn't make sense, and the second sentence doesn't prove the first. In fact, there's a part for Ben written by Duke, which probably means that Ben (excellent writer that he was) didn't ever make up his own part, and that idea is probably just a legend.
I wouldn't for a moment dispute Hans-Jorgen's other comments about Strayhorn's part in the section, but I cannot believe that any part of the original score was a head arrangement. That introduction and its orchestration; the voicing of the chords in the opening sax-section; the permutation of the four-note phrase (as played by Carney in the introduction) throughout the score. A head arrangement? You surely can't mean that.
None of this is aimed personally at Hans-Joachim, by the way. I had nothing personal against Rattenbury either, but I wouldn't trust his book further than I could throw it.
I met Ken Rattenbury at the Ellington Conference in Oldham, England, 1988 and heard his presentation prior to the publication of his book. I thought he was a wonderful man, full of enthusiasm and joy over the music of Duke Ellington. But I also recognized him as under-educated to take on an informed, accurate examination of Ellington's music.
His book was essentially the publication of his Master's thesis of the same title, written while a student at Keele University - located at Staffordshire in the West Midlands region of England near Birmingham.
You can read some favorable reviews of Rattenbury's book here:
And if you can get to a university music library, you can read my 6-page/11 column review here:
Duke Ellington: Jazz Composer by Ken Rattenbury. Reviewed by Andrew Homzy in Notes, the quarterly journal of the Music Library Association, Second Series, Vol. 48, No. 4 (Jun., 1992), pp. 1241-1246
Readers can decide for themselves as to whether I was attacking Mr. Rattenbury or just being truthful. Was I rude in my making an assessment? Actually, I was more upset with Yale University Press for publishing his book than I was about Rattenbury's desire to share his interests. I thought that Yale University Press was amiss in not sending a draft to knowledgeable readers prior to publication — something they did when publishing their books on Stravinsky, Sibelius, Webern, Berg and Ives — and on reflection, I think the root of the problem is that Rattenbury's academic advisors at Keele were negligent in their role as music educators.
Café au Lait
I've just been trying to sort this track out and I cannot resolve it. As far as I can determine, it has DE5638d, e, f, h and i. I don't hear g, the 10 bars of DE or does this refer merely to the two struck chords and the talking before the start of h? I would have thought that h included this.
Can you give me any help?
I hear a distinct pause between f and g and between g and h. I gave the three “takes” indications of length in time. I had 0:10, 0:17 and 0:12. I agree with you that there is not a total of 4 plus 10 plus 7 bars. I have already a problem counting 4 bars in the first “take”, but in the second I do not hear more than a maximum of 6 bars. Between g and h is the talking. I have compared the latest CD Columbia Legacy CK 65568 with the Up to Date LP. The CD has the three tracks not separately numbered. They have together the index number 3 in track 21. There is no difference between CD and LP. Sometimes the descriptions in the New DESOR are questionable. This one is certainly not correct. I agree.
The complete Ellington Indigos
See DEMS 08/1-22
Just re-reading the DEMS notes re: The Complete Ellington Indigos and I have two questions:
1. Was The Sky Fell Down only released on the mono LP and is it and are some of the other alternates still in mono?
2 Are all the alternates from French releases?
1. I have this same recording on three different releases. On the LPs CBS 88219 (US) and 82682 (F) is no trace of stereo. On the latest CD Jazz Beat 527 I have the impression that it is stereo, but it also could be simulated stereo. It is not carbon copied from the two LPs however. Other than that, there is no alternate of The Sky Fell Down. I have checked the CD Jazz Beat and this is what I found:
Mono: tracks 1, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 10 until and including 19.
Stereo (or simulated stereo): 2, 4, 7 and 9.
2. That is a complicated question. I can answer that the alternates (13, 14, 16, 17 and 18) have been included on the French LP CBS 88653. Track 15 was only released on US CDs Col CK 65056 (see 99/4-17) and 66372 (see 98/4-5/1). What I cannot say is that this LP has been the source for the Jazz Beat CD. These alternates have been issued on more than one release and it is also possible that original material was used.
Take The A Train in Early 1946
See DEMS 08/1-18
Thank you very much indeed, Sjef, for Azure CD 82. I can now listen to the 3rd Esquire Concert (doesn’t golden-voiced Orson go on!), including its Take The A Train, which is new to me, as is the one from the Zanzibar in late October 1945.
Here are my thoughts. By and large, I think I got things right earlier, though I’m always conscious of those musical chameleons with their ability to assume one another’s roles.
4558j. 25Aug45 Fieldstone Ballroom: The trumpet in the middle eight of Chorus 1 is way off-mike, but since Taft Jordan is present, it seems a safe bet he takes his usual eight bars here. I agree with New DESOR’s revised opinion that Rex plays the solo choruses usually assigned to Ray, in the absence of the latter.
4583g. 24oct45 Zanzibar broadcast: Taft is on mike this time. There is enough of the second chorus to learn that Duke had already taken on Ray’s solo, now that Ray had left the band for a time. I like Raglin’s bass playing, especially when he starts running!
4601o. 4Jan46 Carnegie Hall: I hear Taft, as usual, in Chorus 1, and while I can’t confidently identify him in the little break at the end, I see no reason to question that it is he. Duke takes on Ray’s solo chorus, adding a second. I agree that we hear Cat next — in a tremendous performance!
4605b. 16Jan46 Ritz, NYC (3rd Esquire Concert): No changes to the now established routine of Taft in Chorus 1 and at the end, Duke in Chorus 2, and Cat in Chorus 3. Cat sounds very Nance-ish here though, don’t you think, and quite different from at Carnegie Hall? That is, until he suddenly erupts in the middle eight, and takes his time to stop, as Al Sears moves in.
4606o. 20Jan46 Civic Opera House, Chicago: Not unlike 4605b. No further comment needed.
4609n. 28Mar46 Capitol Transcriptions: New DESOR has Taft as usual in Chorus 1 and at the very end; otherwise Cat throughout, i.e. in Ray’s old chorus which Duke had been taking at the piano in recent months, and in Chorus 3, his own regular slot in the same months. Patricia’s note (London LP HMP 5033) mentions only Taft as soloist.
It’s definitely Cat in Chorus 3, but I see no reason why the soloist in Chorus 2 shouldn’t be Taft, as Patricia’s note implies. This is not to say I can confidently assert that it is! Let’s hope that others have something to say on this.
It is interesting that Duke turned to a trumpeter once more in Chorus 2 for this studio recording, even though Ray had not yet rejoined at this point, and he had taken it over himself as a piano solo soon after Ray’s departure in the autumn.
For the Capitol Transcriptions, I would not presume to rely exclusively in most instances on my own ears to identify the soloists. Wally Heider, on whose Hindsight label the LPs were released, sent me from Los Angeles to New York to interview surviving members of the '46-'47 band. Al Sears and his wife graciously volunteered to have a backyard barbecue to entice everyone to congregate, theorizing that an exchange among the musicians would be more productive than my interviewing each individually. Sonny Greer fell ill at the last minute and could not attend.
I played the tapes for everyone assembled at the Sears' home and audio taped their comments and responses. That would be where the identification of Taft Jordan comes from. I will try to take the time to listen to those tapes so that I can tell you who it was who identified Jordan.
Four Reed Players on 27Feb36
The entry DE3604, 27Feb36, in the New DESOR is incorrect. There are definitely four reed players present for Clarinet Lament. There are clearly three alto saxes playing behind Bigard's solo starting at about 37 seconds into the piece.
DESOR states that for DE3604c and DE3604d, Otto Hardwick is out. Either he is not out, or there is a replacement present. Perhaps it's Peter Clark as appears on the following day, DE3605? Did Hardwick really leave halfway through the session?
The reason this came to my attention is because am I studying Isn't Love The Strangest Thing and checked the DESOR entry for 27Feb36. I identified a couple of untitled parts for this piece in the Smithsonian Collection some time ago, bringing the total of the known manuscripts to:
Brown, Bass, Carney, Barney, Otto
I decided to try to transcribe the rest by ear from the recording but was confused by the orchestration at the vocal entry where there is also a change of key beginning with four bars of Lawrence Brown.
There are, it seems, four instruments playing the "organ" (simple series of long notes in harmony) behind Brown and then the vocal, with Hardwick on the top line and Carney also playing alto, the third harmony part. Hodges on the 2nd part is audible but less so than Carney and Hardwick, whose notes I have from the original manuscripts.
The problem here is that nothing is written on Barney Bigard's part for the organ section and furthermore he has just finished his clarinet solo at that point. Therefore he can't be playing the first few bars of the fourth line of the organ on the tenor sax and it's certainly not a clarinet I hear there. Perhaps it's Tizol on valve trombone? It sounds too much like a tenor sax to me, but it's only just audible beneath the three altos.
Who's got keen enough ears to tell? I just can't decide! I enjoy these little quandaries...
Perhaps Tizol plays just the first four bars (behind Lawrence Brown) whilst Barney Bigard changes from clarinet to tenor sax in time for the vocal? Perhaps Bigard's part for the organ section appears out of sequence and on a separate sheet of paper, which has been lost. Or perhaps it's actually Tizol playing all the way through. His part is missing so there is no manuscript evidence.
I'm guessing there wasn't a mystery fifth reed player present who could be playing tenor.
But you never know.
Anyway, at least it showed up the DESOR error concerning Clarinet Lament and Echoes of Harlem for which there are undoubtedly four reeds present.
For people like me, who cannot read music, the description in the New DESOR might help to locate the moment where Michael is referring to: Isn’t Love the Strangest Thing? 3604a
I am writing to you from Georgia (not the State Georgia with Atlanta but Georgia, ex-USSR republic).
In 1990 the double LP “Famous Sacred Concerts of Ellington” was released in the Soviet Union with It's Freedom, where in the middle of the composition the word “Freedom" is heard in various languages including Georgian.
That intrigued me very much and since that time I have tried to find out how the Georgian language could appear in that composition. In the 60s Georgia (part of the USSR) was rarely known abroad, not to speak of the Georgian language.
I know that Ellington visited the Soviet Union, but he never came to Georgia, and his concert in Moscow has took place later, in 71, while the recording with the Georgian word "Tavisupleba" (i.e. Freedom) was released in 68.
Later on, having a chance to visit the US, I checked for that issue some old newspapers and various works dedicated to Duke Ellington. I thought I had found an answer, that the idea to use the Georgian language came to Ellington thru George Balanchine (who was of Georgian origin)... but quite recently I found out an alternative version of that story.
I thought maybe, you could be so kind as to help me or to advise me where to go to find the real background of the composition It's Freedom from The Second Sacred Concert.
I have checked the articles 1998/3-16/2 and 1997/4-11/3 in the DEMS Bulletins where the concert is discussed, and some alternative recordings of It's Freedom are also mentioned, but with no particular reference to the aspect, I am looking for.
When Duke was preparing for the second Sacred Concert, he asked Patricia Willard to supply him with translations of the word "Freedom". Patricia figured that Duke wanted to make a choice and she looked around for translations in several languages. This would have been rather easy today with all the information on the Internet, but it wasn't in these days. She was surprised to see later that Duke did not make a choice, but included all her translations in the text of his composition It's Freedom even though many of these translations were almost identical (for instance starting with LIBER…). She hasn't told me where she found all these translations, but being a professional journalist she must have known where to go. By the way Patricia herself is of Georgian descent.
What about the alternative version of the story?
Another version I have heard about this Georgian word in Duke's composition: my buddy from one Georgian Internet forum told me that it was Nugzar Sharia who supplied this Georgian word to Ellington. Sharia is a Georgian emigrant. He was an actor. In the United States he also worked for Radio Liberty - i.e. Radio Tavisupleba. Maybe that's why someone thought that he could be involved in Dukes' song.
Freedom i.e. Tavisupleba in Georgian is made of two words "tavi" - what means "person" or "head" and "upleba" – what means "right". "Tavisupleba" - can be understood as owning yourself, holding all rights - having no master in fact.
The Georgian word for “Freedom” was a contribution from my father, Dr. Ralph S. Willard, who was a Russian Georgian who emigrated to the U.S. in December 1922. Through the courtesy of Levan Nadiradze, we now know the correct English spelling of the word. My father gave it to me phonetically because he didn't know how to spell Georgian in English.
This is a photo-copy of page 28 of the sheet music of the “Sacred Concert No 2” published by Charles Hansen Music and Books NYC.
The Big Heist
A new Bud Shank DVD ("Against the Tide") comes with a CD that contains a track titled The Big Heist with Shank on flute backed by the Ellington band. I suspect that it is from the "Assault on a Queen" scoring sessions.
Apparently Shank was given the tape when it became obvious that it wasn't going to be used for the film or if it was going to be used would be overdubbed. I have not heard this yet (I've just ordered it) so can't compare it to anything in the film's final score.
If it is true that Ellington is on this track, it must be taken from the 19/20Jan66 recording sessions in Los Angeles, probably from the sequence titled Cool Geets Go Go which took 10:11. The Big Heist, which was used for the picture was probably recorded without Duke on 9Feb under conductor Irving Talbot in four parts, respectively 2:11 – 2:25 – 2:23 and 1:34 long. See Klaus Stratemann pp 528 and 529.
Please take a look at American eBay. Chose 78rpms and Duke Ellington. There you will find a SD for sale and there is also a reference to a web page dealing with the entire production of SD. Interesting reading. <http://hubcap.clemson.edu/~campber/sd.html>
From this page it seems that Steiner made two recordings of Frankie and Johnnie [sic] at the Civic Opera House on two different dates. I assume this information is incorrect but would like to have your comments.
By the way I happen to have a copy of the SD-78 with Frankie and Johnny but my label does not show the words "Merry Christmas 1946". Possibly he made several releases?
You must be right. John Steiner must have made releases with and without “Merry Christmas 1946” from the same recording. As far as we know, only one recording of Frankie and Johnny was made and definitely not a second one on another date. If you go to the page you mentioned you will find a listing of the concert, which has too many errors to be mentioned here.
By the way a few days ago, on 21Jul08, it was 100 years since John Steiner was born. I had the enormous pleasure to have known him and to have visited his basement.
Two Warm Valley’s?
I am confused by one entry on the first page of small corrections sheet 5001, volume 1, page 49 DE4015b. Add: NI 4016.
Does this mean that Warm Valley on the Natasha CD is no longer 4026b as listed in the discs section on page 1388 of volume 2? I do not see a corresponding correction to make this change in the discs section.
You are right. A note should have been added to 0546 on page 1388, saying: The end of track 9 is Warm Valley, 4015b. This is not mentioned on the Natasha CD, not on the Everybodies LP because it made no sense to pay copyrights for only 10 seconds of music, I guess. If you go to page 1267 and you look at the descriptions of 4015b and 4026b, it will be clear that there are two different Warm Valley’s on the Natacha CD.
NEW RELEASES AND RE-RELEASES
Duke Ellington - Live at Carnegie Hall, December 1944
This is a release by a company, Pristine Audio, which specializes in cleaning and sonically improving early Classical music. They have also issued a few Jazz and Blues items, including this Ellington and a really remarkable Louis Armstrong issue.
Full details at: http://www.pristineclassical.com
You may already be aware of this issue but I don't recall noting anything in DEMS Bulletin or in the discussion group. It actually seems to be track for track reissue of part of the Prestige Carnegie Hall 1943-1944 Concerts but they claim to have made speed corrections after picking up a residual 60mHz mains hum. However, on a short listen, I don't notice a difference. Perhaps a parallel listen will show it up. What I will say however is that there does seem to be an immediacy that isn't present, to me, in the Prestige release. I have to say though that their Louis Armstrong issue is revelatory. I hadn't expected to hear better than the Frémeaux et Associés release of early King Oliver and Armstrong tracks but the XR system certainly seems to extract far more than other systems have managed.
Swing Is the Thing
According to a review in VJM 148 (Winter 2007), the recently-released CD anthology "Swing is the Thing, a Decade of Classic Recording 1932-42" (Retrieval 79053) contains a "fresh" Ellington take: Creole Love Call mx. BX11264B (11Feb32).
The rather rare take B of St. Louis Blues by Bing Crosby from the same session is also on this nice CD. For me it's the first time I found Bing's take B on a CD. Harry Coster did a great job with the audio restoration. The liner notes are by Dick Sudhalter.
It may not surprise you at first sight, but then again it may. The total time of this CD is 70 min. but it has only 16 tracks. All the recordings are taken from original 12 inch 78 rpm’s. They brought back nice memories from the time when I started collecting before I concentrated on Duke Ellington.
Here is a listing of the tracks:
Ellington, 11Feb32, originally on Brunswick 20105:
1. St. Louis Blues take -B
2. Creole Love Call take –B
Fats Waller, originally on Victor 36206:
3. Honeysuckle Rose 9Apr37 take -1
6. Blue, Turning Grey over You 9Jun37 take -1
Tommy Dorsey, originally on Victor 36207:
4. Stop, Look and Listen 15Apr37 take -1
5. Beale Street Blues 26May37 take -2
Benny Goodman, 6Jul37, originally on Victor 36205:
7&8. Sing, Sing, Sing (Parts 1 and 2) take -2
Bunny Berigan, 7Aug37, originally on Victor 36208:
9. I Can’t Get Started take -1
10. The Prisoner’s Song take -1
Bob Crosby, 16Nov37, originally on Decca 15038:
11. South Rampart Street Parade take –A
12. Dogtown Blues take –A
Artie Shaw, 17Dec40, originally on Victor 36383:
13&14. Concerto for Clarinet (Parts 1 and 2) take -1
Bob Crosby, 17Feb42, originally on Decca 15064:
15. Chain Gang take –A
16. Ec Stacy take -A
Storyville 903 9013
The Treasury Shows Volume 13
See DEMS 05/3-46
It has taken quite a while after Volume 12 for Volume 13 to appear. Nicely timed for the 2008 conference in London, Volume 13 has come out 63 years after I heard some of this music through the Armed Forces Radio Network in Germany in the programs "Date with the Duke" #54, #55 and #56; and 26 years after the first broadcast came out on the DETS LP 24 (see DEMS 82/5-2) and 25 years after the second broadcast on DETS LP 25 (see DEMS 83/1-1). Thus, another generation has passed. Let's hope that the series will be re-issued yet again for my great-grandchildren after another quarter of a century. The music is classic and for all generations. With the release of these DETS broadcasts, Jerry Valburn with the help of Jack Towers, erected the biggest statue possible for Ellington.
My dear friend Lance Travis wrote the liner-notes, and he did a great job. I have read his original manuscript and I wonder why some of his texts have been mutilated to the extent that they have become baloney. On the first page of his liner-notes you find: “This performance I hazard to suggest was the only time on one specific day that influenced Duke to write a suite.” It should have read: “This performance I hazard to suggest was the only time one specific day was to influence Duke to write a suite.”
Shortly thereafter we read in the booklet: “Originally intended only for Her Majesty’s music collection, gratefully, we all have this music now in our collections.” This should have been: “Originally intended only for Her Majesty’s music collection, the Duke kept a copy, and, gratefully, we all have now this music in our collections.”
If you insert “changed to Victory Bonds. Duke recorded, amongst others – “ between War Bonds and The Perfume Suite in the second column on the second page of the liner-notes it will make more sense. You will find these words just a little further on with again a mention of the same titles, this time between quotation marks. I can very well understand that Lance is upset because of this horrible treatment of his manuscript resulting in garbage like: “At the movies you could watch “The Bells “King” Of St Mary’s” and…”
There are many more errors in the liner-notes, but this seems enough. Here I continue with my own remarks about the long awaited release. If you want to read the original notes as written, I can send you as an attachment Lance’s text.
The opening selection, Someone, starts a bit awkwardly. Comparing it with a tape recording from the Joe Igo collection, I find that the reason is the fact that the acetate was damaged at the start. This part was deleted on both the original DETS LP and also on this CD.
Since there has been some rumour about the quality of a few of these DETS CDs, I can assure you that this Volume 13 is superb. It could not be any better. But more importantly, the music is overwhelmingly great.
We would like to congratulate Jack Towers on a superb result. As you know Jack is not only famous for the Fargo recordings but also for producing master tape works for many big companies, both in the USA and in Europe. We are fortunate to have him handling the Treasury Shows.
Benny Aasland (in DEMS 82/5-2)
Storyville 101 8402
Duke Ellington . New York New York
Another tremendous CD consisting entirely of unissued material from the stockpile (76.5 minutes!), selected and annotated by Bjarne Busk. Thanks to Bjarne who made it possible for our Italian friends to include these recordings in their New DESOR, we can give you the DESOR number for each selection.
1. REXT -42 27Apr70 7034z
2. Flute -10 8Jun70 7043k
3. SOFT - 8 15Jun70 7044d
4. MIXT -26 15Jun70 7044s
5. Alerado - 4 9Jul70 7053c
6. Afrique - 2 9Jul70 7053e
7. Second Line 23Jul70 7061d
8. R.T.M. - 2 9Dec70 7089b
9. Sophisticated Lady - 3 9Dec70 7089c
10. Big Luv -12 9Dec70 7089j
11. I Got It Bad -11 11Dec70 7090p
12. Looking for My Man -39 3Feb71 7105d
13. No Title -38 11Feb71 7106am
14. Pretty Girl -37 5May71 7126b
15. Dreaming by the Fire -47 5May71 7126l
16. Pat Your Feet -53 5May71 7126o
17. Mood Indigo - 3 12Jun72 7225g
18. I'm Afraid (nc) -15 5Sep72 7245q
(nc) I'm Afraid (coda) -22 5Sep72 7245z
19. New York, New York -25 5Sep72 7245ac
Track 1. The discographical notes for the first selection are not completely correct. According to the New DESOR halfway through the session (before the start of Aristocracy à la Jean Lafitte) Mercer Ellington took over from Money Johnson. Also, it was not Malcolm Taylor who played in the trombone section, but his namesake Dave Taylor, who played the bass trombone. See DEMS 05/2-37p1497 and 05/3-57, correction on page 570.
Track 3. Erik Wiedemann believed that SOFT is part 12 of "The River", although Duke mentioned The Spring as the last part.
Track 5. The title is dedicated to Alexandre Rado who supervised recordings in Paris on 6Jul70 with Paul Gonsalves, Cat Anderson, Norris Turney, Wild Bill Davis (as Prince Woodyard), Joe Benjamin and Art Taylor. The LP that came out was titled "Paul Gonsalves and his All Stars". Track 3 was titled Alerado, composed by Wild Bill Davis (see Alexandre Rado's obituary, written by François Moulé and published in DEMS Bulletin 97/3-2).
Track 8. Many tape collectors have given the name Rhythmal Roof to R.T.M. It seems to mean: Rufus Jones, Norris Turney, and Malcolm Taylor.
Track 9. The take of Sophisticated Lady, which was issued on Pablo, is not from this session, but from 11Dec70.
With the exception of tracks 9, 18 and 19, all the recordings have been used for different broadcasts over the Danish Radio. In the broadcast, track 13 was not complete at the start. Only tracks 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 have been "released" in the past on DEMS cassettes. Fanatic collectors may have acquired through DEMS on cassettes some of these recordings, but as fanatic collectors, they will doubtless not miss the chance to replace their vulnerable cassettes with this very tastefully presented CD. A second compelling reason to buy this beautiful CD is the simple fact that our market for Ellington releases is so small that we should support one of the few record producers who still takes the risk to release this valuable music.
Duke Ellington in London 1958
Ellington 2008 commemorating double CD
For the occasion of the 20th Duke Ellington Conference on 22-26May08, the organizing committee released a double CD, which contains a copy of the double LP, released in 1988 for the Ellington Conference in Oldham. The order in which the selections were copied is exactly the same as on the double LP, which means that it is not the same order in which the selections were played. The sound is unimproved; the earlier 1988 release on the double LP was also over-recorded. It is a pity that some of the unreleased selections missing from the old double LP did not replace some of the released ones. See for titles and comments on the double LP DEMS Bulletin 88/5 pages 4 and 5.
The price of the double CD was very reasonable: only 10 GBP. They are still available for 14 GBP including mailing expenses for any destination. Go to www.ellington2008.org.
Mixed feelings about new "The Best of Duke Ellington" 4 CD set
During my regular check of Amazon for new Ellington CD's I came across a new "The Best of Duke Ellington". Most of the time I skip these. But this one caught my attention as the cover said 1932-1939, 4 CD set and it has the Columbia and RCA logo's on the cover. This made me look at the track list. CD's 1, 3 and 4 no surprises. But CD 2 has track: 1. Ebony Rhapsody (Rehearsal for "Murder at the Vanities") and track 2. Ebony Rhapsody pt. 2.
The other 93 tracks are from ARC-Brunswick and Daybreak Express from Victor. There are 100 sides in total because the two parts of both versions of Ebony Rhapsody and the four of Reminiscing in Tempo are presented as one track each. There are 95 tracks. All selections are by the orchestra. The sound quality is excellent.
At 9,99 Euro's I ordered the set immediately and it arrived the next day (BOL.com in the Netherlands). This set has been issued by Sony BMG. It is produced by Michael Brooks. The 78 rpm transfers are by Harry Coster and Matt Cavaluzzo. Digital sound restoration: Harry Coster. The liner notes are by Bruce Talbot. (There is a mistake in the notes; it says that Ellington's contract with ARC-Brunswick ended with Country Gal but after the session of 16oct39 there were 3 more ARC-Brunswick sessions: 22Nov39, 14Fev40 (last with the orchestra) and 15Feb40.)
The two Ebony Rhapsody versions are in the New DESOR as 3403a and 3403b. These recordings have been discussed in the DEMS bulletins 03/2-7/2 and 03/3-18/1.
But now my mixed feelings. For whom is this collection intended? The folder (no proper booklet) has a short survey of the period but no discographical data at all, except some information on the four "unissued" tracks. Is this for the more or less casual buyer or the seasoned Ellington collector? It seems to aim at both categories. Will a casual buyer be interested in two takes of any tune? Does an Ellington collector need 4 CD's, for just 2 or 3 tracks? I have nothing against compilations in themselves. There must be different editions for different types of listeners.
Another concern is whether this set will get in the way of a future Mosaic set on the 1932-1940 period.
The other "unissued" tracks have previously been issued:
On CD1 track 6 is Creole Love master (mx BX11264-B). This was issued last year on "Swing Is The Thing" a collection of 12" recordings by various bands (Retrieval 79053).
On CD 4 track 21 is Grievin' (mx WM1064-A). Issued on LP Raretone 23004 "Duke Ellington 1939", CBS (F) 88521 "The Complete Duke Ellington vol. 14" and on CD Classics 780 "1939 vol.2".
A small bonus: Scattin' at the Cotton Club is with the trumpet introduction. This was previously only on the Franklin Mint LP set.
I have very recently acquired a copy of a 4 CD set released by Sony/BMG called "The Best of Duke Ellington (1932 - 1939)". It features "Original Masters", mostly Columbia but with 2 previously unissued RCA Victor tracks of rehearsals for "Murder at The Vanities". Both are described as Ebony Rhapsody - part 2 and are differing versions of the same basic material. The first lasts 5m 20s, the second 5m 03s. They were given matrix numbers 73093 - 1 and 73094 - 1, respectively. I cannot remember seeing anything about these rehearsals before except, of course, in Stratemann and I suppose they must date from 26 Feb 34.
The only Columbia piece on the CDs that is "new" is take -B of the Feb 1932 Creole Love Call. Well, it was new to me!
If you go to the Correction-sheets on the depanorama web-site (see 08/2-34) you will find on sheet 1053 the new session 3403 from 26Feb34 and on sheet 2004 the descriptions of these four takes. The matrix numbers 79093 - 1 and 79094 - 1 belong to 3403 a and b respectively. I guess that you made a slight typo. The two (still unreleased) takes c and d carry the matrix numbers 79105 - 1 and 79106 - 1.
AVID Jazz AMSC 937 (2CD)
Duke Ellington: Three Classic Albums & More
Historically Speaking - The Duke; Duke Ellington Presents; Ellington 55
plus 11 tracks from Apr53
The Bethlehem album “Historically Speaking – The Duke” had 12 tracks. Its companion album “Duke Ellington Presents” had 11 tracks. The album Ellington ’55 had 8 tracks. The 11 tracks from Apr53 are 2 tracks from 6Apr (Satin Doll, Cocktails for Two), 5 from 7Apr (Three Little Words, Stardust, My Old Flame, I Can’t Get Started, Stormy Weather) and 4 from 9Apr (Warm Valley, Liza, Flamingo and Boo-Dah).
Previously released Bethlehem CDs have been mentioned in DEMS 88/1-1 and TDES Newsletter of Sep90. An “Ellington ’55” re-release on CD was mentioned in 99/5-19/2, but with 8 tracks, not 10. Of course, all the Capitol selections were included in the 96 tracks Mosaic 5 CD box MD5-160 last mentioned in 07/3-22.
The popular Jo Stafford died on 16Jul08. Because she never appeared with Ellington, we have not put that sad news in the beginning of this Bulletin. She has however made three sessions on 15Jul, 1Aug and 10Aug60 with a group of five Ellingtonians: Ray Nance, Lawrence Brown, Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster and Harry Carney and seven other musicians: Don Fagerquist and Conte Condoli; Russ Freeman, Jimmy Rowles, Bob Gibbons, Joe Mondragon and Mel Lewis.
The titles: Just Squeeze Me, For You, Midnight Sun, You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To, The Folks Who Live on the Hill, I Didn’t Know About You, What Can I Say after I Say I’m Sorry, Dream of You, Imagination, S’posin’, Day Dream and I’ve Got the World on a String. These recordings are still available on her own label Corinthian, CD 108 “Jo + Jazz”. If you have it, or if you have the 1977 re-release on LP Corinthian 108 or even if you have the original Columbia CL 1591 release, you should listen to Day Dream. It’s marvellous.
The New DESOR correction-sheets
Peter MacHare had the brilliant idea to make PDF files from the Correction-sheets and put them on his web-site.
If you go to the Home page with http://www.depanorama.net, you can click on the link titled NDesor and that will bring you to the Correction-sheets. You can also get there directly with http://www.depanorama.net/desor.
If you have looked at one Correction-sheet and you want to see another one, you can use the back button on the browser. That will bring you back to the list of Correction-sheets where you can choose another one.
This new development has several advantages. The most important one for me is the fact that I no longer have to mail the hard copies to my “customers”. Another advantage is the fact that I no longer have to wait some time before I can publish a new Correction-sheet, because it was not yet filled up.
To manage this new method, I suggest that I number the sheets like this: XXXX/1; XXXX/2 and XXXX/3 until the sheet is full. From that moment on it will have its standard number XXXX.
In cases where there have been made corrections by hand on a Correction-sheet, Peter will mention in the list of sheets that this sheet has been corrected. So if you do not have that corrected sheet, you will know you should look at it.
For my own benefit (to check if a correction might already have been made) I compiled for myself 6000 sheets. On these sheets are the same small corrections as on the 5000 sheets, but this time grouped into one list. These lists can also be of use when someone bought recently a set of New DESOR books and wants to update them. He or she can now work only once through the books from beginning to end. We have decided to publish these 6000 sheets also on depanorama. We might update them each time (each four months, like we do now) or once a year, which seems sufficient.
This time, Aug08, I will mail the sheets to all “customers”. The next time, Dec08, only to those who explicitly ask me to continue sending hard copies.
Roger Boyes who did the proofreading of our texts couldn’t dig what we were trying to say with these correction-sheets. We promise you, if you go to the entries on Peter MacHares web-site you will not have a problem (assuming that you have the two New DESOR volumes).
Here are the latest additions to the Correction-sheets:
1088 - 9068 Duke’s
Four 8Jan73 08/1-9
1089/1 - 9069 Hartford intervie 7May71 08/1-6
3029/1 - 6660-6664;9068 Eagle Vision-431 08/1-8&9
6818 Impro-Jazz IJ-540 08/2-12
The New DESOR corrections
We remind you that these corrections are merely suggestions. They are not (yet) accepted by the authors of the New DESOR. Unsigned suggestions were brought in by Hoefsmit.
Page 219. Duke had five trumpeters during the second set on 7Jul56. Herbie Jones was the fifth. See “Backstory in Blue” page 121. The book is reviewed in DEMS 08/2-8.
Page 532. 21Jun69. Typo: RJ(b) should read RJ(d).
Page 1113. The description of Scattin’ at the Kit Kat for the 1936 recording is not accurate. It is in accordance with the releases on FDC and CBS, but on Franklin Mint is the “complete” version, which includes a 4 bars intro by CW.
Page 1473, Add to Herbie Jones: occasionally 7Jul56.
Page 1476. John Lamb’s birthday is 29Nov33. See my report of the London Conference on page X.
Page 1486. Oscar Peterson died on 23Dec07. (08/1-1)
1. The name is Altrisuoni and not Altrusioni as was twice mentioned in the text of 08/1-32.
2. Morgen and not Morgan
See DEMS 08/1-9
It is a small consideration but Joe Morgen is not Morgan. His was the Jewish (and perhaps German) spelling.
3. The New DESOR Correction-sheets
See DEMS 08/1-33
The three Manchester concerts have the numbers 9065, 9066 and 9067 and not 9085, 9086 and 9087
NOTE: typos fixed online pm 24jul08
DESOR small corrections
These corrections are authorised by Luciano Massagli and Giovanni Volonté.
DESOR small corrections 5013
Volume 1 (Corrections August 2008)
5 - Session 2807. 2807b should be written: Doin’ The New Low Down. (08/1-34)
496 - Session 6818. All titles, except 6818e and 6818f, issued on IJ IJ-540. (08/2-12)
610 - Make a note for session 9069 of 7May71, interview at Bushnell Memorial Auditorium at Hartford. Correction-sheet 1089 (08/1-6)
672 - Session 7253. Delete 7253j. (08/1-9)
675 - Session 7305. Delete the whole session. It is replaced by 9068 on Correction-sheet 1088 (08/1-9)
Volume 2 (Corrections August 2008)
791 - Caravan. Delete 7305h (08/1-9)
792 - Carnegie Blues. Delete 7305b (08/1-9)
814 - Cotton Tail. Delete 7305a (08/1-9)
840 - Doin’ the New Lowdown should be written: Doin’ the New Low Down (08/1-34)
864 - Everything But You. Delete 7305g (08/1-9)
872 - Fourth Movement. The reference number is 9068z instead of 7253j (08/1-9)
978 - Just Squeeze Me. Delete 7305f (08/1-9)
1003 - Love You Madly. Delete 7305e (08/1-9)
1080 - Prelude to a Kiss. Delete 7305d (08/1-9)
1211 - The Hawk Talks. Delete 7305c (08/1-9)
1217 - The Old Circus Train, 6663d. The structure of the first 3 choruses should be read as follows: 1°BAND;2°JHa(t.s.);3°8JHa(t.s.),4SW. (00/2-9)
1235 - Things Ain’t What They Used To be, 6664u. The structure should be read as follows: 1°BAND;pas8BAND&JH;2°8BAND&JH,4BAND;3°BAND;cod4BAND (00/2-9)
1390 - Pablo 2310-703. Change the reference
track A01, 9068w instead of 7305a;
track A02, 9068j instead of 7305b;
track A03, 9068m instead of 7305c;
track A04, 9068s instead of 7305d;
track B01, 9068y instead of 7305e;
track B02, 9068e instead of 7305f;
track B03, 9068x instead of 7305g.
Add, in the NOTE.
Track A02: 8°-10°chorus are from 9068k.
Track A03: the intro is replaced by 9068n. (08/1-9)
1390 - Pablo 2310-721. Change the reference number: track B04, 9068z instead of 7253j.
Correction-sheet 1068. Delete session 7305 (08/1-9)