| THE INTERNATIONAL|
DUKE ELLINGTON MUSIC SOCIETY
04/2 August-November 2004
FOUNDER: BENNY AASLAND
Voort 18b, 2328 Meerle, Belgium
Telephone: +32 3 315 75 83
A small problem
Is it possible to break down the Bulletin into self-contained sections, even self-standing items? I ran it off complete for my own hard copy, which is just fine. But I met at the DESUK AGM a member who has no email connections and who seems to have missed your scheme to ensure that all members can continue to receive the Bulletin with the help of those of us who have email. He would like to continue to receive the parts of the Bulletin which interest him. I've offered to help him but I need to know how I can isolate individual sections and numbered items from the whole thing.
I had a similar question put to me by Jan-Olov Isaksson at the recent Ellington Conference in Stockholm. Jan-Olov asked me if I could reduce the font-size in order to need less paper when printing the Bulletin from the web-site.
The solution I have found is this: select a part of the text on the web-site and copy it into your own word-processor. After you have done so, you can control anything you want. I have experimented with this procedure and it worked just fine. I hope you will have the same experience.
The future of DEMS.
See "Important News" DEMS 03/3-4.
Thank you very much, indeed, for DEMS Bulletin 03/3. It is exiting and informative as it always was. Fortunately, I have all printed Bulletins. The first six as Xerox, though. I share your opinion that DEMS' future looks fine. But old fashioned as I am, I think it is a landmark in the history of DEMS and it makes a difference to download the Bulletin and print it, to the joy you had when picking it out from the letterbox. Of course, this applies to many things in daily life and the Internet has many tremendous advantages, I have to confess. However, it is not the same. So, no more members, no more cassettes. Let me thank you for publishing the Bulletin for more than seven years. Each issue was a wonderful homage to Duke, the genius we all continue to love and admire.
Thank you very much for your kind compliments. I have been a professional printer my whole working life and you can imagine how I feel about many developments, which have made a great part of our printing industry obsolete. It is just what you said: there are several important advantages in the use of Internet. There are, I think, only a few DEMS members who are interested in each and every subject that has been covered in DEMS Bulletins. The new system makes it possible to download only what you want to store for later consultation. You do not necessarily have to print the Bulletins after you have downloaded them. Computer memory is so cheap these days that it makes no sense to do that and it makes searching for a specific article much easier. If I need to find something in the Bulletins which have appeared since 1995, I do not use the printed Bulletins but I let my computer do the search through its own memory. That is why I am so grateful to Peter MacHare for putting the Bulletins from recent years (after 2000) also on his web-site. If you want to use the fastest way of searching, you can download whatever you want from these last years into your computer. I am happy that Duke's music is so good that it has survived all the developments of audio technique. From the earliest acoustic recordings from the 78 rpm period, through wire-recorders into the LP- and from tapes and cassettes into the CD-era. I hope that as long as there are Ellington record collectors, DEMS will give them a helping hand and I am sure that a Bulletin on the Internet has a much better chance of surviving and thriving in the future than the laborious printed Bulletins of the past 25 years.
Using the Internet to distribute the Bulletin among members (and any other curious Internet explorer too, happily) also gives the editor a rest from the chores of printing it, running off and collating the copies, putting them in envelopes and sealing and stamping these, trailing down to the Post Office to mail them, and making arrangements for DEMS finances to be handled by volunteers around the world. It's a rest he well deserves, and for it we pay the price of having to print off the Bulletin ourselves, individually, if we want to have it in this format. It's not a high price, and Sjef has taken care to see to the needs of those who don't have Internet access. I just have one thought. How do we stand on the matter of copyright and contributors' intellectual property?
Metropolitan Opera House, 21Jan51
My friend Lars Walter has sent me a tape from 21Jan51, the Metropolitan Opera House with two titles. Violet Blue and St. Louis Blues. They are from the Voice of America "Jazz CLUB USA" # 13-2 (mxSPE 156). I believe that Leonard Feather is the announcer.
I have the LPs Rare Record 3 and 4. But these two titles are missing on the LPs.
I found only in Jepsen from 1967 (Vol.3 p427) that Violet Blue was played at the concert. What is right?
It seems that you are. Luciano Massagli has reported that the RAI (Italian Radio) did broadcast among others Violet Blue and Jeep is Jumpin'. These two selections have (until now) never been found. I would like to include your news in the next Bulletin. I have on tape a broadcast from the Voice of America, which has been released on Rare Records, but it is very well possible that VoA made more than one broadcast and it is also possible that this came directly from the VoA vaults and has never been broadcast by VoA.
Here is the tape with Leonard Feather in the Voice of America broadcast. It has Violet Blue by Johnny Hodges solo all through the track of 4:29 minutes and St. Louis Blues with a solo by Ray Nance of 2:24 minutes. Leonard Feather says on the tape that the trumpet section is Francis Williams, Ray Nance, Cat Anderson, Harold Baker and Nelson Williams. In the New DESOR Fats Ford is in the band in this concert and Francis Williams is out. What do you think is right?
It is a well-know fact that the Voice of America made several broadcasts with material from the concert of 21Jan51 at the Metropolitan Opera House. These broadcasts were titled "Jazz" and had the numbers J-11/J-12; J-13/J-14 and J-15, which was combined with recordings of Art Tatum on J-16. They are well documented in the New DESOR pp170/171, Ole Nielsen's "Jazz Records 1942-80, Vol.6", pp113/114 and Jerry Valburn's "The Directory of Duke Ellington's Recordings" pp2-11. The broadcast "Jazz Club USA" #13-2 (mxSPE 156) has not been documented yet. Part I contains: Ring dem Bells; Frustration; Coloratura and Rose of the Rio Grande. Part II has: Violet Blue; Take the "A" Train; St. Louis Blues (with vocal by Ray Nance) and Trumpet No End. Comparison revealed that all titles (with the exception of Violet Blue and St. Louis Blues) are identical with what we have on the LPs Rare Records 3 and 4. We have no idea about the correct position between the other selections in the programme but there is no doubt that Violet Blue and St. Louis Blues belong to the Metropolitan concert. There is no description in the New DESOR that fits. The MC of this broadcast was indeed Leonard Feather. It is peculiar that he mentioned that both Francis Williams and Nelson Williams took part in Trumpet no End. As far as I know, Francis and Nelson Williams (no family) were never in the band at the same time.
Luciano Massagli and Giovanni Volonté accepted Leonard Feather's statement about both trumpeters with the name Williams. They made that correction in the personnel listing of the updated session 5102 of 21Jan51 on Correction-sheet 1062 (see also DESOR Small Corrections page 170 on 04/2–51).
We accepted the statement that Francis Williams replaced Marenguito, because we believe that Leonard Feather, who at that time attended to the presentation of the concert for the Voice of America, knew the right personnel of the band. Moreover the way of playing the notes by Williams in his solo seems quite different in comparison with the way of playing by Marenguito in Blue Skies of 19Nov50 (DE 5015 d).
The Auckland Concert of 10Feb70
I received from my friend in New Zealand a burnt CD. It is the next day's concert, 10Feb70 at the Town Hall in Auckland. "The concert is a complete repeat of the Wellington concert of 9Feb70 except for Passion Flower replaced by Black Butterfly. There are no surviving recordings of tracks 9 to 16 of the Auckland concert but I will keep hunting in the hope of locating them".
1. C-Jam Blues
2. Take The "A" Train
3. Black Butterfly
4. Things Ain't What They Used To Be
5. Birth of the Blues
7. La Plus Belle Africaine
8. Come Off the Veldt
10. In Triplicate (In Duplicate)
11. Satin Doll
13. April In Paris
15. Ocht O'Clock Rock
16. Love You Madly
Tracks 9 to 16 comprise the 2nd half of this concert, which is as per the Wellington concert except for Satin Doll replaced by Love You Madly.
See for the Wellington concert(s) of 9Feb70 DEMS 04/1-7 and 04/2-37
Harry Rasky Interview
Harry Nerlich reviewed in the March edition of the Newsletter of the Toronto Chapter 40 of the Duke Ellington Society the presentation by Professor Jack Chambers during the meeting of 10Feb04.
Jack Chambers spoke about "Bardland: Shakespeare in Ellington's World." He played during his presentation an interview by Harry Rasky, which was unknown to me. John Hornsby put me in contact with Jack Chambers, who was immediately willing to share his recording with me.
The interview (5:48) was broadcast through the CBC on 15May57. It was mainly about the Shakespearean Suite. The broadcast announcer spoke of Duke's recent birthday. Harry Rasky said at the end of the interview: "Well, thank you very much Duke Ellington, on the occasion of your birthday for having us here…".
Duke told Harry that he finished writing the music of The Telecasters and Hank Cinq on the day of the performance, which was 28Apr57. Rasky said: "I heard you in Birdland last night." This brings the possible date to 29Apr or 1 or 2May. Birdland was closed on Monday 29Apr and Duke left after 1May. I believe that the date of the interview was 29Apr57. Jack Chambers agrees with me. If I change the sequence of the words in the first quote of Harry Rasky, I have a firm confirmation of that date.
See for a report of the premiere of the Shakespearean Suite on 28Apr57, the report of the Stockholm Conference in this Bulletin (04/2-10) and specifically George Avakian's statements in the last presentation of the last day.
Harry Rasky was born 9May28 in Toronto. He was a documentary film producer, director and writer. He was almost 29 when he interviewed Duke in NYC, and virtually unknown at the time.
To show my appreciation for Jack's tape I have sent him a copy of two other interviews about the same subject: Ben Gross in NYC at the Hickory House for NBC on 23Apr57 and Bob Smith in Vancouver at the Georgian Towers Hotel for CBC on 1Nov62. Jack's reaction was very interesting. He allowed me to share it with you:
"Your Hickory House tape arrived yesterday at my place too, as it did at John's, making an unexpected triumph in synchronicity for Canada Post. I listened to the tape last night and I was most impressed by Bob Smith's interview from CBC Vancouver in 1962. I had never heard of Smith, know nothing about him, but he did a terrific job persisting with his inquiries about Duke's extended works in spite of Duke's attempts to shake him with his characteristic old irony. I was especially interested at the end, when Strayhorn walks in and gets included. One thing that comes out of it as clear as ever is the easy working relationship between DE and BS. It is too bad David Hajdu didn't hear that comfortable banter. For me, the most interesting moment was in Duke's comment about Sonnet in Search of a Moor (though he doesn't ever get the title quite right). In my talk to DES 40 in Feb., I wondered aloud if DE realized that title was ambiguous. Now I know he does. In the interview he says that it is a "triple entendre," and explains it. Irving Townsend should have explained it in his liner notes, but I suspect he may not have understood it as clearly as Duke did. I am writing an article on the Shakespearean suite now, based on my talk, and one of my sub-themes is the discrepancy between the viewpoints of Townsend and Ellington/Strayhorn regarding its evolution. So for me the Smith interview provides a crucial clue to my claim that Townsend consistently undervalued the literary underpinning that Duke put into the suite."
Leonard Feather Interview
Steven Lasker has sent me a copy of an interview by Leonard Feather. This interview with Duke Ellington has been transcribed and used for the introduction to Leonard Feather's "Encyclopaedia of Jazz". In this interview is Duke's (famous) remark about Jelly Roll Morton playing the piano as a high school teacher. The date of this interview is not established. Steven reported that the tape box carried the caption "1955".
Timme Rosenkrantz Interview
In DEMS 99/5-5/1, Klaus Götting mentioned a Timme Rosenkrantz interview of early 1963. I promised to look for it. Listening to the interview makes me believe that is was audio taped from a telecast, recorded at the Grosvernor House in London on 11, 12 or 13Jan63. This interview contains the statement by Ellington (also made in other interviews) that Tricky Sam could only play seven notes very effectively. A part of this interview has been used for the documentary "A Duke Named Ellington".
Maurice Peress. Dvorak to Duke Ellington.
Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2004, pp254
Like Caesar's Gaul this book is divided into three parts. Seven chapters narrate the impact of Dvorak's visits in the 1890s on music in the USA, and especially on the efforts of African Americans to find their own musical voice. As a Czech composing in the Austrian Empire Dvorak was most sympathetic to these efforts, which he encountered head-on at the 1893 Chicago Exposition. The outcome is examined through the work of, among others, Paul Dunbar, Will Marion Cook and James Reese Europe. Seven further chapters trace Dvorak's legacy into the twentieth century, as Peress describes his experiences recreating Cook's fabled 1912 Clef Club concert, Paul Whiteman's 1924 Aeolian Hall concert, Georges Antheil's astonishing Ballet Mécanique concert in Carnegie Hall in 1927, and Bernstein's Candide and Mass. In this fascinating account the approach becomes anecdotal and autobiographical, and the chapter on Bernstein's works almost descends into 'my-pal-Lenny'-itis. The final three chapters, similarly autobiographical, deal with Duke. There's an account of the events of 14 June 1965 at the White House which led Peress to his work with Duke's music, particularly the failed Golden Broom and the Green Apple, the stillborn Queenie Pie, and the much misunderstood Black Brown and Beige. An Afterword considers Dvorak's legacy from a present-day perspective, through a melancholy account of the failed attempt to save the Dvorak House in New York from demolition, a tantalizing glimpse of the Handy Brothers publishing house, and a closing paean to Duke as the fulfilment of Dvorak's hopes with regard to the African American people.
All this sounds rather bitty, and in a way the book is, though it just about hangs together. The focus is on Ellington for a mere fifty pages, so can it be recommended to DEMS Bulletin readers? Golden Broom and Green Apple is little known, Queenie Pie was well covered in John Franceschina's 2001 study Duke Ellington's Music for the Theatre, and some (though by no means all) of what Peress has to say about Black Brown and Beige can be found in the 1993 volume of the Black Music Journal devoted to that great work. But if your musical interests extend beyond Ellington and jazz, the book is a must. Much of the detail about the musicians and their music, and Peress's efforts to re-stage their works, makes for fascinating reading. The book also helps illuminate the wider background to the musical milieux in which Duke grew up in Washington, and in which he worked, exerting a profound influence for the rest of his life. Thus, it complements the early chapters of Mark Tucker's Ellington: The Early Years.
I cannot recommend this book unreservedly though, I'm sorry to say. There are too many errors which should have been checked and corrected. Black Brown and Beige was not premiered in 1942, and the interval between Goodman's Carnegie Hall concert in 1938 and Ellington's in 1943 was five years, not six. Contrary to Peress's assertion, Jumpin' Punkins, Dirge and Stomp were performed that night. Soso comes from Togo Brava, not from the African Asian Suite (there's no such work). Duke's four-letter titles are not anagrams. As Ellington enthusiasts we can correct these mistakes as we read them. But we shouldn't have to, and because of them we must be cautious when reading about areas in which we have no expertise. For instance, I find Peress's attitude to the 'Proceeds to Russian War Relief' aspect of 23 January 1943 unpleasantly sour. Maybe some of those attending felt that way, but I've never seen it mentioned in the literature, and since the concert took place in the very week when the Red Army was securing the ultimate defeat of Nazism for us all, through the blood of thousands in the rubble of Stalingrad, I think it unworthy of mention. Worse, he asserts that the USSR 'joined the Allies' when she found it convenient to do so. The Russians went to war to defend themselves against a most brutal invasion of their land, at a time when there were no allies to join; in June 1941 Britain stood alone with Canada and the other countries of the British Empire, bless them, in their resistance to Hitler's barbarism. Peress should be ashamed of himself for peddling such distortion, as should OUP for allowing it to appear under their imprint.
Having got that off my chest, I can recommend this book, despite its flaws, to all who wish to deepen their understanding of Ellington's artistic purposes by learning more about the cultural climate into which he was born and in which he worked. There is much of absorbing interest in the anecdotal detail. How one would like to know more of Will Marion Cook's story; or the Afro-Polish original dedicatee of the Kreutzer Sonata; or the shadowy figure of Colonel Higginson! If Queenie Pie was well received elsewhere, why wasn't it judged acceptable for Broadway? Peress doesn't tell us, but it's a question worth asking, and if such matters interest you, you'll find plenty more in his book.
Claire Gordon. My Unforgettable Jazz Friends.
Phase V Press, Arroyo Grande, California, 2004, pp304
Claire Gordon presented her latest book on the first morning of the 2004 Ellington Conference in Stockholm. She brought with her 25 copies with hard cover for European attendees. The Americans should buy their copy after returning home. Before the end of the Conference I had already finished half of the book, which I enjoyed reading in my hotel-room before going to sleep. I finished it on my trip home after the Conference. It is indeed a book which is difficult to put down.
Claire has lived a life that every jazz-fan would have wanted to experience. She took the initiative to introduce herself to the musicians and she found out something which I found out much later (too late actually) that these folks love to meet and befriend knowledgeable admirers.
The book tells us highly amusing stories of Ellington, Maxine Sullivan, Nat King Cole, Rex Stewart, Dizzy Gillespie, Mary Lou Williams, Benny Carter (who wrote a foreword), Dinah Washington and several other lesser known artists to whom she did not dedicate a whole chapter.
Most Conference attendees know Claire, who has made presentations on several occasions. She presented her book "Boy Meets Horn" in 1991 at the Los Angeles Conference. She writes in the same fashion as she speaks: with a very dry kind of humour and as an experienced raconteur.
She explained to us in her presentation that we should not consider her book a reference work. It might not always be accurate as far as dates and happenings are concerned, but it is the truth as she remembers it. When she mentioned that Brown-Skin Gal, Rocks in My Bed and I Got It Bad were all recorded in the same session, she made a note (p85) in which she acknowledged the fact that the Victor files say otherwise, but this is how she remembered it. She admits that she could be wrong. I like that.
If you want to join Claire on her trips to clubs and studios and if you want to know more about her friends, you should read this marvellous book. The only thing you should contribute yourself is the music.
Ellington orchestra in Trail, B.C., on 10Apr52.
An old friend was reminiscing about an Ellington dance-cum-concert that his parents took him to years ago. It turned out, when we checked Duke Ellington Day by Day and Film by Film (Stratemann 1992, p345), that it was an unaccounted for engagement. Ellington played an Air Force Base in Mountain Home, Idaho, on 9Apr52. The orchestra then must have bussed 512 miles almost due north to Trail, British Columbia, just across the Canadian border, where they played in the Cominco Arena on 10Apr. From Trail, they travelled 378 miles west to Vancouver, B.C., where they settled in to the Palomar Supper Club for 11-19Apr. The Trail performance was the eighteenth consecutive one-nighter in the Pacific Northwest, and after their week in Vancouver they would play 35 more, making it one of Ellington's most gruelling tours (from Los Angeles on 20Mar to Chicago on 10Jun with only three or possibly two nights off).
Trail is a mining and smelting town in the Kootenay Mountains. When Ellington played there, it had a population of about 9,000 souls. It was fairly well known across Canada because of its champion Senior A (ice) hockey team, the winter occupants of Cominco Arena. My friend remembers people dancing to some of Ellington's numbers, including his parents, but many people stood at the edge of the stage and listened. His most vivid memory is a drum feature that roused the crowd to a frenzy. The drummer had two bass drums, my friend said, and by the time he finished his torrential solo his pant legs had slid up above his knees. Presumably not even the Trail foundry workers tried dancing when Louie Bellson played "Skin Deep."
The gig on 9Apr at the Air Force Base in Mountain Home is not confirmed. It has been impossible to verify this date. The stay in Vancouver has been confirmed in the Vancouver News-Herald of 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18Apr52. The dance date in Trail is indeed a "fresh" addition to Duke's itinerary!
An addition to Duke's Itinerary with a
This contribution came from my friend in Australia, Bill Norton. I'm sure he has no objection to using his find in the next issue of DEMS. Both Stratemann and Ken Vail show nothing for this date but we do know that Duke was in the area at that time. When I get North I'll contact Oberlin and see if any printed material can be obtained.
I bought on e-bay from a woman in East Liverpool, Ohio a 2"x 3" programme of 9Jun36 issued at a senior prom somewhere. The Duke's band played at it and the programme is signed on one page by the Duke and on another by Dick Jones (his valet?). The covers of the 4–leaf booklet are metal, probably brass, and it is in great condition. I paid US$ 75 and I was the only bidder. The back page has printed the names of guests including the President (of what?) Ernest H. Wilkins, F. O. Grover etc. The woman who sold it thought the prom may have been at Oberlin College but isn't sure. Do you have any records which show where the Duke may have been on that date? I don't have the "Day by Day" book which may have helped. Hopefully you can identify the venue from the above info please.
Duke was indeed in the area. He was at Eastwood Park Ballroom in Detroit MI on 7Jun36 (Detroit Free Press 4Jun36, ad) and he was at the Moonlight Gardens Olentangy Park in Columbus OH on 12Jun36 (no confirmation). He played at the same venue on 14Jun36 (Columbus Star 14Jun36, ad).
Dick Jones is indeed very likely Richard Bowden 'Jonesy' Jones, who was a bus boy at the Cotton Club, who joined Duke on the road in 1931 as Duke's first band boy.
Following is my correspondence with the person from whom I bought that autographed programme booklet. Looks like Duke was definitely at Oberlin College that night.
I am assuming I have the correct e-mail address for you - I took it from the e-bay entry. The lovely Duke Ellington item arrived this morning along with your note, and I have been doing a bit of research since. Google and Yahoo searches show both E. H. Wilkins and F. O. Grover, listed in the booklet as guests, both were prominent people at Oberlin College so I think your assumption is correct. I have e-mailed Jerry Valburn, an Ellington expert and with whom I correspond, to see if he can throw any light on Duke's itinerary also. By the way, Dick Jones, the other signatory would be Duke's valet. Could you please tell me any background to the item e.g. how you obtained it, who originally owned it etc? I would be very interested in any pertinent details. Kind regards, and thank you,
Hello, I am glad that you like the Duke autograph on the dance booklet. I have had this item for 4 years before I decided to put it up for auction. I know now, it is in the right hands. I obtained this from an antique/flea market in Hartville, Ohio. Your item came from a scrapbook that is filled with booklets from dances and many other items. Some of the pages are falling apart. I can tell you that the original owner was admitted to Oberlin College in Sept. of 1934. Her name is Eleanor Jane Graham. A report card says that she was prepared at Bellevue, Pennsylvania, High school. I believe she at the time was a socialite. She went to many dances and had supper at the Goodrich house. I hope this helps you with your research. Thanks for telling me who Dick Jones is.
ON THE ROAD AND ON THE AIR
WITH DUKE ELLINGTON
The Blanton/Webster Era, Part One
October 1939 to December 1940
Chronicling the heroic story of Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra’s endless travel and performances will always be a work in progress. Klaus Stratemann hoped "the inadequacies" of his monumental Duke Ellington Day by Day and Film by Film "will spur others into further research." Perhaps this is what he and the researchers of the Igo Itinerary had in mind — an extensive search for contemporary, local reports, finding previously undocumented gigs as well as new information about known events, to uncover a more richly detailed itinerary.
The goal of On the Road and On the Air With Duke Ellington is not just to correct dates, but to gain a fuller sense of the work of the Orchestra: the world they lived in; what the dances, clubs, and theatres were like; the music they played; when they broadcast; the hardships and the good times. This compilation, prepared specially for the 19th Conference of the International Duke Ellington Study Group in Stockholm, 12-15 May, 2004, is excerpted from a larger body of research, and is focused on the first 14 months of the Blanton-Webster era. It is hoped this will be part of series.
As Sjef Hoefsmit told me, "There will always be new things to learn about Duke Ellington’s music." Please submit your comments, additions, and corrections to: email@example.com
Thanks to Steven Lasker for sharing research, reading the draft, and editorial suggestions.
April 29, 2004
Note: Broadcast times are listed for the time zone in which the broadcast originated. Broadcasts after midnight are dated for the "broadcast day;" for example, the broadcast listed for Tuesday, 9Jan40 at 12:05 a.m. occurred in the early morning of 10Jan, but was listed in the newspapers of 9Jan and would have been considered "Tuesday night."
Events listed in bold I believe to have happened, based on documentation found or not found. More research is needed.
20oct39 to 2Nov39, Club Caprice, Hotel Coronado, St. Louis, MO. (daily ads, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 19oct-2Nov39) Duke Ellington became the first black bandleader to land a gig at the Hotel Coronado, a choice downtown "location" with broadcasts. Local 15-minute radio broadcasts were aired twice every night at 7:30 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. on KXOK. (Radio listings, St. Louis Globe Democrat, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Star-Times, 20oct-2Nov39) KXOK was owned by the St. Louis Star-Times, which previewed of one the programs. "Duke Ellington’s original compositions, You Gave Me the Gate, Solid Old Man, and In a Mizz, will be heard on KXOK at 11:15 p.m. during Ellington’s broadcast from Club Caprice of Hotel Coronado in St. Louis." ("News From Radio Stations," St. Louis Star-Times, 30oct39, p16)
CBS carried national broadcasts on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. CST. (Harold Jovien, "Radio Raves," Gary American, 10Nov39, p5, and other African American newspapers) Late night radio listings in the St. Louis papers were incomplete, but list 11:30 p.m. CST broadcasts on 31oct and 2Nov39 on St. Louis’ CBS station, KMOX. The one surviving air check from Club Caprice is dated 2Nov39 from WJR, a CBS station in Detroit.
20oct39, Club 49, St. Louis, MO. (ad, St. Louis Argus, 20oct39, p12) Ellington recalled hearing Blanton for the first time "in a hot spot on the second floor of Jesse Johnson’s restaurant." (Music is My Mistress, p164) Club 49, located "atop the Deluxe cafeteria [owned by Jesse Johnson]" (Ben Thomas, "Night After Night," St. Louis Argus, 10Jun38, p7), fits Ellington’s description. "Duke Ellington has been frequenting Club 49 these nites in town. We wonder if the maestro is planning to add Jimmie Blanton, bass fiddler with Fate Marable’s band, to his aggregation." (J. Von Chapman, "Town Chatter," St. Louis Argus, 27oct39, p7)
Blanton sent his mother a telegram indicating that he joined Duke Ellington and His Orchestra on 2Nov39, closing night at the Hotel Coronado. (Phil Schaap, WKCR radio, New York, 6Jan96)
3Nov39, Blackstone Hotel, Chicago. Suggested in the Igo Itinerary, no documentation given, no mention in Chicago papers. (Tribune, Daily News, Evening Herald-Examiner, Defender)
4Nov39, Huff Gym, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL. Homecoming dance, 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. ("S-A Homecoming Ball is Tonight," Daily Illinois, 4Nov39, p1)
10Nov39, Forum Rose Room, Wichita, KS. (ad, Wichita Eagle, 10Nov39, p10)
15Nov39, Roseland Ballroom, Kansas City, MO. ("Duke Ellington and Band ‘Jive’ at Roseland Ballroom," Kansas City Call, city edition, 17Nov39, p8)
16Nov39, Castle Ballroom, St. Louis, MO. Dance in honor of State Teachers’ convention. (ad, St. Louis Argus, 10Nov39, p7)
19Nov39, Miramar Ballroom, Gary, IN. 8:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. "While jitterbug was the dance craze of the affair, many other couples could be seen gliding along the floor at a smooth and easy pace which seemed to enable them to enjoy the music much more." Tunes included Stompy Jones, Blue and Sentimental, What A Life, I’m in Another World, and Sophisticated Lady; Herb Jeffrey on What’s New, Stairway to the Stars, Lilacs in the Rain, Star Dust, If I Knew Then, My Prayer; Ivie Anderson on I’m Checking Out; You Can Count on Me; Ain’t What You Do; Jumpin Jive; Oh Babe, Maybe Someday. ("Crowd Packs Miramar to Hear Duke Ellington," Gary American, 24Nov39, p5)
20Nov39, Savoy Ballroom, Chicago. Federated Hotel Waiters Union ball. "Local 356 is composed of waiters from the leading loop hotels. The list of expected celebrities includes Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, John Kirby and Cab Calloway." ("Duke to Play for Hotel Waiters Union," Chicago Defender, 18Nov39, p8)
21Nov39, New Deal Tavern, Chicago.
5 a.m. breakfast party for Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington following waiters ball at Savoy. ("LaRue Will Honor Duke and King Cab," Chicago Defender, 18Nov39)
22Nov39, Vocalion recording session, Chicago, Barney Bigard; Columbia recording session, Duke Ellington and Jimmie Blanton duets.
22Nov39, Drake Hotel, Chicago. University of Chicago Intrafraternity Ball. (Chicago Daily Maroon, 8Nov39, p1)
24Nov39, "Young Man with a Band" broadcast, Chicago. "Young Man With a Band" originated from WBBM in Chicago and was heard at 9:30 p.m. CST Saturday nights, and was broadcast coast-to-coast overthe CBS network. Duke Ellington’s life story was portrayed with musical excerpts.
25 and 26Nov39, Palace Theater, Peoria, IL. Shows at 2:30, 5:00, 7:25, 9:55; with a movie. (Ads in Peoria Journal-Transcript, 24 and 25Nov39)
30Nov39, Municipal Auditorium, Birmingham, AL. (Birmingham News, 30Nov39, p1)
3Dec39, Sunset Terrace Indianapolis, IN. (ad, Indianapolis Recorder, 2Dec39, p12) "Jimmie Blanton really played the bass fiddle and was featured before the mike on that unforgettable Sophisticated Lady…it was really unique and fascinating and spine-chilling…for an encore Jimmie featured his fiddle on Liza…." Other tunes included: Blue Moon; Ivie Anderson on I’m Satisfied, It Don’t Mean A Thing, Solitude, and St. Louis Blues. (Ye Scribe, "In the Groove," Indianapolis Recorder, 9Dec39, p12)
9Dec39, Blackstone Hotel, Chicago. Supper dance sponsored by Julius Hoffman. (Adeline Fitzgerald, "Monday Memos," Chicago Herald-American, 11Dec39, p9)
10Dec39, Music Hall, Topper’s Ballroom, Cincinnati, OH. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. (ad, Cincinnati Enquirer, 10Dec39, p5)
15Dec39, William Penn Hotel, Pittsburgh, PA. (Pittsburgh Courier, 23Dec39, p21)
16Dec39, Cotton Club, Indianapolis, IN. Members of the orchestra attend, and Jimmie Blanton jams with the house band including Eugene (Sox) Pope and Jimmie Hinsley. "It was interesting to hear Johnny [Hodges] tell me how he found Jimmie Blanton in St. Louis and how when Jimmie plays Body and Soul…he plays more changes than any horn tooter." (Ye Scribe, "In the Groove," Indianapolis Recorder, 23Dec39, p12)
17Dec39, Pantheon Theater, Vincennes, IN. "Continuous shows" with a movie. (ad, Vincennes Sun-Commercial, 17Dec39, p2)
20Dec39, Eden Club, Chicago. Nightclub in suburban Chicago. ("Duke Ellington to the Eden," Chicago Herald-American, 16Dec39, p10; ad, Chicago Herald-American, 20Dec39, p10)
25Dec39, Union City High School Gym, Union City, TN. Christmas night dance,
9 p.m. to 1 a.m. (ad, Union City Messenger, 17Dec39)
26Dec39, New Sikeston Armory, Sikeston, MO. 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. ("Ellington Packs Armory — 1200 Dancers Brave Snowstorm for Music of Famous Orchestra," Sikeston Standard, 29Dec39, p1)
29Dec39, Blackstone Hotel, Chicago. Debutante ball for the daughter of meat—packing baron Edwin Cudahy. (Jean [Bach], "Sara Peace, Sheila Cudahy’s Parties Are Today’s High Spots for Young Set," Chicago Herald-Examiner, 29Dec39, p9)
31Dec39, "Meet the Band" broadcast, Chicago. WBBM 12:30 to 1 p.m. CST, and broadcast nationally over CBS, featured "a special arrangement of Ring Dem Bells." (Chicago Defender, 30Dec39)
31Dec39, Marigold Ballroom, Chicago. The Marigold Gardens, a boxing arena in the North End, was converted to a dance hall for New Year’s Eve. (ad, Chicago Herald-Examiner, 30Dec39, p11)
1Jan40, Hines Hospital, Maywood, IL. The band played for veterans. (Tempo, 8Jan40, p4)
4Jan40, Butler Theater, Butler, PA. Shows at 2:00, 4:15, 7:00, and 9:15; with a movie. (ads, Butler Eagle, 2Jan40 and 3Jan40)
5Jan40, Strand Theater, Cumberland, MD. Shows at 2:19, 4:24, 7:01, and 9:13; with a movie. (ads, Cumberland Evening Times, 1-5Jan40) Wilhelmina Gray of Pittsburgh filled in for Ivie Anderson at Butler and Cumberland. ("Sang in Ivy’s Place," Baltimore Afro-American, 20Jan40, p14)
7Jan40, Savoy Ballroom, New York. 3,000 attend performance of bands of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Erskine Hawkins. ("Scores on Hobby Lobby," New York Amsterdam News, 13Jan40, p21) "Practically every sepia ork leader who wasn’t working turned out to pay homage to the Ellington crew. Saw Don Redman, Jimmy Mundy, and Count Basie in a group listening with both ears pinned back." (Nell Dodson, "This is Harlem," New York Amsterdam News, 13Jan40, p24)
8Jan to 20Jan40, Southland, Boston, MA. (ad, Boston Post, 8Jan40, p10) "Two revues at 7:30 and 11:30 p.m. Dinner $1.25 up." ("Where to Dine," Boston Herald, 9Jan40, p11) WBZ broadcast locally on Tuesdays (9&16Jan) and Fridays (12&19Jan) at 12:05 a.m. EST, and on Friday (12Jan) at 7:00 p.m. (radio listings, Boston Herald) These were carried nationally over WJZ New York/NBC Blue except the 12Jan midnight program. There was also a 15Jan40 broadcast at 11 p.m. on WJZ/NBC Blue. (NBC radio logs at the Library of Congress; radio listings, New York Times) Although Ben Webster is not heard on the air check from 9Jan, it is generally recognized that he joined the band during the Southland engagement. Boston papers do not indicate when (Boston Globe, Boston Post, Boston News, Guardian, Chronicle), but two different New York papers give a clue. "Ben Webster denies plans to switch from Teddy Wilson to Duke Ellington, but the grapevine has him making the change at the end of the Golden Gate [ballroom in New York] run." (Nell Dodson, "This is Harlem," New York Amsterdam News, 20Jan40, p24) "Teddy Wilson leaves for the road on January 11." (Bill Chase, "All Ears," New York Amsterdam News, 13Jan40)
21Jan40, RKO Boston, Boston, MA. (ad, Boston Herald, 21Jan40)
22Jan40, City Hall, Portland, ME. 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. "battle of music" with Tony Pastor. (Portland Press Herald, 22Jan40, p12)
23—25Jan40, unidentified one-nighters. "Boston, Jan. 22. - Ben Webster, well known tenor sax man forrmerly with Teddy Wilson, has joined Duke Ellington’s orchestra, which is playing one-nighters around New England this week after packing them in at the Southland here. Bass player Billy Taylor, after four years with the band, is leaving. He had been playing side-by-side with Jimmie Blanton, Duke’s new bass virtuoso, formerly with Fate Marable, for several weeks." (Jazz Information; 26Jan40; pp1, 6)
26Jan40, Roseland State Ballroom, Boston, MA. 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Dance sponsored by the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Dining Car Union, Local 370. (C.V. Granville, "Duke Ellington Attracts Crowd," The Chronicle, 3Feb40, p8)
27Jan40, Recreation Ballroom, Lawrence, MA. (ad, Lawrence Evening Tribune, 26Jan40, p20)
28Jan40, Savoy Ballroom, New York. "Record crowd of 4,000" for Duke Ellington and Erskine Hawkins. ("Duke Ellington Wows ‘Em At Harlem’s Famous Savoy," Pittsburgh Courier, 3Feb40, p20)
29Jan40, Clifton Theatre, Huntingdon, PA (ad, Huntingdon Daily News, 29Jan40)
1Feb40, Memorial Union, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. Junior Prom. (1940 Badger yearbook, p214)
2Feb to 8Feb40, State-Lake Theater, Chicago. Shows at 12:28, 3:37, 6:46, 9:48, featuring Danny and Edith, Bill Bailey, and the Two Zephyrs; with movie. (ads, Chicago Daily News, 2-8Feb40) Tunes included: Boy Meets Horn, Prelude in C Sharp Minor, Mood Indigo, St. Louis Blues. ("State-Lake, Chi," Variety, 7Feb40, p40); Lilacs in the Rain, All the Things You Are, Prelude in C Sharp Minor, Sunny Side of the Street. ("Vaudeville Reviews," Billboard, 10Feb40).
9Feb to 15Feb40, Regal Theater, Chicago. (ads, Chicago Herald-American, 9-15Feb40) "The same show presented at the loop theater…." ("Duke’s Band Sensation at Regal," Chicago Defender, 10Feb40, p11)
14Feb40, Columbia recording session, Chicago. 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Vocalion recording session, Barney Bigard, 4:20 to 5:15 p.m.
15Feb40, Vocalion recording sessions, Chicago. Barney Bigard, 12:15 to 1:30 a.m.; Cootie Williams, 1:30 to 4:00 a.m.
16Feb40, Masonic Temple, Fountain Ballroom, Wayne University, Detroit, MI. 1,400 students attend. (Joan Calvin, "At the J-Hop," The Detroit Collegian, 19Feb40, p4)
17Feb40, Michigan Theatre, Muskegon, MI. (ad, Muskegon Chronicle, 17Feb40)
18Feb to 20Feb40, Keith’s Theatre, Grand Rapids, MI. (ads, Grand Rapids Herald, 17-20Feb40) "Ellington directs in an unusual style playing a piano which is elevated so he may play while standing. Many of Ellington’s own hot compositions are featured, but ever-popular St. Louis Blues probably brought more applause than any other number." (Grand Rapids Herald, 19Feb40, p7)
23Feb and 24Feb40, Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, MI. Shows at 3:56, 7:10 and 9:25; with a movie. (ads, Ann Arbor News, 21-24Feb40)
25Feb to 28Feb40, Strand Theatre, Lansing, MI. Stage shows at 2:25, 4:40, 7:10 and 9:30; with a movie. (ads, State Journal, 24-28Feb40)
29Feb40, Palace Theater, South Bend, IN. Caravan, Prelude in C Sharp Minor, The Sergeant Was Shy, Boy Meets Horn are featured; along with Ivie Anderson on Jumpin' Jive and On the Sunny Side of the Street, and Herb Jeffries on All the Things You Are, Lilacs in the Rain and It’s a Blue World. (Virginia Worden, "Duke Ellington Revue Pleases," South Bend Tribune, 1Mar40, p4)
1Mar40, Union Ballrooms, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. (Will Zimmerman, "Ellington Plays at Informal Tonight," Purdue Exponent, 1Mar40, p1)
3Mar to 5Mar40, Temple Theater, Saginaw, MI. Shows at 2:20, 4:40, 7:00, and 9:20 with a movie. (ads, Saginaw News, 1-5Mar40)
6 to 7Mar40, Victor recording session, Chicago. 6:55 p.m. to 12:40 a.m.
8Mar to 14Mar40, Colonial Theater, Detroit, MI. Shows at 3:30, 7:30, and 11:00 with a movie. (ads, Detroit Free Press, 7Mar-14Mar40)
15Mar40, Victor recording session, Chicago. 2:30 to 7:30 p.m.
16Mar40, Tune Town, St. Louis, MO. Local broadcasts from ballroom at 10:30 pm and 11:45 pm over KXOK (ad, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 16Mar40, p6C; and radio listing, p3C)
19Mar to 25Mar40, Denver Theatre, Denver, CO Shows at 1:09, 3:38, 6:37, 9:16; with a movie. (ads, Rocky Mountain News, 19-25Mar40) Tunes include: Cotton Club Stomp, Prelude in C Sharp Minor, The Sergeant Was Shy, Boy Meets Horn, St. Louis Blues. (James H. Briggs, "Duke Ellington’s Orchestra Takes Over Denver’s Stage," Rocky Mountain News, 20Mar40, p4)
29Mar to 31Mar40, Century Ballroom, Tacoma, WA. The ballroom was decorated with thousands of daffodils for the Annual Daffodil Ball (29Mar), pictured on page 154 of Music is My Mistress. ("Ellington Due Here," Tacoma News Tribune, 29Mar40, p11)
1Apr to 14Apr40, Show Box, Seattle, WA. Night club with dancing and floor shows at 3:00, 8:00, and 11:00 p.m., featuring Marie Bryant, comedian Dudley Dickerson, Edwards and Pearson, and Gene King. Local half-hour broadcasts were carried over KIRO at 10:45 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. (ads and radio listings, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1-14Apr40)
8Apr40, Finnish Hall, Seattle, WA. Benefit for Musicians Local No. 493, A.F.M. Others playing at this benefit were Gene Coy, Gay Jones, and Palmer Johnson. (ad, Northwest Enterprise, 5Apr40, p4)
15Apr40, Forum, Vancouver, BC. 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. (ad, Vancouver Sun, 15Apr40, p7) "Upward of 4,000 people jittered and slithered, swayed their bodies, and clapped their hands to the rhythmic sounds of Duke Ellington’s band at the Forum Monday evening." (Stanley Bligh, "Ellington Band Wins Acclaim of Jitterbugs," Vancouver Sun, 16Apr40, p11)
15Apr40, Cave Supper Club, Vancouver, B.C. Duke Ellington was a guest at an after hours performance of the Harlem Trio, starring Marie Bryant and other dancers from the Seattle stage show. ("Ellington Guest at Cave Tonight," Vancouver Sun, 15Apr40, p9)
16Apr40, side trip to Victoria, British Columbia? According to Bea Ellis in letter to columnist. (Floyd G. Snelson, "Harlem," New York Age, 4May40, p4)
17Apr40, Uptown Ballroom, Portland, OR. Live broadcast 10:30 p.m. over KGW. (ad and radio listing, The Oregonian, 17Apr40)
19Apr40, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA ("Bands on tour — Advance Dates, Billboard, 30Mar40, p13)
21 to 22Apr40, Sweet’s Ballroom, Oakland, CA. ("Bands on Tour — Advance Dates," Billboard, 30Mar40, p13) Daily newspapers only list "tomorrow night." (ads, Oakland Tribune, Oakland Post-Enquirer, 20Apr40) Sweet’s had a policy of separate nights for whites and blacks. A boycott was attempted to protest higher admission prices for blacks on the second evening. (Jay Gould, "Globe News and Gossip," California Eagle, 2May40, p2B)
23Apr40, Club Alabam, Los Angeles, CA. "The band will not play but will be honored guests…." ("Duke Ellington To Be Honored," Los Angeles Sentinel, 18Apr40, p1)
24Apr to 30Apr40, Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles. (Ads in Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express, Los Angeles Times, 23-30Apr40) Jack the Bear added to stage show. Ellington was honored on his birthday (29Apr) with a "guest star night," with Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Rudy Vallee, and Paul Whiteman scheduled to appear. ("Star Guests at Orpheum," Los Angeles Daily News, 29Apr40) "Herb Jeffries has improved his technique marvellously. Reason: Duke’s brilliant young arranger Billy Strayhorn has put all his fine art to work…." (Bill Smallwood, "Notes on a Scratchpad," California Eagle, 25Apr40, p9B)
1May40, Broadway Pier, San Diego, CA. "Dancing starts 8:30." (ad, San Diego Union, 1May40, p8A)
2May40, Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles. Private party. (Tempo, 15Apr40, p3)
2May40, Lincoln Park Roller Rink, Los Angeles. ("Duke Ellington Band Will Play Tonight," Los Angeles Sentinel, 2May40, p1) Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles gig ("Bands on Tour — Advance Dates," Billboard, 13Apr40, p23) not mentioned in Los Angeles papers. (Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express, Los Angeles Daily News)
3May40, Civic Auditorium, Glendale, CA. ("Bands on Tour — Advance Dates," Billboard, 13Apr40, p23) No mention in Los Angeles papers. (as 2May40) Unlikely event — venue not listed in Glendale phone book.
4May40, Victor recording session, Hollywood. 1:45 to 5:15 p.m.
4May40, A "Central Avenue date." (Tempo, 15Apr40, p3)
6May40, White City ballroom, Ogden, Utah. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Local broadcast at 9:00 p.m. on KLO. (ad, Ogden Standard Examiner, 6May40, p8; radio listing, p10)
8May40, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO? Per Igo Itinerary, no source given, not mentioned in University of Missouri student paper or Columbia daily papers.
9May40, Civic Auditorium, Emporia, KS. To celebrate the opening of the new "$600,000" Civic Auditorium, Emporia held a five-day "Fiestaval." (W.L. White, "Emporia Greets Duke," Emporia Gazette, 10May40, p4)
10May40, Turnpike, Lincoln, NE. (ad, Lincoln Star, 10May40, p6)
11May40, Skylon Ballroom, Sioux City, IA. (ad, Sioux City Journal, 11May40, p2)
12May40, Chermot Ballroom, Omaha, NE. Local radio broadcast over WOW at 11:00 p.m. (ad, Omaha Sunday World-Herald, p9E; and radio listing, p8B) Local drummer Walter Herrod substituted for ailing Sonny Greer. (Jimmy Lazine, "Jivin with Jimmy," Omaha Star, 17May40, p6)
13May40, Oil Capital Club, Tulsa, OK. ("Duke to Play Oil Capital Nite Club," Pittsburgh Courier, 11May40, p21)
15May40, City Auditorium, Houston, TX. ("The Duke is Coming to Town," Houston Informer, 27Apr40, p7; "Ellington is Called Harlem’s Jazz Aristocrat," Houston Informer, 4May40, p7)
22May40, Arrived in Chicago. (Chicago Defender, 25May40, p13)
25May40, Burlington Memorial Auditorium, Burlington, IA. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. (ad, Burlington Hawkeye, 25May40, p3)
27May40, Skoller’s Swingland Cafe, Chicago. Duke Ellington and members of his band were honored guests. ("To Honor Duke," Chicago Defender, 25May40, p13)
28May40, Victor recording session, Chicago. 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.
30May40, LaBelle Resort, Gull Lake, MI. 9:00 p.m. to 1 a.m. (ad, Battle Creek Enquirer and News, 30May40, p4)
31May40, Buckeye Lake Pier Ballroom, Columbus, OH. (ad, Columbus Dispatch, 31May40, p2B)
1Jun40, WCHS Auditorium, Charleston, WV. "Welcome B.P.O.E. - 9:30 till 2:00." (ad, Charleston Gazette, 1Jun40, p7)
2Jun40, Howard Theater, Washington, DC. "Swing concerts" at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. (Bill Gottlieb, "Swing Sessions," Washington Post, 2Jun40, p8)
2Jun40, aboard Robert E. Lee, Cross Keys Nautical Cruise, Washington, DC. 8:30 until dawn. (ad in Ken Vail, Duke’s Diary, no source given)
4Jun40, Boston, MA, (Igo Itinerary, no source given) Not found in Boston newspapers. (Boston Post, Boston Herald)
5Jun40, Old Orchard Pier, Old Orchard Beach, ME. (ad, Biddeford Daily Journal, 5Jun40, p6)
7Jun to 13Jun40, Apollo Theatre, New York. Continuous shows with Marie Bryant, Judy Carol, Conway and Parks, Jelli Smith, and Willie Jackson. (ads, New York Post, 7-13Jun40; New York Amsterdam News, 8Jun40, p17) "Ben Webster started out with Stardust and when the crowd yelled, Body and Soul, Ben, at first, demurred. Insistently, however, they demanded it and doggone if they didn’t get it." (Dan Burley, "Backdoor Stuff," New York Amsterdam News, 15Jun40, p13)
10Jun40, "America Dances" broadcast. Recording for later broadcast on BBC. ("Duke on the Air," Melody Maker, 26Apr41)
12Jun40, "Radio Newsreel" program. Mutual. Not listed in New York Times radio listings.
13Jun40, Central Park Mall, New York. Ellington served as guest conductor of the New York Municipal Band. ("Ellington Fronts Municipal Band," Norfolk Journal and Guide, 15Jun40 p16)
14Jun40, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. (Cornell Sun, 14Jun40, p12)
15Jun40, Stambaugh Auditorium, Youngstown, OH. ("Interesting News for Colored Folks, Youngstown Vindicator, 10Jun40, p9) Prom sponsored by the Mystic Knight Club.
16Jun40, Side-trip to Chicago, orchestra in Dayton, Ohio? ("Duke Spends Sunday Visiting City," Chicago Defender, 22Jun40, p11) Ellington left the band and flew to Chicago to make arrangements for the American Negro Exposition.
17Jun40, Majestic Theater, Johnstown, PA. (ad, Johnstown Evening Tribune, 17Jun40, p15) Rocky Mount, N.C. ("Band Bookings," Variety, 22May40, p48) has been listed for this date, but seems unlikely. Count Basie was in Rocky Mount 17Jun40 for the annual June German Dance, a major African American social event. ("Basie Sent Bugs in Surprise Mood," Norfolk Journal and Guide, 29Jun40, p16)
21Jun40, Metropolitan Golden Ballroom, Philadelphia, PA. Avis Andrews from Cab Calloway’s orchestra was guest vocalist. ("Duke Ellington Dance Draws Jazz Lovers," Philadelphia Tribune, 27Jun40, p14)
22Jun40, Castle Garden, Dornay Park, Allentown, PA. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. (ad, Allentown Morning Call, 22Jun40)
23Jun40, Savoy Ballroom, New York. (Dan Burley, "Backdoor Stuff," New York Amsterdam News, 29Jun40)
24Jun40, Rocky Springs Park, Lancaster, PA. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. (ad, Philadelphia Afro-American, 15Jun40, p14)
27Jun40, Recreation Ballroom, Lawrence, MA. (Igo Itinerary, source not given) Not found in Boston papers. (Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Boston Post)
28Jun40, Palisades Amusement Park, Fort Lee, NJ. Appeared with Ina Ray Hutton’s orchestra. (ad, New York Post, 22Jun40, p6)
29Jun40, Casino, Bemus Point, NY. Open-air ballroom on Lake Chautauqua. (ad, Jamestown Evening Journal, 29Jun40, p5)
2Jul40, Vann’s Warehouse, Abingdon, VA. "Seats sale at Pearl Roberts’ Home, and Abingdon Pharmacy, $1.00; at the door, $1.25. Limited space for white spectators; tickets at Cowan-Grant, 55c; at the door, 75c." (ad, Bristol News Bulletin, 1Jul40, p3)
3Jul40, Memorial Auditorium, Chattanooga, TN. Jimmie Blanton’s homecoming. Concert from 8:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. and dance from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. ("Ellington Here Tonight," Chattanooga Times, 3Jul40, p11; ad, Chattanooga Times, 2Jul40, p13)
4Jul40, Macon Auditorium, Macon, GA. Concert and dance. Creole Rhapsody, Creole Love Call, and Jumpin’ Jive performed. ("Ellington Concert Climaxes Home Coming Program Here," Macon Telegraph and News, 7Jul40, p17)
6Jul40, Armory, Charleston, WV. (ad, West Virginia Digest, 6Jul40, p6)
8Jul40, Armory, Mount Hope, WV. ("Band Bookings," Variety, 12Jun40, p35)
10Jul40, Joyland Casino, Lexington, KY. (ad, Lexington Herald, 10Jul40, p8)
12Jul40, Bayshore Pavilion, Buckroe Beach, VA. (E. Billingsworth, "Swinging on the Bandwagon," Norfolk Journal and Guide, 6Jul40, p17)
15Jul40, Frazier Park, Auburn, AL. ("Bands on Tour — Advance Dates," Billboard, 29Jun40, p14)
16Jul40, Fairgrounds, Columbus, GA. ("Duke Ellington Orchestra to Play Tuesday Night," Columbus Ledger, 14Jul40, p22)
17Jul40, City Auditorium, Atlanta, GA. 9 p.m. (ad, Atlanta Daily World, 17Jul40) "Reserved section for white." (ad, Atlanta Constitution, 17Aug40, p4) The dance was for Negroes, but about 1,000 white people attended as spectators." ("Ellington Attracts Record 7,000 Dancers in Atlanta," Billboard, 17Aug40, p9)
18Jul40, Carolina Warehouse, Asheville, NC. (ad, Asheville Citizen Times, 18Jul40, p2) Not 16Jun40 as suggested for this date (DEMS Bulletin, 86/1)
19Jul40, Riverside Beach Park, Charleston, SC. ("Band Bookings," Variety, 10Jul40, p36) Not found in daily papers, African American paper, Lighthouse and Informer, not available. This gig has also been listed for 19Jun40 (Igo Itinerary, no source given). The 19Jul date seems more likely. "The pavilion was the only venue for black Charlestonians to see some of America’s finest musicians, legends such as Duke Ellington…." (Herb Frazier, Post and Courier, 12Aug2001, p1)
22Jul40, Victor recording session, New York. 2:15 to 6:15 p.m.
24Jul40, Victor recording session, New York. 10:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
25Jul40, World’s Fair, New York. The bands of Duke Ellington and Charlie Barnet "appeared in a jam session" in "a case of teacher v. pupil and they both went to town." ("Duke’s Charlie," Chicago Defender, 3Aug40, p11)
26Jul40 to 1Aug40, Eastwood Gardens, Detroit, MI. Nightly, with matinee on Sunday. (ads, Detroit Free Press, 26Jul40, p11, and 1Aug40, p11) Local, half-hour radio broadcasts on WWJ every night except Sunday (28Jul) at 11:30 p.m. EST. (Radio listings, Detroit Evening Times) The 29Jul and 31Jul broadcasts were carried nationally over NBC Red/WEAF New York. Tunes included Ko-Ko, Harlem Air Shaft, Rumpus in Richmond, and Jack the Bear, as well as The Sergeant was Shy and I’m Checking Out. (NBC Logs at Library of Congress; radio listings, New York Times) "But you just can’t play that [Tootin Through the Roof] forever," mused Duke between dance sets at Eastwood Gardens. "I felt long ago there was need for expressing more of the American Negro’s true feeling. So I wrote Boola in operatic form. It’s orchestrated and ready for production — probably in New York." ("Ellington Composes New Number," Detroit Evening Times, 30Jul40, p18)
2Aug40, Dayton, Ohio? "Leaving Detroit, the Duke Ellington Orchestra visits Dayton, Ohio; Virginia Beach; Washington, D.C; and New York…. ("Duke Was Offered $100,000 by Sweden," Pittsburgh Courier, 10Aug40, p21) Dayton daily papers had no mention of Duke. (Dayton Daily News and Journal Herald)
4Aug to 10Aug40, Surf Beach Club, Virginia Beach, VA. Capacity crowds greeted the first black band to play this ocean front club. ("At Virginia Beach Surf Club," Norfolk Journal and Guide, 10Aug40, p16)
11Aug to 14Aug, Washington, D.C., New York? (See 02Aug40)
15Aug40, Kimball’s Starlight Ballroom, South Lynnfield, MA. (ad, Boston Post, 15Aug40, p13)
16Aug and 17Aug40, Canobie Lake Park, Salem, NH. "Next Friday and Saturday." (Buddy Stewart, "Dance Music," Boston Post, 10Aug40, p6) Local broadcast, not listed in Boston papers, 17Aug40. The incorrect dating of this Canobie Lake Park broadcast as 19Aug has caused this to be listed as a four-day engagement. (DEMS Bulletin, 03/2-9)
20Aug40, Roseland State Ballroom, Boston, MA. Dance sponsored by the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Dining Car Union, Local 370. (ad, Boston Post, 20Aug40, p11)
21Aug40, Roseland Ballroom, Claremont, NH. (ad, Claremont Daily Eagle, 21Aug40)
23Aug and 24Aug40, New Dance Pavilion, Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., and 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. ("Program Today at the C.N.E.," Toronto Evening Telegram, 23Aug40, p2, and 24Aug40, p2; ad, 23Aug40, p13; "Slow Music Wartime Fad Says Swing King Ellington," Toronto Evening Telegram, 24Aug40, p5)
26Aug40, Coliseum, Chicago. 4,000 attended the Miss Bronze America Contest of the American Negro Exposition. Duke Ellington and his Orchestra played for the contest and Ellington crowned contest winner Miriam Ali. ("Beauty Queen to Leave for New York on Sunday," Chicago Defender, 31Aug40 p2) Following the coronation ceremonies, Ellington played for dancing at the Tropical Gardens next door. (Chicago Tribune, 1Sep40, part6, p6)
27Aug40, Municipal Auditorium, St. Louis, MO. The Grand Ball of the Elks Convention lasted "until daylight." ("Elks’ Ball is Colorful; 5,000 Attend," St. Louis Argus, 30Aug40, p3)
31Aug40, Lake Shore Country Club, Glencoe, IL. ("Band Bookings," Variety, 28Aug40, p40) Private event - unable to verify through Chicago or Glencoe papers.
2Sep40, Forest Park Highlands, St. Louis, MO. ("Highland to End Season Tonight," with ad, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 2Sep40, p4C)
3Sep40, Club Trocadero, Henderson, KY. (ad, Henderson Morning Gleaner, 3Sep40, p3)
5Sep40, Victor recording session, Chicago. 2:10 to 6:10 p.m.
5Sep40, "In Chicago Tonight" broadcast, Chicago. WGN/Mutual 7:30 p.m. CDT. (radio listing, Chicago Tribune, 5Sep40)
6Sep40 to 17oct40, Panther Room, Hotel Sherman, Chicago. "A prize catch for any band because of its nightly airing…." ("Duke is Due," Chicago Defender, 27Jul40, p10) There were two local half-hour broadcasts every night, except Monday: WMAQ at 11:00 p.m. and WENR at 12:30 a.m. CDT. (Radio listings, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Daily News; "Radio Raves" column, Kansas City Call, 6Sep40, p12, and other African-American papers)
21 of these broadcasts (early broadcasts on Saturdays, Sundays, and Thursdays; and late broadcasts on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) were fed nationally over NBC Blue/WJZ New York and NBC Red/WEAF New York. (NBC Logs at Library of Congress; radio listings, New York Times)
"For the first time in years he switched his opening theme to a new composition, Sepia Panorama…." ("Duke Ellington’s Opening Triumphs," Chicago Defender, 14Sept40) Opening night "took on the aura of a musical event with a capital E." (Joseph Lawler, "Cafe Table Topics," Chicago Daily News, 11Sep40)
In addition to a new opening theme and closing theme (Warm Valley), Ellington gave his new music of 1940 plenty of airplay: Harlem Air Shaft, Conga Brava, Ko-Ko, Rumpus in Richmond, Bojangles, Concerto for Cootie, Blue Goose, Cottontail, and In a Mellow Tone. Earlier works The Mystery Song and Doin’ the Voom Voom were revived, along with a solo piano version of Black Beauty. Popular tunes included My Greatest Mistake, Orchids for Remembrance, Madame Will Drop Her Shawl. (NBC Logs at Library of Congress)
9Sep40, "Your Music IQ" broadcast, Chicago WGN/Mutual 8:30 p.m. (radio listing, Chicago Daily News, 9Sep40, p16)
12Sep40, Grand Terrace Cafe, Chicago. "Ellington and party" for club reopening. ("Chicago Hails Fuller’s Band," Chicago Defender, 21Sep40, p12)
15Sep40, Brass Rail, Chicago. "Brass Rail Runs Amuck with Gang Of Celebrities," Chicago Defender, 21Sep40, p12)
29Sep40, Square’s Boulevard Cafe, Chicago. ("Duke Ellington Feted at Square’s Boulevard Café," Chicago Defender, 28Sep40, p12)
1oct40, Victor recording session, Chicago. Duke Ellington and Jimmie Blanton duets. 1:00 to 5:30 p.m.
17oct40, Victor recording session, Chicago. 2:15 to 6:15 p.m.
18oct to 24oct40, Oriental Theater, Chicago. Stage shows with Marie Bryant, Bill Bailey, and the Jones Brothers, starting at 12:43, 3:40, 6:37, and 9:34; with a movie. (Ads and theater listings, Chicago Daily News, 18-24oct40)
25oct40, Danceland, Cedar Rapids, IA. ("Over 1,000 Crowd Danceland to Hear Ellington’s Band," Cedar Rapids Gazette, 26oct40) Vogel’s, Hammond, Indiana, has also been listed for this date (Igo Itinerary, no source given), but can’t be confirmed. (Hammond Times)
26oct40, Miramar Ballroom, Gary IN. The entertainment press listed the location as the "Miramar." ("Orchestra Routes," Billboard, 26Oct40, p12; and "Band Bookings," Variety, 2Oct40, p49) "Club Dunbar" was the social organization sponsoring the dance. ("Duke Ellington Will be Guest of Club Dunbar Saturday Night," Gary American, 25oct40, p2)
28oct40, Victor recording session, Chicago. 11:45 to 3:45 p.m.
28oct40, Parkway Ballroom, Chicago. "14th Annual Scholarship Dance, Kentucky State Alumni, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m." (ad, Chicago Defender, 19oct40, p14)
28oct40, Grand Terrace Cafe, Chicago. Duke attended as a guest with Bea Ellis. ("Highlights at Chicago Defender Mayor of Bronzeville Ball," Chicago Defender, 2Nov40, p11) Ray Nance was announced as a new band member on this day, and a farewell party for Cootie Williams was suggested for this week, date and location unknown. ("Ray Nance Gets Spot in Ellington’s Band, Chicago Defender, 2Nov40)
29oct and 30oct40, Orpheum Theatre, Madison, WI. Stage shows at 2:35, 4:50, 7:45, and 9:40; with a movie. (ads, State Journal, 29oct40, p12, and 30oct40, p14)
31oct40, Columbus Auditorium, Columbus, OH. (ad, Columbus Dispatch, 30oct40, p5)
1Nov40, Muncie Fieldhouse, Muncie, IN. "Thousands packed the fieldhouse last night for the opening engagement of the Young Republicans ‘Carnival of Swing,’ starring Duke Ellington and his orchestra. The dance was for colored persons and white audience." ("Jam Fieldhouse For Opening of Swing Carnival," Muncie Morning Star, 2Nov40, p2)
2Nov40, Bluebird recording sessions, Chicago. Johnny Hodges, 10:20 a.m. to 1:20 p.m; Rex Stewart, 1:30 to 5:25 p.m.
2Nov40, Hammond, Indiana? A radio broadcast was listed for WJOB, located in Hammond, at 10:30 p.m. (radio listings, Chicago Herald American, 2Nov40, p20) There was no mention of a gig in the Hammond Times.
4Nov40, Minneapolis, MN.? "The States ballroom was able to book the Ellington band for an open date between Minneapolis and Winnipeg engagements…." ("Duke Ellington Features Own Compositions," Grand Forks Herald, 3Nov40, p21) Not mentioned in Minneapolis papers (Minneapolis Star Journal, Minneapolis Tribune, Minneapolis Spokesman) or at University of Minnesota.
5Nov40, States Ballroom, East Grand Forks, MN. Reference to "18-piece dance band" seems incorrect. ("East Side Briefs," Grand Forks Herald, 6Nov40, p6)
6Nov40, Auditorium, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Ray Nance joins band. (DEMS Bulletin, 00/1, p11) "Jimmie Blanton…heavily featured." (Tony Alla, "Duke’s Band Slays ‘Em," Winnipeg Tribune, 7Nov40, p12) Tunes included: The Flaming Sword, Harlem Speaks, Warm Valley, I Don’t Mind, In a Mellow Tone, Rumpus in Richmond, Boy Meets Horn, and St. Louis Blues. (George Beattie, "Wizard Wows — Duke’s Jazz Heps ‘Em Up as 3,400 Rock in Rhythm," Winnipeg Free Press, 7Nov40, p1.)
7Nov 40, Crystal Ballroom, Fargo, ND. 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. (ad, Fargo Forum, 7Nov40, p18) Local broadcast at 9:00 p.m. over KVOX. Recorded by Jack Towers and Dick Burris. (The Duke at Fargo 1940 Special 60th Anniversary Edition, Storyville CD STCD 8316/17)
8Nov40, Duluth Armory, Duluth, MN. 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. (ad, Duluth Herald, 8Nov40, p10)
11Nov40, Bluebird recording session, Chicago. Barney Bigard, 11:30 to 2:30.
15Nov to 21Nov40, Regal Theatre, Chicago. (ad, Chicago Defender, 15Nov40, p12; theater listings, Chicago Herald American, 15-21Nov40) "Ray Nance…is fitting into the picture nicely. Not only is Nance a fine musician, but his vocalizing is proving a sensation. Ellington admitted to reporters this week that he has had reasons to smile over the surprise performance of the Chicago musician." ("Nance Wins Duke’s O.K.," Chicago Defender, 16Nov40, p13)
25Nov40, Graystone Ballroom, Detroit, MI;
26Nov and 27Nov40, Cleveland, Ohio? "Monday the band plays a dance engagement at the Graystone Ballroom in Detroit and then sets sail for Cleveland for three engagements." ("Duke Ellington Ends Stay Here," Chicago Defender, 23Nov40, p10) Michigan Chronicle not available for this date. Cleveland dates could not be confirmed, either. (Cleveland Plain Dealer; Press; Cleveland Call and Post)
28Nov40 to 4Dec40, Flatbush Theatre, Brooklyn, NY. (ads, Brooklyn Eagle, 27Nov40-4Dec40) Stage show with Marie Bryant featured on I Like to Riff, comedians Stump and Stumpy, and dancer Bill Bailey. Show includes Cotton Tail, Whispering Grass, Boy Meets Horn; Ivie Anderson on Five O’Clock Whistle; Herb Jeffries on Call of the Canyon and Our Love Affair. ("Flatbush, B’kln," Variety, 4Dec40, p53)
5Dec to 11Dec40, Windsor Theatre, New York. (ads, New York Post, 5-11Dec40) Same stage show as previous week at the Flatbush.
6Dec40, Brooklyn Apollo, Brooklyn, NY. Midnight benefit show sponsored by the New York Amsterdam News. (St. Clair Bourne, "Brooklyn Benefit Show Draws Packed House, Top Notch Performers Appear," New York Amsterdam News, 14Dec40, p10)
12Dec40, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY. Concert as part of the university’s concert and lecture series. (Colgate Maroon, 13Dec40, p1)
13Dec to 19Dec40, Apollo Theatre, New York. With Cowan and Cowan, and Jerry Taps, dancers. (ad, New York Amsterdam News, 14Dec40, p21) 13Dec New York Amsterdam News benefit show along with Dinah Shore, Glenn Miller, Tony Pastor, Erskine Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others. ("Ladies and Gents, Our Midnight Show Was Tops," New York Amsterdam News, 21Dec40, p1)
20Dec to 22Dec40, State Theatre, Hartford, CT. Stage show with the Peters Sisters and Bill Bailey. ("Duke Ellington Exponent of Jazz State Headliner," Hartford Courant, 21Dec40, p12)
24Dec40, Savoy Ballroom, New York. "A record night with more than four thousand jitterbugs passing in and out during the affair which lasted until six in the morning. Others sharing musical honors with Duke were Ella Fitzgerald and Erskine Hawkins." (Isadora Smith, "Xmas Eve and Nite Jumped in Harlem, Pittsburgh Courier, 4Jan41, p21)
28Dec40, Victor recording session, Chicago. 1:30 to 5:15 p.m.
28Dec40, Savoy Ballroom, Chicago. Miriam Ali (Miss Bronze America) and Joe Louis presented Ellington with a trophy for winning the Chicago Defender’s Number 1 band contest. (David W. Kellum, "Crowd Cheers as Ellington Gets Trophy," Chicago Defender, 4Jan41, p1)
30Dec40, Liberty Hall, El Paso, TX. As part of the annual Sun Carnival (with parade and Sun Bowl football game), Duke Ellington and His Orchestra played for Coronation Ball at 10:00 p.m. A local broadcast was carried over KROD at 11:00 p.m. (radio listing, El Paso Herald Post, 30Dec40, p8)
In the following chapter, the band continued their trip west, opening a six-week engagement at the Casa Mañana in Los Angeles on 3Jan41 with new music.
Compilation © 2004 Kenneth R. Steiner. All rights reserved.
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