DUKE ELLINGTON MUSIC SOCIETY
06/1 April - July 2006
Our 28th Year of Publication.
FOUNDER: BENNY AASLAND
Voort 18b, 2328 Meerle, Belgium
Telephone: +32 3 315 75 83
DISCUSSIONS - ADDITIONS - CORRECTIONS
The Lou Rawls Show with Duke Ellington
See DEMS 05/3-19
The Ellington bonus on the RAWLS DVD is The Hawk Talks (Klaus Stratemann 13005, p334; The New DESOR 5203f, p179) in good quality. They should label it a Bellson bonus though.
1940 Chicago Tonight radio program
Do you know if this is available on tape or CD from any source, and if so, how can I get it?
This broadcast is claimed to have had three selections: Solitude; Mood Indigo and It Don't Mean a Thing.
It has been documented in the Chicago Tribune of 5Sep40, the same date as the broadcast. It is also documented in WaxWorks by Benny Aasland as entry 40-22 and as a MBS (WGN) broadcast in which Duke participated. It seems that the band did not. We have never found this recording. We suspect that no recording (if there ever was one) has survived.
Magic Carpet and One Night Stand broadcasts
The latest DEMS was as usual awe-inspiringly informative. However I'm in need of clarification about a couple of items (which is probably a result of my lack of knowledge ).
1. I infer from the discussion of the DETS release of Zanzibar broadcasts recorded on 7oct45 that there were 2 broadcasts, one called "Magic Carpet" and one called "One Night Stand", from the same date. If I'm correct, (and I may just misunderstand the whole thing) were these broadcast live? I ask because Sjef refers to the "One Night Stand" show as being "processed" on a different date. What does "processed" mean?
You have three questions. I think that it is best to answer each one separately.
There were probably indeed two broadcasts on 7oct45. There is one which was documented on the date of 7oct45 since the tape of Magic Carpet 131 showed up. See the old Desor session 361.0 in Volume 9 (1975) page XLI. The description below that session shows that the first chorus of Love Letters by Lawrence Brown had only 24 bars and that the last selection, Kissing Bug was not complete at the end. This was indeed the AFRS broadcast Magic Carpet 131 which had these two imperfections. The release on the LP Joyce 1071 had the same defects. In Bulletin 79/5-3 Benny Aasland offered to the membership a reel to reel tape with this Magic Carpet 131 broadcast. When the Joyce LP was announced in DEMS Bulletin 80/2-1 the date of the Magic Carpet 131 broadcast was given (in error) as 4oct45. In the next Bulletin (80/3-5) this announcement was corrected. The 4oct45 portion was claimed (in accordance with the Benny Aasland reel to reel tape) to include at the start Take the "A" Train (which was correct) and the closing Main Stem (which was wrong). Neither was mentioned on sleeve or label. Comparison revealed that the closing Main Stem was a repeat of the third selection of the original broadcast.
The second time the date of 7oct45 showed up was in DEMS Bulletin 85/3-2 in which the LP Fanfare 135 was reported, with one selection from Magic Carpet 131, Love Letters. One again it was also not complete, showing that it was clearly dubbed onto this LP from the Magic Carpet tape. The date of 7oct45 for the Magic Carpet 131 broadcast was again confirmed in DEMS 88/4-8, where the session received the Waxworks entry number 45-79. When François Moulé asked in Bulletin 89/1-9 what the correct date should read: 4oct45 or 7oct45, Benny answered: "the date ought to be 7oct45, despite what many times has been said elsewhere."
In Bulletin 90/4-7 Jerry Valburn announced the finding of the original acetates of the complete 7oct45 broadcast. These acetates contained four selections more than what was earlier known through the Magic Carpet broadcast 131. This appeared in that Bulletin: The balance consists of Suddenly It Jumped/Every Hour on the Hour/Cotton Tail/Everything But You and bc close. Comments from Hoefsmit: Love Letters (from the first part) has also been issued on Fanfare 135, with a false date, 11oct46, as from the Aquarium Restaurant. All earlier issued versions have the same defect, but now having the original bc, we can enjoy Lawrence Brown playing the first chorus complete. Comments from Benny Aasland: Bc time: 11:30-12:00M. The date is said to be 7oct45, which contradicts with the schedule for MBS bcs. However, I'm willing to use this date until we know better.
From this original 10 titles broadcast, the first group of six was used for the Magic Carpet broadcast 131. Apparently it was edited, which proves that Magic Carpet was not the original broadcast but was transcribed from an original broadcast. This original broadcast had no defects and contained 10 titles. The balance of four were released for the first time on DETS CD Vol 10. The Magic Carpet portion, but now without defects was released on DETS CD Vol 2. The conclusion is that my remark in DEMS 05/3-22 (additional comment 2) that the Magic Carpet broadcast 131 was distributed over two sets, Volume 2 and Volume 11, was wrong. It was exclusively on Volume 2. Actually this was not the Magic Carpet broadcast itself but the first group of six selections from the original 7oct45 broadcast, transcribed for Magic Carpet with two defects. On Volume 11 were the remaining four selections from the original broadcast of 7oct45.
There was another broadcast, titled One Night Stand 764. This broadcast was claimed to originate from 24Sep45. It was not mentioned in the old Desor, however it was mentioned in Aasland's WaxWorks entry 45-73 in DEMS Bulletin 88/4-8. In the New DESOR this broadcast was dated as 24oct45. The opening theme Take the "A" Train is taken by the AFRS from the original recording in the middle of the programme: the first part until the 12th bar in the 2nd chorus. It has erroneously received its own number, 4583a, although it is dubbed from 4583g.
Klaus Stratemann (page 263): "The week of September 12, Ray Nance left the band". Luciano Massagli: Ray Nance left after October 1. Taft Jordan played the solo in Take the "A" Train. Conclusion: this session is from October, probably October 24. (ONS 754, broadcast of Tommy Dorsey, is from 30 September 1945).
The correct date is 7oct45. Source "One Night Stand Series 1-1001, Greenwood Press by Mackenzie & Polomski. See DEMS 02/1-19/2. The last group of two selections (released on Joyce LP 1071) is released on CD DETS 903.9005. Six other selections are on CD DETS 903.9007. How Deep Is the Ocean and Every Hour on the Hour have not yet been released. See for an overview of the ONS broadcasts DEMS 02/2-6/2.
The correct dates of both broadcasts are not known for certain. Maybe the ONS one is more certain than the Magic Carpet one, which probably gives 7oct45 as the broadcast date of the Magic Carpet broadcast, but is silent about recording date of the original broadcast.
What I mean by "processed " is that transcriptions were made from the original broadcast to be used later for edited broadcasts for the AFRS or what Jerry Valburn described in 02/1-19-2 as cut for the masters in the series. As you can see from this, some parts were missing from the originals and sometimes a selection was repeated in the edited version, as a result of this "cutting" process.
The original broadcasts were live, but the AFRS transcriptions were not.
2. And while I'm on the topic of broadcasts: the liner notes to the "Duke's Joint" CD state that the broadcast of 15oct45 is "so scarce that only the 1st half could be found in the RCA vault." My question is: why was anything found in the RCA vault? How was RCA involved in the broadcast? Because it was an NBC broadcast? (NBC and RCA used to be part of the same company, I believe.)
I have no idea how and why the broadcast of 15oct45 popped up in the RCA vaults. I can imagine why Will Friedwald's liner note for the Buddha CD refers to the first half. Two of the four selections (Fickle Fling and Autumn Serenade) have formed part of a group of five recordings on tape. One of these five (Out of This World) has been identified as belonging to the broadcast of 13oct45. Another one (Suburbanite) has been identified as belonging to the broadcast of 24Aug46. A third one (Stomp, Look and Listen) was not found anywhere else. For some time it stayed with Fickle Fling and Autumn Serenade as a session in the Fall of 1945. These three are so listed in the New DESOR as session 4579. Stomp, Look and Listen is the only selection that still awaits identification by date. Fickle Fling and Autumn Serenade are now accepted together with I'll Buy That Dream and How Deep Is the Ocean as a four title session of 15oct45, since they appear as such on the Buddha CD "Duke's Joint". Several of these recordings have also turned up on other tapes in other combinations.
3. As to the ongoing discussion of when Sid Catlett was with the band: Is it now generally accepted that it was from Oct 8-13th 1945?
No the authors of the New DESOR have not (yet) accepted the corrections to be made for 10, 11 and 13oct45. About 8oct45 there is no doubt. Sid Catlett has been mentioned on the recording sheets.
Recently (10Dec05) Loren Schoenberg claimed in an e-mail that Sid Catlett also played in the broadcast of 15oct45. I am sure that he meant the 13oct45 broadcast.
This was his e-mail:
"I'm convinced that it's Catlett on 15oct45. On How Deep Is the Ocean, the fills, the cymbals, the rhythms are all typical Catlett, and certainly not Greer. Would like to hear opinions of others on this."
Duke Ellington Enigma Solved
See DEMS 05/3-33
Thank you for the voluminous Bulletin as always full of news and comments. I'm working on it with Giovanni and we are preparing a list of corrections to put into our discography.
We took a first look at "Duke Ellington Enigma Solved" (05/3-33): the articles are very interesting but we don't agree about the statement that Boogie Bop Blue is the same as Non Violent Integration, because, in our opinion, they are two completely different tunes. Non Violent Integration, on the other hand, is the same as Who Struck John (DE 4708 g).
1. The introduction plus Willie Smith's echo lasts for 5 bars, not 6 as Luciano and Giovanni suggest on page 738 of the New DESOR for 5128h. This would qualify it for a place in the brief 'Unusual Bar-Lengths' discussion on Duke-LYM last summer, but I suspect it may have to do with the 19 bars Walter van de Leur says were cut out of the manuscript score for this recording ("Something To Live For" p202). 5 + 19 = 24.
2. The 32-bar vocal chorus now runs from bar 16 to bar 47. But the final bar of the chorus is also the first bar of the 8-bar section with the trumpet solo, which thus runs from bar 47 to bar 54. This sort of running together is common enough in classical music but much less so in jazz where soloists expect clearly defined choruses. I suspect there are other examples of the device in Billy's work, though Walter's index doesn't help point me quickly towards any.
3. New DESOR ascribes the trumpet solo to Willie Cook. The discographical notes to vol. 4 of the CBS(F) 'Complete Duke Ellington 1947-52' box have Harold Baker. None of the early discussions of this session listed in Klaus Götting's 1997 index (supplement to DEMS Bulletin 97/2) relate to it and I can't recall it being mentioned in the Bulletin more recently. I wonder who is right.
Thank you for a very interesting remark about Azalea for the next DEMS Bulletin. I wonder how you came to the total of 24 bars. That means that the last of these 24 bars is the last bar of the first A part of the vocal. Is that true? If so I think we should indicate that, otherwise people might (like me) be lost a bit.
Walter writes of DE5128h, on p202 of "Something To Live For": 'a nineteen-bar instrumental section was cut. The order of the recording is at variance with the order suggested by the manuscript. The recording of June 10 1947 adheres to the original order.'
What I meant by 5+19=24 was that, by adding the 5-bar Introduction with Willie's echo to the 19-bar cut you turn two episodes of very unusual length into a much more usual 24-bar one. Of course, this is pure speculation on my part, as I haven't seen the manuscript, nor have I ever heard the 1947 Capitol version, DE4709e, which Walter tells us is not at variance with the manuscript. Whatever we may feel about Chester Crumpler's singing, it is a great shame that Azalea has always been omitted from LP and CD issues of these Transcriptions, and thus remains unavailable.
The early part of New DESOR's structural analysis of DE5128h should be corrected as follows:
If my speculation were correct, the 19-bar cut would come after Willie's bar and be followed by Billy's 6-bar theme-statement at the piano, which would thus start at bar 25. The vocal chorus 2° would then start 10 bars later, at bar 35. As we hear it on DE5128h, 2° starts at bar 16: 4+1+6+4=15, then the vocal chorus begins. The (4+1=) 5-bar length of the Introduction on DE5128h is a fact, and New DESOR's analysis needs correcting to reflect it. I hope this now makes sense.
The continuation of New DESOR's analysis also needs changing, to reflect the fact that the last bar of 2°LO is at the same time the first bar of 3°(nc)8WC. There is indeed a complete 32-bar chorus and an 8-bar part-chorus here. But there are 39 bars in total, not 40, from the start of the vocal chorus to the start of the coda. I think I've come across another running together of this sort somewhere, but I'd have to go back through my notebooks to find it.
The Capitol Transcription of Azalea from 10Jun47 has been released on the so called black label LP Jazz Supreme 102 together with the neglected Orchids for Madame. A copy of these two recordings is on its way to you. It is almost impossible to find a copy of this rare LP. By the way black label records should not have a suspect reputation. On the contrary. Instead of covering the most profitable parts of the market these releases are treasures for the small community of collectors as they are filling up red-taped gaps in their collections.
Billy Strayhorn — Piano Passion
See DEMS 05/3-50
I find it hard to believe that Storyville have reissued The Peaceful Side with the errors you mention uncorrected. I have it on a Capitol CD, published in 1996 and numbered CDP 7243 8 52563 2 5 (oh for the days of simple issue identification numbers!). It has a background note by David Hajdu, essentially his account in Lush Life, and it corrects some of the errors you mention. I wonder if E.Coates is Eric Coates, a well-known English composer of light music. It also restores the original mono sound from the electronically re-channelled stereo LP release. Is the Storyville issue in stereo or mono?
I ran a Google search on G.Wiskin, and the composer of the other Passion Flower is indeed Eric Coates. It worries me that Storyville are preparing CDs for issue without cross-checking mistakes of this sort, especially as the Capitol issue rectified it.
Thanks for following this up with Storyville. I now understand that the new issue appears in mono, as did the 1961 original, restored in the 1990s Capitol reissue; but that the personnel and composer credit errors of earlier issues, which David Hajdu corrected in the Capitol notes, have regrettably been perpetuated in the Storyville.
Bob Udkoff's Birthday Party
See DEMS 05/3-15
We have listened attentively to the "Amazing New Finds" recorded at Udkoff 's birthday party: the sound is surprisingly good and the whole session is very exciting.
Your description in the Bulletin is exhaustive and we mostly agree with your article except the following points:
Stompin' at the Savoy: the trumpet soloist, in our opinion, is Clark Terry rather than Benny Carter; we hear thesame soloist also in Happy Birthday.
Body and Soul: we do not agree that Benny Carter should be the soloist: we think, on the contrary, that it is Oliver Nelson.
Willow Weep for Me: the trumpet is probably Cootie Williams and there are two tenor saxophones, one of them is Paul Gonsalves.
I've just been reading the new DEMS Bulletin and it was fascinating as always. I'd love to get a copy of the 3 CDs of the Udkoff birthday party despite your concerns about the sound. I'm particularly interested because of your mention that the band doesn't use their normal charts. One of the 2 times I saw EKE (in April 1965) there was a party atmosphere (though it was in a nightclub) and EKE took requests from the audience often of songs which the band did not often play. Duke would play a chorus or so on the piano and then one instrument would join in and finally the whole band would play a simple head arrangement. I'd like to hear another example.
Thank you for the copies on CD. I think that the soloist on Body and Soul is Oliver Nelson and not Benny Carter.
Irv Jacobs is looking for a few rare
While not as active as in the past, I still attempt to collect all the "tributes" to the Duke by other artists. Many CDs have limited distribution and I really have to inquire at various sources to find a particular scarce item. For example I am searching for:
Putte Wickman & Ernie Wilkins 'Plays Duke Ellington' Gazell GAFCD-1084
Dave Pell 'Plays Duke Ellington' Group 7 G7CD-1716
These are obscure items, but I hope to locate them sooner or later.
You can still contact me at my e-mail address email@example.com
Duke's Music by other artists …
See DEMS 05/3-60
Below are additions to my list in DEMS Bulletin 05/3 Dec. 2005 - March 2006 of recordings by other artists of Duke Ellington material 1923 - 1939:
Mooche, The — Leo Reisman (with Bubber Miley) — 1929-03 — Vitaphone short No. 770. — CD: Vintage Music VMP 0161. *
It Don't Mean A Thing — The Three Queens (tap-dance with orchestra accompaniment) — 1934 — Vitaphone short No. 1761. *
Showboat Shuffle — Jo Bouillon et son orchestre — 1936-12-17, Paris, F — CPT 3036-1. — CD Jazz de Scene 1931 - 1941 Vol. 2, EMI 252 708-2.
Solitude — Jo Bouillon et son orchestre — 1936-12-17, Paris, F — CPT 3039-1. — CD Jazz de Scene 1931 - 1941 Vol. 2, EMI 252 708-2.
Thanks to Remco Plas, Haarlem, The Netherlands for the information about the two Jo Bouillon recordings.
I was interested to see the reference to Mood Indigo by Joe
Daniels and his Hot Shots (1939-05-09), in Bjarne's monumental
contribution. My mother brought me this 78 rpm from the school in
which she was teaching at the time in around 1958, where it was about
to be thrown into the dustbin. I still have it somewhere, in a box in
The complete Columbia 1947 - 1952 recordings on CD.
There are two versions. The first one contains 5 CDs and has been released by CBS in so called jewel cases. The booklets also show the Jazzotheque logo. This series contains the same recordings as on the 6 LP set (CBS 66607/A-L) with the exception of "Controversial Suite" but including "Masterpieces by Ellington". The numbers on the CBS CDs are vol. 2 CBS 462986 2, vol. 3 CBS 462987 2, vol. 4 CBS 462988 2 en vol. 5 CBS 462989 2. Volume 1 has probably the number 462985 2.
The second version contains 4 CDs, released by Columbia, with a mention of Sony. The CDs are in cardboard sleeves. This series has "Controversial Suite" and the alternate take of Maybe I Should Change My Ways. Missing are now "Liberian Suite" and "Masterpieces by Ellington".
From the first version (CBS series) I do not have vol. 1 (with 18 tracks, H'ya Sue - Sultry Serenade) but from the second version (Columbia series) I only have vol. 1 (with 20 tracks, H'ya Sue - Stomp, Look and Listen). The catalogue number on the back of the box of the Columbia Volume 1 is 486642 2. The CD itself carries number LC 1610. I have never found other volumes. The copyright is in both cases 1989.
I found in Jerry Valburn's "Duke Ellington on Compact Disc" (1993) that Columbia in France has released the same 5 CD set as on CBS (France) with the same contents and with the same numbers. The Columbia 4 CD set in Jerry Valburn's manuscript for his new updated "Duke Ellington on Compact Disc" (from which he mailed a copy of the relevant information to DEMS) is mentioned but under another set of numbers as a French release: 486642 2; 486643 2; 486644 2; 486645 2. On Volume 1 is indeed a second take of Maybe I Should Change My Ways, but the title You Gotta Crawl Before You Walk is missing. I would like to know if this is indeed the case. It could be a typing error by Jerry and he should know if that is the case. It is also important to establish the correct take numbers of the two takes of Maybe I Should Change My Ways. If you hear Chester Crumpler singing the recording is from 14Aug47; if you hear Ray Nance on trumpet, the recording is from 1oct47, but if you hear Ray on violin, the recording is from 6oct47. On the CBS 5 CD set (and on the 6 LP set) the recording is from 6oct47. This is wrong in Jerry's manuscript. It would be nice to have this confirmed and sent to him as a suggested correction. The number LC 1610 is not mentioned in his manuscript.
I have the 5CD set in jewel boxes as Remco describes it, and can confirm that vol.1 does have the number 462985 2. What is irritating is the fact that CBS dropped the Controversial Suite from this compilation, since 4 of the 5 CDs offer each 55 minutes of music – there is much more than enough leftover space to accommodate the "Controverail Suite." Also, what a shame it is that the company, however it styles itself, releases this material over and again with arbitrary additions and deletions. What we need is a ‘tidying up’ CD to rectify the glaring omissions from and discrepancies between both issues, and to include the more significant alternate takes such as The Clothed Woman in its 4-minute version, uncropped-for-78 issue.
Surely the switch from CBS to Sony Columbia simply reflects the fact that the Japanese company bought out the American one some years ago?
Klaus Stratemann's "Duke Ellington —
Day by Day and Film by Film"
I finally managed to locate another error in Dr. Stratemann´s book: Page 524, the photo of Lena Horne & the Duke: the correct date should be December 26, 1965 (and not 1956).
Dusk on the Desert
See DEMS 05/3-37
As for the Dusk in the Desert debate, I guess David Berger has put me in my place! There's nothing like having the primary source material on your side. It is an amazing accomplishment by Brown. The difficulty of it is reflected in the fact that he doesn't really sound quite "like himself."
I have just installed a new software, Sonogram, to get those sound spectrograms [to analyse the solo in Dusk on the Desert]. The software looks promising, but has also ended in a total PC crash a couple of times. I will send you the results later on after I have gained some more experience using it.
"Duke Ellington" by David Bradbury
See DEMS 05/3-17
You're right of course; the photo on page 130 does not date from 1974. From Duke's jacket I would say it is around 1965, and probably in Munich on 11 or 12 February. Compare the photos in Stratemann, page 504; Music Is My Mistress, page 437; and World of DE (Macmillan London edition), plate 26 opp. page 209.
You are also right that I read the script before publication, as David had asked. But unfortunately I didn't receive it until the weekend before the Monday of the publishers' final deadline. So I read it too late to be able to prevent Trumpet All Out. Thus, the accuracy of the detail is nothing to do with me. It's to do with the fact that David is a good writer and diligent researcher.
As for Duke looking young in a 1974 photo. No way. I have a picture of him coming back from Europe and it shows a very frail man. He lost much weight and started to deteriorate in about 1970. Twice when I was on the road, I should have overruled him and call an ambulance. I remember once he asked me to meet him in Utica. He called later and said "I changed my mind, you better come here because I might need a nurse." He was so sick I stayed up all night watching his respiration while he slept.
John or Johnny
See DEMS 05/3-30
I haven't finished reading the entire DEMS Bulletin yet, but can answer one question, how Johnny Hodges used to sign his name. I checked my subsequent band members who also autographed the same photo such as Taft Jordan and Jimmy Hamilton. As for Hodges, it is clear that he signed his name "Johnny Hodges" at that time.
George Jean: the "unknown" Ellingtonian.
I have had the pleasure of getting in contact with Larry Jean, son of trombonist George Jean.
George Jean was one of Duke Ellington's substitute sidemen. On occasions Duke had to draw on the local musician's union for certain abilities. Since George Jean was already a semi-famous trombonist, he replaced John Sanders on occasion, especially when Duke was in the Midwest. The album covers often did not reflect such changes, i.e., "Duke Ellington '55" featured George Jean, not John Sanders, who was ill with the 'flu.
Before he died in 2000, his sons had asked him about the bands with whom he played; he had, by that time, forgotten many of them.
He started playing piano primarily and occasionally, trombone, B-flat cornet and percussion in a local dance band (The West Side Orchestra, Dayton, OH) at age 9, the only child playing with adults. He played trombone and trumpet in the Roosevelt high school band, Dayton, OH. When he was 18, in 1929, he went on the road with an unknown band as a trumpet/cornet player.
Somewhere along the way, he began playing with the Hank Biagini Band, which became the Glen Gray / Casa Loma Orchestra when Hank died. George Jean and Glen Gray both vied for leadership, but Glen won; the others thought Glen could get better gigs. I think they were right, at the time. Again, somewhere along the way, George played for Glen, Freddy Martin, and a bunch of others. He formed his own band in 1942, but all the members got drafted, individually (not as a band). He returned to Freddy Martin, and eventually played as a studio musician for the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) doing The Breakfast Club With Don McNeil, under Eddi Ballantine.
When Don McNeil retired, George Jean played for a few more years at ABC, but it was boring. Then he moved to Las Vegas, doing the MGM Grand until he retired.
He had a stroke in 1996, and his old buddies said that he could play piano better with one hand, in a wheel chair, than most folks could in good health. Bit thick, but good for him to hear.
Larry Jean tells his father knew very nearly everyone in the business, and many of them would stop by when they were in town. There were many impromptu jam sessions at the Jeans' house.
On our LP Ellington "55" (French Capitol CTTX 240 814) it is not John Sanders who is wrongly credited, but Juan Tizol. On 21Dec53 the correct name of the third trombonist is Alfred Cobbs. On 28 and 29Dec53, on 1, 2 and 17Jan54 it was indeed George Jean. This is acknowledged in the New DESOR and obviously on the most recent release on the Mosaic 5 CD box set (see DEMS 97/3-20). George Jean is also acknowledged in Timner and in Kurt Dietrich's book "Duke's 'Bones" (p214).
Ellington on film in 1925?
Here's something exciting, a possibility of Duke Ellington being filmed in 1925. I found this reference in the 13Jun25 issue of the Philadelphia Tribune in the "News of Interest Around New York" column. Although no writer was credited in this issue, the column was written by J.A. "Billboard" Jackson, and distributed to African American newspapers through the A.N.P. news service. It contains this intriguing paragraph:
"Johnnie Hudgins, the Kentucky club band and four girls from the club Alabam have been filmed in the Rue La Paix scene in a feature film called Headlines being produced by the St. Regis Picture Corp."
I've discussed this with Steven Lasker who feels "the Kentucky club band" most likely refers to the Washingtonians.
Larry Appelbaum of the Library of Congress has confirmed that they do have a 35 mm print of "Headlines," but it is on nitrate stock. The film cannot be viewed until it is preserved. Larry added that hopefully the film will be preserved and accessible to researchers in 2006.
Ellington on film in 1933
Mark Cantor has pointed me to a brief bit of film footage form the Cotton Club 1933. You can view it by going to britishpathe.com, and then search for Ellington. You have to fill out your name, but you don't have to pay. The quality is grainy. It does contain the sound. I just talked with Steven Lasker - this is the first time he has hear d the sound to this film, which is described on page 57 of Klaus Stratemann's book "Day by Day and Film by Film".
See DEMS 01/1-18/1: "A short and silent Ellington Movie". The 01/1 Bulletin has been recently put on this web-site.
I revisited this incredible web-site last night and realized there are TWO shorts with work by Duke. The second does not have sound. It is a newsreel entitled Harlem, and runs a little over 6 minutes. It includes the 44 second clip that is available separately under the title of "A Minute With Duke Ellington." There are great scenes of the band. I talked with Steven Lasker, he is convinced that this is the film described in the January 1931 "Film Daily." He is going to do some more research and see if he can pinpoint the date of the filming.
News from Darmstadt's Jazz-Institut
Just wanted to advise you that we updated the Ellington bibliography on our web-site. It now contains articles, books and essays from 1923 up to 2005, also containing articles in which Ellington is prominently mentioned, blindfold tests in which an Ellington item was played and Down Beat news items referring to local activities in the bigger American cities. Again, this listing is far from complete, it is an ongoing labour indexing our archive. Still it may prove a helpful tool for Ellington researchers. You can search the pages by using the search tool of your web browser. The Ellington bibliography can be accessed through our web-site: <http://www.jazzinstitut.de> then go to the English web-site, scroll down to "Jazz Index / Duke Ellington".
I have just got hold of something unique - an unissued recording of Mingus' 1957 composition The Clown performed by Duke and his orchestra in 1969.
"This event took place at Zellerbach Auditorium, University of California, Berkely, CA. on the night of 29 September 1969. The Ellington concert at the University of California came as the high point of a two-day celebration of Ellington's music. It had started the day before, with lectures by Stanley Dance, Gunther Schuller, and John Lewis, among others, and a concert by the Charles Mingus group. Ellington's female vocalist on this occasion was Kathy Myers, who had joined just eight days earlier. She was gone before the next tour. Victor Gaskin joined permanently as bassist at this point, playing alongside Paul Kondziela." (Thanks, David Palmquist.)
"There was Duke's on-stage announcement (when, according to Sue Mingus as quoted in my book - I think - Mingus had become suddenly shy about the idea of his piece being performed by his hero and was hiding up in the balcony, to avoid being called to go on stage." ( Thanks, Brian Priestley, now I have to buy another of your books!)
"The arrangement of The Clown may have been written by Jaki Byard. As I recall Sue telling me, the details/expenses were taken care of by Ellington's "office". Evidently, Hodges - or was it Cootie - refused to play the piece. Can they be heard on the recording?" (Thanks, Andrew for pointing this out)
"--an event that brought Charles back into music after he'd retired. There's quite a story connected to that performance. Don't know who made the tape, but I think it's on file at the Library of Congress-- it seems to me someone once gave me a copy." (Sue Mingus)
I also received an audio clip of an interview with Mingus explaining some of the reasons for his absence; he wasn't sure Duke would play his stuff, Duke had only two-three trumpets ready. That supports Andrew's statement.
Hodges seems to be absent, Procope is playing lead alto. The trumpet section sounds unusually thin most of the time. Probably Cootie was present, but played only when he felt like it. Not the first time he did so. Sounds like Cat took care of the tricky trumpet parts. One more thing; the audience is starting to laugh when Duke begins his narrative. After they have finished playing and Duke has called out for Mingus, he says: "Take it off". Did Duke put on a clown's mask specially for this?
"Duke was definitely not wearing a mask. Charles was not "shy" as Brian Priestley says. He knew that a lot of Duke's sidemen did not want to play the piece because it was hard -- some of them even turned their backs on Duke -- and Charles was not about to go on stage in that situation. That's what I remember. I didn't know there was an interview."
Anyway, this is really something extraordinary, the music is absolutely fantastic and Duke the storyteller: elegant as always.
David Palmquist found his text in Klaus Stratemann's book on page 593. It is also mentioned in MIMM on page 297.
There is a recording of this concert in the Smithsonian Collection, made by Robert Wong, Dick Patterson and Butch Cardiasmenos.
Thanks for your contribution. Do not send me the music and/or the interview. I have both.
Dear Luciano Massagli,
Somebody in the Duke-LYM group has found a copy of the recording of The Clown, 29Sep69. I looked in Volume 2 of the New DESOR for a description. I saw only dots. I sent you on 29Mar96 a copy of this recording. I wonder why you didn't make a description. Do you need another copy?
We think that the main part of it is the narration, the music being only a background. We have described this title in the same way as we did with Monologue.
Thanks for mentioning that passage in MIMM. I have overlooked that one. Do you also have the Mingus "interview"? It was done with a hidden tape recorder, Sue is positive that there never was an interview, and it is obvious that Mingus (and Sue later on) was not aware of the presence of a tape recorder.
Another thing I find interesting; there is a striking resemblance between The Clown and Duke's own Fife recorded a month later. Probably Duke got his "waltz-inspiration" from Mingus' composition.
The next Storyville CDs
This is the answer I got from Mona when I enquired when DETS 13 was to be issued. (See DEMS 05/3-46)
I cannot give you an exact date for Vol. 13 of Treasury. We are planning a re-launch of the Storyville label for this Spring and we will not release anything before the Autumn as we are planning a new series called MASTERS OF JAZZ - 12 CDs with among others Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday.
Bjarne Busk of Storyville told us at the international Ellington conference in Stockholm ( May 2004) that Storyville was planning to release about 10 high quality Ellington CDs, consisting mostly of previously unissued material. Since the conference, Storyville issued "Duke Ellington - The Piano Player." In my view, this CD contains among the best recorded examples of Ellington's piano artistry and is overall a "five star" CD. Unfortunately, the CD has not received much attention and the distribution is not the greatest. I have rarely seen the CDs in the stores, including those with large jazz selections such as J&R in NYC. I ordered my copy online.