DUKE ELLINGTON MUSIC SOCIETY
03/1 April-July 2003
FOUNDER: BENNY AASLAND
Voort 18b, Meerle, Belgium
Telephone: +32 3 315 75 83
"Adolphus J. Alsbrook of Kansas City, Kas., and Minneapolis, Minn., is a recent addition to Duke Ellington's orchestra. He plays the bass violin, harp, accordion and guitar, and has arranged music for such orchestras as Red Nichols, Paul Pendarvis and others in Minneapolis. He has composed several novelty numbers. A graduate of Sumner high school, he has attended the University of Kansas, the University of Minnesota and the Chicago Conservatory of Music. He is also the brother of William Noel Alsbrook of the Deep River quartet and James E. Alsbrook of the Call staff."
- Kansas City Call, October 13, 1939
Note: Billy Taylor was the orchestra's bassist at the time. Perhaps Alsbrook sat in with the band for a short while as a second bassist. Evidently things didn't work out. Duke would pick up a pretty good bass player shortly thereafter.
- Ken Steiner
Alsbrook shows a few times using Google.com, and is shown as a bass player.
- David Palmquist
According to Ancestry.com's Social Security Death Index Adolphus J. Alsbrook was born 21Feb12 and died 2Jun88.
His residence at time of death was 953, U.S. Consulate, Canada. His Social Security card was issued in Minnesota before 1951. A calculation shows that Alsbrook was 27 when he played with Duke.
- Stan Slome
I don't know when he arrived here, but Adolphus Alsbrook lived and worked in Vancouver, Canada until his death (he was a member of AFM Local 145). I had the fortune to play with him only once (around 1979/80). I remember him as a classy person. He was also the first bass player I ever worked with who didn't use an amp.
- Fred Stride
Don't forget that he's mentioned in Beneath The Underdog (misspelled as Allbrooks, I seem to recall).
The book's not to hand as I write, but the mention is probably in the Charlie Parker Billy Berg's jam-session story. Anyway, apart from learning (via John Chilton from the same print source) that he played with Duke just before Jimmie Blanton, I only ever found him in one other reference, the fact that he recorded on a (very commercial) Earl Bostic session in 1957.
I believe he worked regularly on the West Coast up to a certain point, then retired to either Seattle or maybe Vancouver. Chilton, indeed, tried to interview him by phone but found him very uncooperative (disillusioned?) and people like Red Callender certainly confirmed his existence, though not necessarily Mingus's high opinion of him.
- Brian Priestley
Interesting to hear more about Adolphus Alsbrook. Even though he only had a "cup of coffee" with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, he must have been a fine musician.
I did an internet search on Alsbrook and found him listed as a sideman with Monk. This reminds me of how many fine musicians there are who go unrecognized (and likely under- employed, too). It also serves to illustrate how many African-American musicians receive "classical" training.
Thanks to Fred's mention of Alsbrook in Vancouver my memory was jogged. I put 2 plus 2 together, and found Adolphus Alsbrook right here in Seattle.
Alsbrook was active in the Seattle area in the late 40s, before my time here (or anywhere). I am sure I know musicians who remember him.
Alsbrook is mentioned in detail in Paul de Barros' excellent (and encyclopaedic) work, "Jackson Street After Hours: the Roots of Jazz in Seattle." Here's a portion from page 95:
"Alsbrook was a curious fellow. Originally from Kansas City, he had studied classical bass and harp, and according to Leon Vaughn, worked with Lester Young in Minneapolis and with Eli Rice on a Midwest tour in the thirties.
Julian Henson remembers working with Alsbrook at the Rhumboogie Club in Minneapolis in the 1940s, where he says the bassist also taught judo in the police department.
"Gene Ramey, the renowned Count Basie bassist, reports that Alsbook was one of the only musicians ever to quit Duke Ellington's band:
'The bass player who preceded Blanton with Duke for a short time was from Kansas City. His name was Adolphus Allbrooks (sic), and I used to see him walking across the viaduct from Kansas City, Kansas, to Kansas City, Missouri, with his bass on his back. He was a great bass player, but he complained that Duke was using all the wrong chords. He was a great arranger, too, but he didn't want to consider that Duke was creating a new sound in music. He became a professor up at the University of Minnesota.' "
De Barros goes on to detail his time in Seattle (including work with Ernestine Anderson), and later career.
- Ken Steiner
Following up on the Priestley reference that Alsbrook played on the West Coast, I checked with Howard Rumsey down in Newport Beach this afternoon (16Dec). Yes, indeed, Howard knew him around LA as a fine player, quiet, and a gentleman.
Howard said he remembered Alsbrook as coming after Braud and before Blanton with Duke.
When Alsbrook was playing in the LA area (late 40s), Braud was also on the scene.
I spoke to Gerald Wiggins after his performance at our DESSOCAL Christmas Party last night (17Dec) in LA. "Yes," said Wig (whose license plate reads De Wig), he played with Alsbrook. First reference: "He was a judo expert. You didn't mess around with him."
Wiggins said he played with Alsbrook in Seattle, 1944-46, and a "couple of gigs" at the Velvet Turtle in LA in the 40s. Alsbrook was 5'10" or 5'11", heavy set and easily weighed over 200 lbs. Wiggins confirmed Howard Rumsey's observation that Alsbrook was a quiet man. "He didn't say much," said Wiggins.
- Stan Slome
See DEMS 02/2-1
Page 3 (of the booklet): "Dr. H. Bings Diamond" should instead have read Dr. H. Binga Dismond. His wife was named Geraldyn. (Grateful acknowledgement to Bill Egan for spotting this mistake.)
- Steven Lasker
Here are some Ellington/Kenton ephemera.
I think the only "Battle of the Bands" between the two took place on 11Jul53 at the Roll Away Ballroom in Revere Beach, Mass. The two bands had been double booked at the Club Oasis in LA on 9Mar52 and this was announced to be a "cutting contest", but in fact it was sorted out by the Kenton band playing in the afternoon and Ellington following in the evening.
In 1966, Kenton took part in a Blindfold Test when Duke's version of Artistry in Rhythm (Reprise 1962) was played. Kenton said: 'I think I have to say that this affects me in a very personal way. It's like the master of us all said "Stan, don't take yourself too seriously. After all, you know, you do have a sense of humour." I think it's beautiful. And he is the master, too. I'd have to give it four stars.
We had a TV show in Kansas City plugging the festival there. They had a guy president of one of the unions there, and he was talking about what's great about Ellington's band. They talked about everybody but the guy who IS Ellington, right next to Ellington, and that's Harry Carney. Carney's sound has never been duplicated. He has identity, and to me he's Duke.
I don't know whose arrangement it is. It sounds like an ear thing. By that, I mean something that they sat down and figured out. There were great ideas there. Very pleasing.'
Bill Fritz played reeds with Kenton during the exciting period when Kenton devised and supported the marvellous series of Neophonic performances in LA in the late 60s. He recalled: 'Stan and I discussed which possible performers to get for the Neophonic. We both got it in our minds to have Duke Ellington guest conduct. Stan called him in Las Vegas, where his band was playing, and told me to grab the extension. So, I got to listen in on two grand masters of the big band world in conversation.
"Stan! Delighted to hear from you. How goes things?"
Kenton responded "I'm just getting over 'flu'."
"Well, Stan," Duke tells him, "those must have been the royalty of germs!" They were both complete gentlemen.
Duke casually said that he would think the offer over. We could tell he was very hesitant about coming to LA and conducting, but we couldn't figure out why, because he had the dates open. I know it couldn't have been over money Stan would have paid Duke whatever he had asked for. We finally found out from his manager why Duke refused us: since he'd be reading new music that he wasn't familiar with, he'd have to wear glasses on stage to conduct, and even at 70 years of age, Duke was too vain to do that.'
Trumpeter Warren Gale recalls that when the Kenton band played at the opening of the Ruggles Club in Chicago in 1970, the Ellington band had that night played a concert of sacred music at the Auditorium Theatre.
'As the Kenton band members were walking in on opening night, I noticed a group of black gentlemen sitting at a table towards the back. Upon closer observation I realised that it was one of our jazz masters himself, along with some members of his band. They had decided to catch Stan's opening. When Stan noticed it was Duke he immediately acknowledged his presence and had him come up and perform with the band on our arrangement of Take the "A" Train. This was incredible. I actually had the chance to play with one of our most important jazz pioneers of this great art form. After a sizzling performance, Duke grabbed the microphone and said "I've always wanted to play with the band, but they won't fire the piano player!"
The whole band fell out laughing, along with Stan, who had to take a few minutes to gather himself before he could resume playing. This will always be my most memorable moment with Kenton.'
On the subject of Kenton's perfectionist attitude, he said 'I learned one thing from Duke Ellington a number of years ago, and I should have gotten over this thing at that time. He said "Sometimes you go for perfection so much that there's no depth or content to it. You should learn to live with wrong notes or mistakes once in a while. That's part of the human error that makes the thing what it is." I'm just getting around to where I don't have the fear that I used to.'
Kenton trombonist Dick Shearer: 'In 1967 an appointment was set up for Stan to meet Duke Ellington. It was strictly a business situation. The meeting was basically to discuss having a bill passed to have the copyright laws changed for performers to receive royalties for TV and radio performances. Stan was trying to get everyone into that through NARAS. Duke was in NYC and an arrangement was made for Stan to meet him since we were in town. Stan received a call to meet Duke in his hotel suite and invited me along, too. We went to his suite and knocked on the door. Well, there's Duke stone-ass naked! He says "Come in, fellas." Stan asked if we should come back later. "Oh no, I'll just be a minute," he smiles. We enter and proceed to chit chat while Duke's lying on the bed in his birthday suit rubbing powder all over himself. Were we embarrassed? Well, at moments like that you do feel kind of funny.
The next time I ran into Duke we were doing the Newport Jazz festival in 1971. Stan was sick that summer and Mike Vax and I were fronting the band. We opened up with Maria from West Side Story. The piano intro was cut since Stan wasn't present, and I'd cue John Von Ohlen for a long cymbal roll to bring the band in. I look down, getting ready to give the downbeat and out of the corner of my eye, I see Duke looking right at me. I say to myself "Please Lord, let me get through this." Out of my other eye there's Buddy Rich looking right at me as well. Somehow I got into the tune and the crowd just went wild.
We ended with something Ken Hanna wrote, called The Macumba Suite. We're backstage afterwards and Duke was very complimentary. He says "Man, you guys just messed me up. I wanted to do this new suite of mine. Now I've changed my mind.  You all played marvellously. I don't want to follow that." I said "What do you mean, marvellous? What we played was based on South American voodoo." But Duke insisted on having his programme changed. His band went on after us, and I'm out in the audience with Quin Davis. They played one arrangement that was so far out and hip, real avant- garde. We didn't know Duke's band was into this stuff. They play for a minute or so, and Duke cuts off the band and goes into Take the "A" Train. Afterwards I went backstage and I questioned Duke about stopping the tune. He says "What do you mean, tune? This - band of mine! Half the band got out one arrangement and the other half got out something in another key!" Each side was too stubborn to change what they wanted to play.
Stan idolised Duke Ellington. The day Duke passed away on 24May 74 we were, of all places, travelling through Washington D.C., his hometown. How ironic. The band found out that morning, then we made a stop at a Howard Johnson restaurant. We were trying to keep the news from Stan and tried anything to distract him from seeing the headlines. Of all the things he has to do that day, he calls Willard Alexander's office to discuss business. Willard, the band's booking agent, told him the tragic news. I can still see it. The band got back on the bus after lunch. Stan went beside the bus to have a moment to himself. He had tears in his eyes when he came on. All Stan said was "Well, he had a great life." He sat down in his seat behind me and was very quiet about it. The first half of the concert that night in Maryland, a high school date, Stan didn't say anything.
He opened the second set with Ellington's theme song, Take the "A" Train. It wasn't announced and we played it at a much slower tempo than usual.
He shared a few words afterwards and looked at the audience. The people were crying. I remember looking at Stan and he started to cry, too.'
In 1955, KCBS-TV presented a series of 30-minute programmes presented by Stan Kenton called "Music '55". On July 26 the programme included Artistry in Rhythm/ Take the "A" Train played as a piano duet by Ellington and Kenton, Ellington's Pretty and the Wolf monologue and Come Sunday, played as a duet by Ellington and Yehudi Menuhin.
- Steve Voce
1. Duke's remark that he would not play his suite at Newport '71 can be considered to be a put-on. He premiered the complete Togo Brava Suite. This is confirmed by a United States Government Memorandum of 19Jul71 from Howard Bruckner to Duke, found in the tape box of the recording at the Smithsonian Ellington Collection.
More about Duke and Stan on page 5/2.
A local collector played for me a "white label" 78rpm Victor pressing. Scratched in the outer rim was "1 of 3."
The music was an INSTRUMENTAL version of Ebony Rhapsody by the Ellington orchestra. The collector no longer has this disc, as it was subsequently acquired by an UNKNOWN collector who already had the other two discs: "2 of 3" and "3 of 3."
As a guess, I believe that these 3 discs were some sort of promotional material for "Murder at the Vanities," recorded for Paramount Pictures, and never intended for commercial release by the Victor Company. These three discs must be incredibly rare! Otherwise they most certainly would have been included in the huge Commemorative box of CDs, issued by RCA.
What is quite frustrating, is that I have not located the OWNER of these three "tests." So we may have a total of nine (9) minutes of music by the Duke's band, that were previously unknown to exist. Timner does refer to Duke's recordings at the Paramount Studios. But who OWNS these discs? They should be included in the New DESOR.
- Irv Jacobs
The band pre-recorded on 26Feb34 music for the picture "Murder at the Vanities", titled Eboby Rhapsody without vocal accompaniment. Material was taken from these pre- recordings and edited for a promotion release that never came out. This promotion included the overdub with the voice of Gertrude Michael, made on 18Mar and rejected, probably due to the lyrics. The overdub with the voice of Barbara Van Brunt was made on 16Apr and was used for the soundtrack.
I hope you can find the owner of the three tests and persuade him to make you a copy.
We made a mistake in DEMS Bulletin 98/4-14.
We claimed that the introduction to The Deep South Suite (23Nov46, tracks 12/15 on CD 1 of the 3 CD set under discussion), was spoken by Barry Ulanov. That is wrong. It was Leonard Feather.
See DEMS 02/3-9/1
I have read the article in the latest DEMS Bulletin about the recordings in Paris on 10Mar67, "Pianists play for Billy Strayhorn", where it is stated that not Duke Ellington, but Aaron Bridgers played the three pieces attributed to Duke, Meditation, TGTT and Little Purple Flower.
It was hard to believe for several reasons: It seems unlikely that Duke wouldn't play anything at all for Billy in this project.
How could another pianist play these three very recent compositions by Duke, which had not been issued in any form at the time in fact this was the very first recording at all of TGTT (according to the New DESOR)?
Why should a pianist virtuoso in the class of Aaron Bridgers play these pieces in the style of Duke, and not in his own style?
Why does it state on the tape box in the Danish Collection (a copy of the recording tape) that Duke plays, if the project is different?
I talked with Anders Stefansen producer at Storyville record company about it and sent him the article. He wrote the following to me on14Jan:
"I talked with Aaron Bridgers on the phone yesterday. He lives in Paris (since 1948). He is about 80 now and does not remember so well. He remembers however, that he played Satin Doll, Take the "A" Train and Yesterdays on the occasion.
When I mentioned Meditation, TGTT and Little Purple Flower, he did not know the last two, but knew Meditation, and stated that Duke had played that tune."
Anders Stefansen goes on writing that it is not certain that all the pianists were present throughout the whole recording session, in fact that would be strange. Most of them would have left when they had done their part.
"When I listen to the three titles", Anders writes, "I find it most likely that it is Duke playing. In some passages you hear the powerful touch that was characteristic of Duke, and when you compare Meditation with other versions Duke has played, they are very similar."
So my own conclusion, based on the above, not the least Aaron Bridgers' clear statement, is that Duke played these selections on the tape for Billy Strayhorn.
- Bjarne Busk
Without wishing to get into a long discussion of spelling, I'm a bit puzzled by the conclusion drawn in the footnote that "favorite" suggests Stanley Dance, rather than Duke as the writer of MIMM. The spelling of this word in MIMM is the usual American spelling and would therefore have been expected from Duke. If Stanley was still using his British spelling with which he would have grown up, it would be "favourite". If Stanley had completely adapted to the American system, then we would see the MIMM version, which still wouldn't prove authorship. Surely, there are stronger reasons than this spelling to determine authorship.
- Lois Moody
I admit that I have made a mistake. It is just the other way around. I have two different spellchecks, one for my word-processor and one for my e-mail programme. They are different. One is American and the other is British. When my spellcheck reacted to the word "favorite", I assumed that it was the American spellcheck. I should have checked myself. Sorry.
- Sjef Hoefsmit
See DEMS 02/3-16/3
If Stratford, Ont. was the interview location, the unknown interviewer might well be Barbara Reid, a long-time Stratford Festival staff member in the publicity department (See MIMM p192). If I remember correctly, she spoke at Ellington '87 in Toronto about Ellington's Stratford visits and her remarks indicated that a comfortable working relationship developed between them extending to hospitality at Reid's home. If Helen McNamara of Toronto/CBC is definitely being ruled out as the interviewer, then Reid is probably the most likely candidate. If you have access to a recording or transcript of her talk in Toronto, you might like to give it a listen.
- Lois Moody
Thanks for the tip. I have listened to Barbara's talk on 17May87 and I compared her voice with the voice of the unknown interviewer. They are very different. The unknown interviewer did not mention the Shakespearean Festival; neither did Barbara refer to this interview although she mentioned the Sacred Concert of 7Jul68. She confirmed what was written the next day in the Toronto Telegram: that the legitimate clarinet player Peter Smith replaced Jimmy Hamilton, who had recently left the band (after 1Jul68). She even mentioned that Peter played a solo. Harold Ashby was in the band from 2Jul68. Was he or Russell Procope missing from the reed-section during this Sacred Concert?
I also compared the voice of Mildred McDonald, who spoke in Ottawa on 19May90 of her interview with Duke on 2Feb68. The voices had no resemblance and Mildred did not mention the Stratford interview.
When I compared the undocumented interview with the one of 15Mar66 by Helen McNamara, I got the strong impression that here she is. I do not agree with Klaus Götting who said that he did not believe it is Helen.
Duke played a Sacred Concert in Buffalo on 7Apr68. There was a television interview of him, by a female, Liz ? But it was not televised until 4Jul68. I think I taped the audio at the time; VCR's were scarce. I tried to get a copy of it but the television station didn't have a good filing method so it is lost in their archives.
- Jane Vollmer
In the meantime I also received safely the cassette you made for me in order to have my opinion:
Well, I think you are right!
Barbara Reid's and Mildred McDonald's voices are indeed definitively different from the voice we hear in the interview.
I still feel that the "interview"-voice is warmer, more sensual (!?) than what we hear on the 15Mar66 tape, but both show a very relaxed, confidential atmosphere, a very similar kind of laughing too .... and a glass of Canadian wine and/or the two-years distance can well modify slightly the voice's tonality (and/or my perception).
I agree with you: (just as the 15Mar66 interview) this UNDOCUMENTED INTERVIEW 9031a-d was conducted by Helen McNAMARA.
- Klaus Götting
After listening, I agree that we can rule out Barbara Reid and Mildred McDonald and even before listening I had set aside McDonald based on date and possible location.
1. The unidentified woman does not sound as well informed about Ellington or jazz in general, judging by the awkwardness of some of her questions.
2. References made to the state of jazz at the time of the interview, by both Duke and the interviewer, seem to indicate that both were American and were talking about music in "their" country.
3. Despite some vocal feature similarities, I find that the rather flirtatious and familiar approach of the unidentified interviewer are not quite what McNamara was known for. Even Duke's reaction to this unknown interviewer suggests that she might have been someone younger, not previously known to him and worth some playful games-playing in return.
I could be way off base in my conclusions, but I'm left with some doubts as to McNamara being the lady in question. The only other suggestion I can offer is that you ask a couple of DEMS members from Toronto (who would have listened regularly to McNamara's radio shows) to listen to this material and give you an opinion.
- Lois Moody
The following story with a picture of Adelaide Hall was carried over ANP news services and printed in a number of African-American newspapers in early September, 1940:
"LONDON - While sirens shrieked and bombs dropped in frequent German raids here last week, Adelaide Hall, popular musical comedy star, carried on in the tradition of the theatre with the act which has made her so popular with London audiences. Returning again and again to the stage of the South London house where she is currently featured, Miss Hall encored with 52 songs, ranging from Dinah to Solitude, on the night of the longest and most insistent raid. So well did she take with the audience which flaunted a courageous disregard of air-raid shelters, that the performance has been repeated by popular demand every night since, usually occurring during German nuisance air-raids."
- Ken Steiner
See DEMS 02/2-23/2
I must apologise for not noting that there was an 28Aug39 recording of Grievin' that was not issued on 78rpm but originally on a Raretone LP. Track 3 of the Indigo CD is definitely the 14oct39 recording as set out in the liner notes.
When you sent me the note that was to be put into the DEMS bulletin, I didn't notice the Aug reference at all. The only good thing to come out of this is that for a good part of this morning I have been playing both takes as found on Classics #780, 1939-2 and enjoying this lovely composition.
- Bill Morton
This is a last attempt to solve an old Japanese "mystery". In DEMS 1980/4-1 (almost 23 years ago!) I asked - in vain - if someone had additional details concerning the non commercial big band LP titled "A Tribute to the Duke from his friends in Tokyo," subtitled "Exclusively for the Duke Ellington Cancer Center in conjunction with Hamptons Hospital and Medical Center," "Not for commercial use." While living in the U.S. I got it as a "thank you" for a contribution to that institution.
According to the label - Side 1 was reproduced in the Bulletin - it was recorded by Victor of Japan and processed by RCA Victor, USA. No numbers or dates, only: "Produced by A. Torio." The white cover carries only a simple drawing of Duke. Side 1 contains: Satin Doll; Mood Indigo; Take the "A" Train; Creole Love Call; Black & Tan Fantasy. Side 2: Caravan; Sophisticated Lady; Solitude; The Mooche and I'm Beginning To See the Light.
The music is not performed by Duke and his orchestra, neither are his arrangements used, but it sounds fine and if somebody out there could help out, I would certainly like to know some more about the circumstances and who the musicians are. They are good and deserve to be known.
- Ulf Renberg
Last night (31Jan), amongst other things, my Leeds College of Music Ellington Repertory Orchestra played David Berger's wonderful transcription of Old King Dooji. Can anyone tell me what the title means?
- Tony Faulkner
Dooji is another name for heroin.
- David Berger
I first heard it was a term for pot, but Brooks Kerr tells me that for the men in that band in 1938 it meant the same thing as Warm Valley. Don't you find it unlikely that Duke would have named a tune at that time (or anytime) about heroin?
- Loren Schoenberg
Well Duke named a tune about opium: Little Purple Flower (Yale concert, 26Jan68)
Since the Americans brought their music to us in 1945, I always had great fun, not only with the music, but also with the titles. Sometimes I read one of my numerous discos just to laugh about the really funny and fantastic titles.
Since my English is not perfect, and there is often a sort of Slang, even with long contact with some G.I.'s, I don't understand everything.
Concerning Duke, I have the following questions concerning some titles. Perhaps there are some friends still alive who knew Duke and do know better:
The following titles in alphabetical order. Perhaps you may give 5 or 10 titles in
each of your following issues.
1. Who was John Hardy and who was his wife?
2. A Gathering in a clearing, what clearing?
3. What is Bakiff?
4. Are you sticking?
5. Barzallai Lou
6. Bensonality (who was Benson?)
8. Boudoir Benny
9. B.P.Blues (was it Bennie Payne, Brock Peters, Benny Powell?)
11. Charlie the Chulo
13. Chasin' the chippies (are chippies drugs?)
14. Craven Filter Song
15. Cy Runs Rock Waltz
17. Ducky Wucky
20. Frivolous Banta
21.Hayfoot, Strawfoot (nicknames?)
22. Hodge Podge (does "podgy" mean "chubby"?)
23. H'ya Sue
25. Johnny come lately (is that a person who always comes too late? When so, why is the tempo of the Ellington piece so fast instead of being slow, slow, slow?)
26. Joog Joog
28. Kickapoo Joy Juice
31. Ko-Ko (see Charlie Parker - title with another melody)
32. Krum Elbow Blues
33. Maletoba Spank (name of a city?)
34. Old King Dooji
36. Pig Sty
38. Prima Para Dubla
42. Squatty Roo (nickname for somebody in the band?)
44. Sump'n 'Bout Rhythm (what is "sump'n"?)
45. Switch Blade
50. The B.O. of Traffic
51. The Mooche (see "Moose the Mooche" by Ch. Parker)
52. The Sergeant Was Shy (what sergeant?)
53. The UWIS Suite
55. T.T. on Toast
56. What is an "Unbooted Character"?
59. Veldt Amor
61. Wig Wise
62. Wild Man Moore (what is "moore"?)
I didn't find anything about those expressions neither in "Webster" nor in Chapman "New Dictionary of American Slang" nor in Bill Lee's "Jazz Dictionary" nor in Cab Calloway's "The New Hepster's Dictionary".
So I hope some of these questions will get an answer by somebody who knows better than I.
- Gregor Fehrmann
We only know a few answers.
- George Avakian, Roger Boyes and Sjef Hoefsmit.
4. Are You Sticking? means "Do you have any bread?" See the article "Reminiscing in Tempo" by Brad Bradbie in "Ellingtonia", Newsletter of The Duke Ellington Society (Washington D.C.) October 2001 edition.
5. Barzillai Lew was a black soldier from Chelmsford, Massachusetts. As drummer and fifer, he fought in the French and Indian War and also served throughout the Revolutionary War on the American side. MIMM p230.
6. Benson may have been Al Benson, a disk jockey who had become quite powerful. See Mercer Ellington p101.
9. B.P. Blues mean Black Power Blues.
10. C.E.B. stands for Capp, Ellis, Brown.
12. Charpoy was originally titled Lana Turner, on some music for the Ellington Orchestra, the title was inverted as Anal Renrut. The first copyrighted title was Francesca. See David Hajdu p283. This does not explain the title. SH Charpoy is the name for an ordinary Indian bedstead (rectangular wooden frame with ropes strung criss-cross over it). Roger Boyes
14. Craven Filter is a cigarette brand for which Ellington made a commercial on 8Feb70 in Sydney. Stratemann p595.
16. DEPK was inspired by a dance Duke saw performed by six couples who kicked on the sixth beat. See liner notes. This does not explain the title.
17. Compare "Chicken Licken", "Turkey Lurkey", "Foxy Loxy", in the children's story. Roger Boyes
18. EQUE means equator and has to do with the fact that Duke crossed the equator for the first time when going to Rio de Janeiro. MIMM p347. Roger Boyes
19. EULB could mean Blue.
21. The song title Hayfoot, Strawfoot comes from the words used by U. S. Army drill sergeants in World War I (and perhaps long before) to teach uneducated army recruits how to march properly. Evidently some of the farm boys didn't know left from right, so the sergeants would tie a bit of hay to the left foot, straw to the right. The sequence comes from the fact that all marching begins with the left foot. George Avakian
24. IGOO comes from IGLOO. This describes the shape of the cargo to be loaded into an aeroplane from American Airlines. This is obvious if one watches the commercial titled "Astrofreight" for which Duke recorded the music on 26Aug64.
29. KLOP means POLKA.
30. I would not be surprised if KNUF would mean FUNK.
36. Pig Sty is what it says. Look in your dictionary and you will find Schweinestall.
37. I assume that PRAT comes from PRAT Institute where Duke was supposed to study art.
38. I am not sure which language this is, but it seems obvious that the correct title Prima Bara Dubla means first class couple of baritones and this is a perfect title for the performance by Harry Carney and Gerry Mulligan on 3Jul58.
40. REXT means Rex Stuart.
49. T.G.T.T. means Too Great To Title and stands for Jesus Christ.
56. An Unbooted Character is one without shoes, barefoot, as many persons were while working on the plantations in the deep South. The native-born youth and the long time residents of the big city referred to themselves as "booted," which meant in jargon that they were sophisticated. See Bill Flemons in the April01 issue of "Ellingtonia", p3.
53. and 58. UWIS stands for University of Wisconsin.
62. Moore is the name of the trumpet player, depicted by Louis Armstrong in the picture Paris Blues.
Who knows more answers?
See DEMS 99/5-5/1; 00/1-10/2 and 00/4-15/3
The noble Baron Timme Rosenkrantz was among the earliest jazz critics in Denmark with a serious interest in jazz and in America. In 1938 he wrote a book with the title: "Skade at Amerika ligge skal s+ langt herfra" (It's a pity it is such a long way to America) and he succeeded in escaping Europe before WW2. In 1939 he published the first jazz photo book ever. It had the title "Swing Photo Album 1939" and it was republished in London in 1964.
While primarily a jazz writer Rosenkrantz in 1945 led a group called "Timme Rosenkrantz and his Barons" with the participation of Red Norvo, Charlie Ventura, Hodges and Carney among others. I don't think Rosenkrantz himself participated beyond enjoying the music in the studio and the recording of "Timme Time".
You will not find much about Timme Rosenkrantz in Danish jazz literature, but in his doctoral thesis about the first three decades of Danish jazz Erik Wiedemann had infor- mation about him. And of course Ellington devoted a passage to Rosenkrantz in his MIMM.
- Jørgen Mathiasen
"Timmie Rosenkrantz and His Barons": Otto Hardwick, Johnny Bothwell (not a pseudonym for Johnny Hodges!), Charlie Ventura, Harry Carney, Red Norvo, Jimmy Jones, John Levy and Specs Powell, recorded on 22Aug45: Boucy (two takes); Blue at Dawn and Timme Time.
A new edition of Brian Rust's Jazz Records, now titled Jazz and Ragtime Records (1897-1942), was published in 2002 by Mainspring Press of Denver, Colorado.
It lists two previously undocumented Ellington 78s pressed by Compo in Lachine, Montr,al.
Apex 41289 contains mx. 10356-2 Them There Eyes (10Jan31) as by THE WHOOPEE MAKERS; the reverse is unknown to me.
Crown 91059 contains the same 10356-2 as by CLIFF ROBERTS' DANCE ORCHESTRA, with the same reverse by The Varsity Eight as on Royal 391059. (Royal 391059 has "10356-2" faintly visible in the run-out area of the Ellington side as etched on the metal mother. The stamped number that appears at the label's edge is likely "41289A," although I can't be sure because the last two numbers are partly obscured by scuffs on the label on my copy; I don't know of another.) Thus I gather that St. James Infirmary matrix 9319-1 (29Jan30) was pressed in Canada on Apex 41121-A (as by TEN BLACK BIRDS), Crown 81289-A (as TEN BLACKBIRDS), Domino 181289-A (as TEN BLACK BIRDS) and Sterling 281289-A (as THE RED DANDIES); Royal 381289 is unknown.
Them There Eyes matrix 10356-2 (10Jan31) was pressed on Apex 41289-A (as THE WHOOPEE MAKERS), also Crown 91059-A and Royal 391059-A (both as CLIFF ROBERTS' DANCE ORCHESTRA); Domino 191059 and Sterling 291059 are unknown.
- Steven Lasker
See DEMS 02/2-15/1
The session of 20May37 (2:00 to 5:30 p.m.) was initially intended for the "American" series (i.e., Banner/Melotone/Oriole/Perfect/Romeo, hence the A.R.C.-series master numbers) but soon transferred to Variety. The A.R.C. ledger shows Johnny Hodges and his orchestra (initially entered as "House Orch.") consisted of a trumpet; clarinet, three saxes; piano; guitar; bass; drums; "Buddy Clark" is named as the vocalist on the first three titles, "Vocal Ensemble" on the last.
- Steven Lasker
Moonlight Fiesta (5Mar35, 16Jun37, 17Apr51, Mar52 and 24Jun53) and Jubilesta (20 and 26oct37) are different compositions. I wondered how I could confound them in my files and looked for the source of the error. I trusted Gunther Schuller, "The Swing Era" p716: "Jubilesta ... In Ellington's band the piece was also known under the titles of Puerto Rican Chaos or Moonlight Fiesta. But when Barnet recorded it in '37 it was called Emperor Jones."
So, what I learned is: don't trust Schuller, don't trust Rattenbury or anyone else, only trust your ears!
- Hans-Joachim Schmidt
There was some discussion in the Duke-Lym group about subtitles. One of the titles discussed was Come Sunday and David Danced Before the Lord. I was going to say that you decided to use in the New DESOR the most common title for all the recordings and that you would put the alternate title, if used during that specific performance, between brackets behind the main title. You made that clear on page V in the New DESOR. I went through your books looking for the occurrences where you would mention Come Sunday (David Danced). I found this notation in sessions 6457, 6552, 6670, 6672, 6673, 6674, 6682, 6750, 7059 and 7064. I found also the following notation: David Danced=Come Sunday in 6362, 6551, 6564, 6565 and 6685. I tried to figure out why you adopted a second fashion of mentioning an alternate title. The = sign is not exclusively used for Sacred Concerts, because 7064 is also a Sacred Concert. It is also not exclusively used in cases where Come Sunday itself also appeared in the programme, because in Monterey 6552 both titles appeared.
Can you give us an explanation?
David Danced , as you know, is the fast version (64 bars instead of 32) of Come Sunday and we used, to distinguish this version, the method of putting it in parentheses after the main title: Come Sunday (David Danced).
In the case of "My People" and the "First Sacred Concert" (only when it is completely performed) we used the notation: David Danced=Come Sunday because on the programs of the concerts, on the score and on the records David Danced is presented as a title apart.
7064 is not the "First" but the "Second Sacred Concert" and Come Sunday (David Danced) is an addendum to the concert.
- Luciano Massagli
On several Ellington CDs that are now on sale, the tune titled "Admiration" is credited to either Juan Tizol or someone named Tyre. Is one recording based on the other?
- Basilio Serrano
Admiration (by Tyers) was recorded by Ellington on 20Mar30 and is released on Classics 586 track 8.
Admiration Stomp (by Tizol) was first recorded 9Jan35 and released on Classics 646 track 22. It was again recorded on 30Apr35 and is released on Classics 659 track 10.
I came across Spencer Chase who sells reproduction piano rolls. He has a copy of Admiration that was reproduced from an apparent 1923 roll. Composer credit is given to Tyers. It is believed that Tyers wrote his tune in 1916.
If this is a fact then we can conclude that the 1930 Admiration by Duke was composed by Tyers. Also, most of Tizol's compositions began to appear after 1935. This would suggest that Admiration Stomp (1935) belongs to Tizol. The 1930 to Tyers. What do you think?
- Basilio Serrano**
I think you are right.