DUKE ELLINGTON MUSIC SOCIETY
08/3 December 2008 - March 2009
Our 30th Year of Publication
FOUNDER: BENNY AASLAND
Voort 18b, 2328 Meerle, Belgium
Telephone: +32 3 315 75 83
Quentin “Rocky” White
“Rocky” White died on 4Jun08 in Houston at age 56. When Duke hired him in 1973, he was only 21 years old. He stayed in the band and became road manager in late 1990.
Wonderful Smith who was born on 21Jun11, died on 28Aug08. He appeared in the show “Jump for Joy” with several sketches, one of which made him famous: the telephone call with the President of the United States. I knew that I had a recording of him, which I couldn’t find at first, because in my files I misspelled his name with quotation marks: “Wonderful” Smith. That was wrong. I asked my computer to look for Wonderful Smith. That was his real name. I gave his birth date because I hope the New DESOR will accept him among the musicians in Section Four. Duke introduced him in the CBS broadcast pre-recorded on 25Aug41 and Wonderful did another hilarious routine: a telephone call with Uncle Tom.
Joe Medjuck told us where to go to read his obituary:
“With greetings from Sweden /Sven Eriksson”
Sven has sent us this clipping. Only a few weeks later (on 13oct08) Sven passed away.
Arne Domnérus was a great musician and Sven was a great friend. They will both be missed.
Frank Dutton was one of my dearest pen-friends. His letters were mostly written on an old type-writer and sometimes even by hand. I tried to establish his dates of birth and death but I didn’t succeed. Roger Boyes wrote an obituary for “Blue Light” and gave me a copy of his article to be included in this DEMS Bulletin. I think it is a good idea to make this sad news accessible to more readers than only the members of DESUK.
returned home from the United States early in October to learn of the death of
DESUK founder- and life-member, Frank Dutton of Malvern. A distinguished and
diligent jazz researcher of long standing, Frank was in charge of Jazz
Journal’s ‘Notes And Queries’ feature as long ago as the 1950s. In the
Ellington community he will always be remembered for his pioneering work in the
1970s on Duke’s earliest years as a bandleader. This developed from an
investigation into the Ellington Orchestra’s saxophone section on Duke’s
earliest idiomatic recordings, from November 1926 to June 1927. It appeared in Storyville
80, December 1978 - January 1979, pages 44-53. Three further articles added to
it, and Frank admitted in the third (Storyville 98, December
1981-January 1982, page 12): ‘And we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface
of the sax-team problem!’ Instead he had laid the foundations for all
subsequent early Ellington Itinerary studies.
In his first article, after an explanatory Introduction, Frank presented over eight pages a chronological survey, in the form of what we would now call a spreadsheet. In four columns, headed respectively Date, Personnel, Source, Remarks, he marshaled all the information he had gleaned on Duke’s early band leading years, from 1917 in Washington DC to 4 December 1927, when he opened at the Cotton Club. Frank gave a memorable presentation on that event at the second Oldham conference, Ellington’88.
As such surveys usually do, Frank’s stimulated others to further research. Previously the early years had been largely overlooked and at best skated over, by writers who were usually keen to get on to the less challenging territory of the records. Everyone who works on this fascinating period of Duke’s career acknowledges a debt to his Storyville survey. Here is the late Mark Tucker, in Ellington The Early Years (Bayou Press, 1991): ‘The single most helpful article for this study was a four-part series by Frank Dutton entitled Birth of A Band that appeared in the British periodical Storyville from 1979 to 1983’ (p309). In his Preface to The Washingtonians: A Miscellany (2006, privately published) Steven Lasker singled out Frank’s work along with Tucker’s for special mention. He reiterates the point in his Foreword to Ken Steiner’s Wild Throng Dances Madly In Cellar Club (2008, privately published), the most recent substantial addition to the story.
Ken himself has talked of ‘standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before us’, to describe his own work, referring to a frequently-used image which dates from as long ago as twelfth-century France and the philosopher Bernard de Chartres: ‘We are like dwarves on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size’.
Frank Dutton was such a giant.
Wm Fawcett Hill
That’s how he signed his letters. We all knew and loved him as Bill Hill. Here are some testimonies.
William Fawcett (Bill) Hill died at home in Los Angeles on November 13. He was 90 years old. I first met Bill at the Duke Ellington International Meeting in Newark NJ in the summer of 1986. He joined TDES then. He returned to LA and founded the Duke Ellington Society of Southern California (DESSC) shortly after. He served as President for 11 years. He was a regular at the DE International meetings. He once told me that he was the Chairman and only member of the Las Vegas Chapter of the Duke Ellington Jazz Society at its founding in 1959.
Bill and I were great friends. We visited back and forth many times. I will miss him dearly.
Bill was a lovely gentleman. I remember well meeting him at Ellington 2000 and later he went to some trouble to send me a copy of his interview with Ivie, in which she talked (or more truly, avoided talking) about the disastrous 1928 trip she made to Australia with Sonny Clay. Unfortunately Bill must have inadvertently turned something off while copying the tape, so I mostly got the sounds of him wandering around in the background. I didn't have the heart to tell him, so just thanked him politely for his trouble, but fortunately another LYM member gave me a good copy of the tape a short while later.
It was with great sadness I just learned that Bill Hill has passed away, and received this obituary from Bill's wife Priscilla.
I knew Bill for many years, we met at Ellington conferences and privately, I read one of his books "Learning thru discussion" with great professional interest, and I benefitted from long talks on this topic, and Ellington oriented topics. We shared an interest in examining and collecting other artists interpretations of Ellington music, and exchanged music and thoughts for many years.
I was also privileged to get to know Bill's wife Priscilla, a gifted and loving person, who meant so much to Bill, and my thoughts and compassion go to her and the family.
William Fawcett (Bill) Hill died peacefully at home in La Verne on Nov. 13, 2008. He was born Aug. 20, 1918 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to William Kennedy and Laura Fawcett Hill. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Priscilla Smith Hill and their two sons, William James Hill and Simon Quinn Hill and grandson, William Jerome Miranda-Hill of Claremont, CA; and a daughter from a previous marriage, Susan Hill Hawes of Bracebridge, Ont., Canada.
Bill served in the RCAF during WWII for 5 years as a navigator, stationed at Coal Harbour, B.C., Canada. After his service he attended the Univ. of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, where he received his B.A. in Psychology in 1948 and M.A. in Psychology in 1950. He then attended the University of Chicago, where he received his doctorate in 1955.
Bill worked at state mental health hospitals in both Idaho and Utah for 7 years, during which time he was both a clinical psychologist and researcher. In his capacity as a researcher he developed a method for studying the verbal interaction of psychotherapy groups. This method has been used by universities inside and outside the US, having generated about 144 doctoral dissertations, as well as numerous other published studies. Bill then went to work at the Youth Studies Center at the Univ. of So. Calif. During this time he founded and edited for eight years one of the first professional group journals, Comparative Group Behavior, (later called Small Group Behavior). Bill also authored a discussion group method called Learning Thru Discussion, which has been used widely in education.
After working at USC, Bill taught in the Behavioral Sciences Dept. at Cal. Poly for 18 years. He became a Professor Emeritus in 1988 and from then on his focus was on his lifelong love, jazz. He was the founding president of the Duke Ellington Society of So. Calif. (DESSC) in 1988 and served in this capacity for 11 years. DESSC is still active and it gives scholarships to students of the Duke Ellington High School. Remembrances of Bill can be made by sending donations towards this scholarship fund to DESSC, P. O. Box 2652, Culver City, CA 90231-2652. Services will be private.
Treasures from South Africa
I am attempting to date music from CDs taken from my friend Jerry Valburn’s reel to reel tapes. This has resulted in finding several unissued and unknown treasures.
1. The oldest New Find is a rendition by Albert Hibbler of Do Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me, which is not documented in the New DESOR. Hoefsmit suspects that this is from the session of 13Apr44. Since Benny Aasland was so sure about the existence of the acetate (documented in WaxWorks 44-9) and because already 3 selections of this broadcast have popped up, Giovanni Volonté and Luciano Massagli decided to include this session in their discography although they had no copy to listen to. I wonder why they did not accept this recording as a part of the broadcast of 13Apr44. They have heard it now and decided to put it as a 1943/1944 NBC broadcast on Correction-sheet 1089, session 9017.
2. The second oldest item is the recorded conversation between Duke and Mildred Bailey, which precedes Dancers in Love of 2Aug44.
3. Another interesting New Find is something else which seems to be taken from a broadcast. It contains in addition to the commentary Sophisticated Lady & Mood Indigo and Dancers in Love. Luciano Massagli first believed that this is taken from two different broadcasts because he heard two different speakers. I also believe that there are indeed two different speakers, but I hear them throughout the whole programme: Percy and Don. It seems that the title of the broadcast is “Carnation Contented Hour” and that the orchestra is Percy Faith’s. The last selection is accompanied by what one might believe to be a tap-dancer or Duke’s terpsichorean interjections. My guess is that the date is from either 1946 or 1947. See Correction-sheet 1089, session 9072.
4. Another broadcast is taken from the series “Smiling Jack Smith Show” which ran from 21Aug45 until 26Dec52 through CBS four times a week for 15 minutes, sponsored by Procter and Gamble. It contains in addition to some conversation Duke with a studio orchestra playing: Take the “A” Train and a Medley: Solitude, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore & I Let a Song Go Out Of My Heart, Sophisticated Lady. The main clue as to the date is the phrase “A recent return after extensive touring, to the Paramount Theatre in the big city.“ (Can we assume this to be New York?) This could narrow the date down to shortly after 23Apr47. See Klaus Stratemann p286. It sounds similar to the last item presented by Steven Lasker in 2004 in Stockholm, but in fact it is different. It is obvious however that the same scores were used by the accompanying orchestras on both recordings. It too sounds as if it is the same as the recording of 16Apr44, DESOR 4408, but once again it is different. The Medley on DESOR 4408 is the only one of the three which is interspersed with selections (in this case by the Hall of Fame Orchestra) in which Ellington is not heard. The two other, unidentified Medley’s are not interrupted in this way; Ellington is heard throughout. See Correction-sheet 1089, session 9074.
5. Another new item is the introduction to Duke’s appearance on 6Dec47 on the “King Cole Trio Time” show, preceding his performance of Mood Indigo.
6. A less interesting recording is the one taken from a WMCA broadcast, copied from a 16”ET “Duke Ellington Audition” No. 1 and 3, First Duke Ellington Show from Dec47. The whole programme consisted of recordings which were commercially available at the time. We hear on this segment the opening Take the “A” Train, from 15Feb41, Duke’s introduction to the records of the Andrews Sisters, Vaughan Monroe and two records by Perry Como. The records themselves are not heard, only the introductions. It ends with the recording of Flamingo of 28Dec40. See Klaus Stratemann p291. The last record (by Perry Como) was A Fellow Needs a Girl from the show “Allegro”, which opened on Broadway on Oct47.
7. An isolated track is the one on which Duke introduced several British traditional jazz musicians. It was recorded for London’s Associated Rediffussion (ARTV) 30 minute series Tuesday Rendezvous. [ARTV became Thames TV in the weekday, Saturday and Sunday it was Weekend TV.] The series was broadcast from 1961-63. The programme in question was the last of a series “History of Jazz”. Duke introduces Bob Wallis and his Storyville Jazzmen, along with Chris Barber, Mr. Acker Bilk and George Webb, all being participants in the “Trad Jazz Revival”. I very much doubt if this could be an American production. The year 1963 is a good guess. Duke was at the Chelsea Studios of Granada Television at the end of Jan63. We only hear Duke speaking. There is no music of any kind featured. There is evidence that Duke appeared on this programme on 13Feb63. Any information would be appreciated.
8. We know the recording of 26Aug63 at the Michigan State Fair Grounds, which had guest vocalist Dinah Washington. See New DESOR 6365. A great part of this concert was “released” on Azure cassette CA-23. There was also an afternoon concert on the same day with Chubby Kemp doing the vocals. There is no doubt that this is another recording. It has been compared with cassette CA-23. That afternoon concert was attended by the violist David Rubinoff. During Silk Lace an aeroplane was flying over the proceedings, which confirms the location as an open air site. The selections are: (nc) Stompin’ at the Savoy; Silk Lace; Lullaby of Birdland; Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue; Medley: Satin Doll, Solitude, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, Mood Indigo, I’m Beginning To See the Light, Sophisticated Lady, Caravan, Do Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me, I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart & Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (nc); Tootie for Cootie; Skin Deep; Walkin’ and Singin’ the Blues; I Got It Bad; Things Ain’t What They Used To Be; Al of Me.
On DE 6365 Rolf Ericson is introduced as the ‘Dizzy Gillespie of Scandinavia, from 42nd street and Broadway Stockholm’. On the concert with Chubby Kemp, this becomes ‘52nd street’.
9. The greatest surprise among these New Finds is a complete concert, recorded between the end of Jan and the beginning of Mar74. We can date this because Cootie Williams and Woolf Freedman are present, both came into the band at the end of Jan74. Alos there is a spoken “Welcome” after the opening C-Jam Blues, on behalf of the Union Activity Organisation for the opening of the 1974 Mardi Gras Celebration. Mardi Gras 1974 was on 26Feb. Woolf Freedman answered my e-mail and gave New Orleans and Mardi Gras as location and date. He wrote: “Your date is correct. With Mardi Gras we first were paraded around outdoors on a mobile bandstand as the head of Mardi Gras and then we played a concert/dance indoors.”
This recording has historic significance, since it was one of the last concerts Duke played.
See for the complete programme Correction-sheets 1090 and 1091/1, session 9070.
There is not the slightest doubt that this Feb74 recording is a genuine “New Find”.
I can add a little concerning paragraph 7, though nothing conclusive, I am afraid.
Trad Jazz was a British phenomenon, and this is bound to be a British programme, not an American one. Even a mainland European origin is most unlikely, I’d think. Barber, Bilk and Wallis were definitely part of the ‘trad’ boom. George Webb was not. He was a key figure much earlier, in the revivalist movement of the early post-war years, long before trad. 1963 is a very likely date. Certainly not much later. By 1964 the Beatles and the Stones had arrived and the ‘trad’ bubble had burst.
Presumably the music offered by these participants has been edited out, leaving Duke’s introduction. What is the evidence that the Rediffusion programme was transmitted on 13 February though? 13 Feb was a Wednesday in 1963. Lance himself says that Tuesday Rendezvous was screened on Tuesdays and on Fridays (odd!) A Wednesday screening would also be odd. And if it was it would be on the same evening as Granada’s Ellington Orchestra recording to which Lance refers. Network ITV programmes were sourced from both Granada and Rediffusion, and other companies too. I think it most unlikely that the ITV network schedule would run two programmes with jazz content on the same evening. It is possible that Rediffusion’s Tuesday Rendezvous had a purely local - ie London - screening. The franchise holders sometimes ran (and still do run) local programmes in a slot between the teatime News and the evening’s national schedule. Even so, two jazz programmes on the same channel in 1963? I doubt it, though I could be proved wrong by the evidence.
The Granada Chelsea Studios recording took place before the end of January. The Ellington Orchestra left England for Paris on 28th. I see no reason to date it later than 21-22 January, the date given in Stratemann and New DESOR.
There is a new book coming out from the same publisher and in the same series as “Someone to Watch over Me: The Life and Music of Ben Webster” by Frank Büchmann-Möller. (See DEMS 06/2-8. The first release was in hardcover but on 28Jan09 there will also be a paperback edition of this book on the market, ISBN-13: 9780472033607).
The new book is
Ellington Uptown : Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson, and the Birth of Concert Jazz
by John Howland
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Pub. Date: February 28, 2009
Series: Jazz Perspectives
Format: Hardcover, 392pp
Format: Paperback, 392pp
Go for more info to:
Milo van den Assem