DUKE ELLINGTON MUSIC SOCIETY
06/2 August - November 2006
Our 28th Year of Publication.
FOUNDER: BENNY AASLAND
Voort 18b, 2328 Meerle, Belgium
Telephone: +32 3 315 75 83
Jack Fallon, the bassist who headed the trio that accompanied Duke Ellington, Ray Nance and Kay Davis on their tour through Europe in July 1948, died in London on 22May 2006. He was 90 years old and had survived his wife by two years after 47 years of marriage. Kay Davis is now the only surviver of this group. Steve Voce wrote a lengthy obituary for the Independent of 26 May 2006, which was "published" on the Duke-LYM list. Tony Crombie (the drummer) died in London on 8 October 1999 (see DEMS 2000/1-2); Malcolm Mitchell (the guitar player) died in Bognor Regis on 9 March 1998 (see DEMS 98/2-4). We have met and listened to the trio in Leeds at the Ellington Conference in May 1997. Among all of the other great happenings brought to us by these Ellington Conferences are the memorable opportunities to meet and to honor people who have played with Ellington. It was a great pleasure to see how these three musicians enjoyed being together again with Kay Davis and taking part in a panel discussion about their 1948 tour. Derek Else reported in "Blue Light" from the first quarter of 2006 that he found an article on page 13 of his copy of Jazz UK of March/April 2006 concerning Jack Fallon, written by Peter Vacher. Peter wrote: "I found him to be a gentleman; genial and not given to too much talk. He just got on with the job and easily coped with any number that was thrown at him. A true professional."
We found in the June 2006 edition of the Newsletter of the Toronto Chapter 40 of the Duke Ellington Society the sad news that we have lost Marion Pilkington, the widow of Art Pilkington. She died 29May06. She is survived by a son and daughter, five grandchildren and a great grandchild. Marion attendeded with her husband almost every Ellington Conference. She made many friends in our Ellington community. Since not everybody receives the Toronto Newsletters, we figured that we should mention this loss in DEMS Bulletin. Many spouses of attendees went shopping and sightseeing during the daytime presentations. Not Marion. She always stayed with Art, sometimes with her knitting. Those of you who knew her will certainly share with us the best memories of this delightful lady.
Indeed I share those happy memories, Sjef. Marion and Art were, along with Gail and Jack Buckley, and Setsuko and Gerry Lazare, all from Toronto, among my very first Ellington friends from the Oldham conferences of the 1980s.
The Next Duke Ellington Conference
A note to our international friends, we have not forgotten you and the idea of hosting a TDES International Conference. Our concern is still seed money. It is extremely hard to come by. Hotel prices here are at an all-time high, but somewhere there must be a venue that will serve us. We just have to find it.
Ray Carman, president of the New York Chapter of the Duke Ellington Society.
CODA's cover story
Look out for the August edition of CODA. It has a cover story by Jack Chambers titled "Duke Ellington's Parallel Universe."
We haven't seen it yet, but by the time this Bulletin is on-line you may want to look for it (if you do not have a subscription). Jack Chambers wrote a very interesting article about Duke's Shakespearean Suite in Bulletin 05/1-43.
I have just purchased the 10 CD set "Duke Ellington" Documents 222920, (Disc numbers 321/A-321/J) a division of Membrane Music.
It is identical to the CD set on the Past Perfect (Germany) titled "Duke Ellington Portrait" with the label number 20-4240-PP. The 10 CDs are individually numbered from 20-4241-PP until and including 20-4250-PP. The release has been mentioned in Jerry Valburn's column in DEMS Bulletin 99/4-31.
The set covers issued takes from Dinah's in a Jam (11Apr38) through to the collaboration between Duke and Woody Herman's C-Jam Blues (16Jan47), a total of 198 tracks. The sound is quite good, but how many times and ways are the record companies going to churn out the same material in different disguises?
If anybody would like to have this superfluous set, please let me know.
Lance Travis email@example.com
Ten years ago, DEMS lost its founder, Benny Aasland, and I lost my best friend. It might seem to be an exaggeration to say that he was my best friend. Other very dear friends may question my statement since Benny and I only met a few times and lived very far apart. Benny is my best friend simply because he opened for me a world full of other good friends with whom I could share what was and still is my dearest and longest dedication in life: Duke's music.
My Swedish friends have asked me to write some words for the DESS Bulletin which will be dedicated to Benny and which had to appear before you read these words in DEMS Bulletin. Because it is difficult, I only write these words once for both Bulletins. Thanks to my Swedish friends who insisted that I should try to continue the publication of Benny's DEMS Bulletin, I can now say that I am proud of having kept alive for the past ten years, Benny's creation. I am very good at following in other people's footsteps. I followed in my father's, in printing card board and paper packages. When Benny died, I couldn't accept that this would also be the end of DEMS Bulletin. One can praise me for what I achieved in the past ten years. Thank you very much, but believe me, to have created the DEMS Bulletin in the first place is something else.
Benny was a creator pur sang. He is still and will always be the one who for the first time published a discography, dedicated to only one musician: "The Wax Works of Duke Ellington" in 1954. It has been (and still is indirectly) the base of all following Ellington discographies. So much so that it took quite some time before some of the very few mistakes in Benny's discography which were copied by later discographers were corrected.
One of the advantages of publishing the Bulletin on Peter MacHare's web-site is the fact that we have many more readers than before and that one of Benny's dearest wishes, to have the Bulletin free for everybody, has come about. Not long ago a complete stranger asked me the following question: "For my father's 65th birthday, I am trying to find the song he used to dance to when he was but two years old. Unfortunately, I do not know the name of the song, only that it was on the flip side of an LP record of Mood Indigo by Ellington. My question of course is if you would be able to help me uncover the name of this song.
I would be most obliged for any assistance you can render." After some correspondence about the unlikelihood of his father having heard an LP 63 years ago, the date of father's dance was confirmed as being 1943. This opened the possibility to use Benny's Wax Works to search for the recording. Benny gave for each 78 rpm record the recording on the flip side. There were only 4 possible recordings of Mood Indigo, but that resulted in a total of 12 possible recordings on the flip side. Couplings could be different in different countries and on other labels. All that information can still be found in Benny's Wax Works! We have made a CD with these 16 recordings and we are curious to hear if the song in question will be detected.
The greatest creation however of Benny is the DEMS Bulletin. Long before there was anything like the present Duke-LYM list, the Bulletin was the first possibility for collectors to discuss matters of interest with each other. When I met Benny for the first time, I asked him why he did not give us a list of addresses of all members so that we could contact each other without bothering him for printing our questions and answers in the Bulletin. He answered that this would be completely against his intentions. He wanted that everybody who was interested would benefit from reading other people's questions and answers. He was so right! And as long as DEMS Bulletin is published in print or on the web-site, Benny's name will be on the front page as the founder of the Duke Ellington Music Society. I couldn't find a better way to pay tribute to him than by continuing the publication of his greatest creation.
There are again a few New Finds to report.
We have made some exchanges with Len Pogost (not an old DEMS member, but someone who found us on the Internet). We received from him an audio recording made in Manila on 20Jan72 at the Cultural Center with the National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Mr Romero. It contains two movements of "Night Creature": Blind Bug and Stalking Monster and an Ellington Medley with (intro to) Mood Indigo; Don't Get Around Much Anymore; Mood Indigo; I'm Beginning To See the Light; Sophisticated Lady and Caravan.
From DEMS member Lance Travis, we received two short promo's, spoken by Duke for March of Dimes of 1953. No location and no date are established, but it is definitely not mentioned in the New DESOR. Between both promo talks the record V.I.P. Boogie is played. That record was made in 1951 and the talks were made for 1953. We have put for the time being the recording of these promo's in 1952.
A much more interesting find came also from Lance: Duke playing Single Petal of a Rose on 2Aug65. The date is clearly mentioned in the talk (6:12, by Joey Bishop with Skitch Henderson and with Duke), preceding the performance (2:35). The text of the "Musician of the Year" Award, which Duke received earlier that day from the mayor of the City of New York (see the New DESOR 6547) was read in this Johnny Carson Show. (Johnny Carson was replaced by Joey Bishop, as happened many times on a Monday like this).
"SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME"
The Life and Music of Ben Webster, by Frank Büchmann-Möller
University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, ISBN-13:978-0-472-11470-2
369 pages, 31 photos, USA price $38,00
Writing a biography of Ben Webster is not the easiest of challenges in the field of telling life-stories of the great Jazz Giants. The reason lies in the split life of "The Frog", starting from 1909 until late 1964 in the USA, and its continuation in Europe until his death in Amsterdam in 1973.
The obstacles that arise in collecting details and information for such undertakings are obvious when you consider the absence of extensive biographies of such important expatriates as Don Byas, Bill Coleman and Kenny Drew, to name only a few.
Significantly, writing a biography of Ben Webster has been the goal of two Europeans, both from the two countries where Ben had his domicile for the last 9 years of his life. The first one was published in Dutch in 1992, "In A Mellow Tone" by the Dutchman Jeroen de Valk, translated into English and published as late as 2001, under the title "Ben Webster — His Life and Music".
Among the merits of this excellent work are the thorough research into Ben’s family’s origin and the detailed description of his life as a musician as well as a human being in Europe, stressing his stay in The Netherlands.
The second work just published is by the Dane Frank Büchmann-Möller named "Someone To Watch Over Me", and this is in fact an excellent follow-up to the first one. One can hardly think of a more competent writer for this book than the author. Among his numerous merits as a Jazz writer are the supreme biography of Lester Young called "You Just Fight For Your Life", published in 1990, and this new Webster book is at least of the same class.
Frank Büchmann-Möller is the custodian of the Ben Webster Collection in Odense/Denmark and furthermore he is an active free-time Jazz musician, playing — well, just the tenor saxophone. His profession as a librarian and his knowledge of Jazz in theory as well as in practice enable him to do the research and the assessment of Ben’s life and music in a perfect way.
The contents of the book are an attractive mixture of well-researched facts, professional analyses of the musical works by Ben, and many new anecdotes and other stories which were supplied by numerous persons interviewed by Büchmann-Möller for the first time; the research and the interviews were done in the USA as well as in Europe.
The author has investigated every possible source to collect details of Webster’s musical activities from 1925 to 1973, and a complete list will be made available on the internet by the University of Michigan Press.
Büchmann-Möller has had the opportunity to listen to nearly all known recordings by Ben, and the most important recordings, commercial as well as private, are analysed in a really professional way, attractive to musical experts as well as to those who just have ears to listen to the music. The quintessence of this analysis is to me that Ben from the start until his last recorded concert played in an unusually consistent way all the time, never playing really poorly even on his worst nights.
The author also took the opportunity to interview many people about their connections to Ben, among them Harold Ashby, Benny Carter, Al Casey, Billy Taylor, Clark Terry, Ed Thigpen, to name only a few from the list of 46 persons, musicians as well as friends, promoters and even the last girlfriend of Ben, Birgit Nordtorp. The fruits of these interviews are not only the new facts that come to light for the first time here, but also a lot of new stories and anecdotes. Most Jazz people for instance do not know much about Ben’s skills as a piano player not only in the Twenties, when he started out playing the piano before being attracted to the sax, but also later on subbing occasionally for Duke Ellington on the stage. In the book you can read the story about the cinema in Kansas City, looking for a piano player for silent movies in 1927 with both Ben and Count Basie searching for the job, guess who got it — Ben! And when he did his first recordings in 1931 with Blanche Calloway, he had played the saxophone just for only two years. Many things have been told and reported about the famous Jam Session in Kansas City in December 1933 with Coleman Hawkins meeting all the KC tenor players at the Cherry Blossom. In this book you may read a new version of what really happened there; it was by no means such a tremendous competition between the Hawk and the others as we have been told, as far as Count Basie remembers the night. And so at last, we hear the truth of the circumstances of Ben’s leaving Ellington in August 1943, as told by himself to a close friend in Copenhagen; it was more horrible than you could imagine.
In general, this book contains a lot of new facts, new competent analyses of Ben’s music, many new stories, and also some hitherto unpublished photos, altogether making it pleasant reading. A register at the end containing song titles, musicians, places and other names is well done, I could not find a single fault in it or in the whole book. Highly recommended!
Larry Gushee "Pioneers of Jazz"
I highly recommend a relatively new book by Larry Gushee, "Pioneers of Jazz," about the Creole Jazz Band, who in the 1910's took the New Orleans style of jazz around the US on the vaudeville circuit. The Creole Band (their best-know member was Freddie Keppard) is almost invisible in most of the jazz histories I have read. Gushee's book is a masterpiece of scholarship, filling in an unknown chapter of history, and the book is beautifully written.
No references to Duke, of course, who was a teenager at the time, but Ellington fans (especially early Ellington) will love this book.
DVD Columbia Tristar E-10071
"Anatomy of a Murder"
This DVD contains the complete long version (154 min.) of the Otto Preminger film from 1959, described in Klaus Stratemann's "Duke Ellington Day by Day and Film by Film" starting at page 403 (see also the New DESOR 5918/5920). My DVD came from Italy and has area code 2, which means that it can only be played in Europe, the Middle East, Japan and South Africa. A nice feature is the fact that at the start of the DVD one has the choice of a language between Italian, English, French, Spanish and German. The complete soundtrack contains pieces and parts of pieces which were missing on previously released material like Duke's four piano-solo's, on the other hand the latest release on CD (Columbia CK-65569, see 99/5-15) contains music that was not used for the soundtrack. To be even more complete one would also need the second release of the CD Laserlight 15753 (03/1-21/2) for an alternate take of Happy Anatomy. There is still one selection missing: Flirtibird Down, recorded 1Jun59 and mentioned in the recording report (99/5-16).
DVD IMPRO-Jazz IJ-509
"Berlin Concert 1969"
This DVD contains the same selections as the VHS tape VIDJAZZ 8 (91/3-4) in colour from Berlin 8Nov69. The selection Don't Get Around Much Anymore was previously "released" on the DVD Jazz Door JD-11023 (05/2-16). On the Jazz Door DVD it was claimed that all the selections were recorded in Berlin in 1969. That was only true for this selection, Don't Get Around Much Anymore.
The second part of this DVD contains recordings made in Amsterdam on 2Nov58 in black and white. The last time this video recording was mentioned in DEMS was on 99/3-7. It revealed that there was a more complete tape. That tape included the opening Take the "A" Train; Kinda Dukish and Rockin' in Rhythm; Things Ain't What They Used To Be and the closing Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue. For Christmas 1990, DEMS "released" a (audio) cassette (Azure CA-13) with among others the additional titles Tenderly; Perdido; Sophisticated Lady and the complete Medley, that is to say including the title Just Squeeze Me.
DVD IMPRO-Jazz IJ 510
"London Concert 1964"
The "London Concert" is the same as the well-known video recording made by the BBC on 20Feb64 as first telecast in the series "Jazz 625" (at the occasion of the start of the station of BBC 2; 625 being the number of lines on the European PAL screen.)
Our video tape from BBC 2 also contained the starting theme Take the "A" Train. We do not know if this was indeed excluded from this DVD. Often these short selections have not been mentioned in the liner notes in spite of the fact that they are included, to escape from the obligation to pay royalties for the title. One thing is for sure, the first selection, Perdido is from the so called version 2, which is different from what was found on the CD MusicMasters 518446-2 (see DEMS 97/2-13/2). Something went wrong and the first two selections of the programme (Take the "A" Train and Perdido) were recorded again.
The second part of the DVD contains a few selections from the very poorly (video) recorded afternoon session at Zürich on 9oct59. These are well known among audio and video tape collectors but actually never officially released as now has been accepted by the New DESOR. The New DESOR never referred to tapes in any form as legitimate releases. That means that many recordings, which we already have on video tape, will now and in the future be documented as first released on DVDs. We see now the same thing happen as we saw (and still see) with CDs. As soon as one release is out, many other labels make copies under their own name.
I have just bought both DVDs, "Berlin 1969" and "London 1964" from <cd.connection.com> . They have the lowest prices ($ 16.43), both for America as for Europe. Customs may vary from country to country. Mailing expenses are very reasonable. I paid $ 6.61 for the mailing of both DVDs together. The DVDs are in the NTSC system but they have area code "0" which means that they can be played over the whole world.
Go to: http://www.cdconnection.com/bin/nph-search?target=duke+ellington&config=dv&s=He5vIPDzKI2r
Milo van den Assem
DVD Fastforward Music Ltd, Ipswich, UK (2005)
SIGNDVD 003, (Barcode: 5 022508 003616)
"Duke Ellington Quartet [sic] in Concert"
This DVD contains only the trio recordings made at the studio of TV-Byen on 23Jan67, which in total add up to only 31'21"! This trio session was previously released on DVD Quantum Leap 0249 (03/2-4) and on DVD Planet Song 8627 (04/3-7). Both of those DVDs also included the small group (octet) session from the same day at the same location.
Milo van den Assem
DVD Image Entertainment (2005)
ID9551DNDVD, (Barcode 014381 9551 25)
"The Intimate Duke Ellington"
This DVD is identical to the DVDs Quantum Leap 0249 (03/2-4) and Planet Song 8627 (04/3-7), see also 06/2-13.
The liner-notes are by Scott Yanow, who mentions the octet first, followed by the trio. The authors of the New DESOR do not believe that this is the correct sequence. They mentioned the correct sequence in their correction for page 458 in the column DESOR Small Corrections in DEMS Bulletin 00/3-26. The trio came first, followed by the octet (see also 00/1-5).
Milo van den Assem
DVD Video Artists International (USA) VAI DVD 4358
Duke Ellington Montréal 1964
NTSC 63 min. UPC code: 00089948435891
SKU: 202646113. Area code 1, only USA and Canada.
This is the complete program of 20Apr64 at the Casa Loma Club.
Boo-Dah; Take the "A" Train; Afro-Bossa; Perdido; Never on Sunday; Happy Reunion; Wailing Interval; Caravan; Banquet Scene; Things Ain't What They Used To Be; Skillipoop; The Prowling Cat; Medley: Satin Doll, Solitude, Don't Get Around Much Anymore, Mood Indigo, I'm Beginning To See the Light, Sophisticated Lady, It Don't Mean a Thing, Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me, I Let a Song Go Out Of My Heart & Don't Get Around Much Anymore; Take the "A" Train.
This DVD is rather expensive. This seems to be the best address for Americans:
$ 19.95 plus $ 2.95 shipping. They only ship in the USA.
As soon as you can lay your hands on a copy (that you can play) buy one. Duke's solo in It Don't Mean a Thing in the Medley is unique.
Milo van den Assem and Sjef Hoefsmit
DVD news reported by Richard Ehrenzeller
Of all the DVDs that I will discuss, I have been informed that the reader will be less likely to find any other version of this movie for home use.
The movie "Change of Mind" can be purchased on DVD here: http://www.5minutestolive.com/2D/changeofmind.htm
Duke Ellington wrote this film's score and performs it in the movie. Bruce Kennan has informed me that the company that made the movie went out of business and who owns the copyright is a real question. Even if the visual quality of this DVD is poor, you may never get another chance to own this movie.
The movie "Paris Blues" has been legitimately released on video tape and there maybe a chance that it will be released on an authorized DVD. Right now, you can purchase it on a DVD here: http://www.cinemacom.com/DVD/paris-blues.html
I would appreciate it if someone who purchases it comments on its quality.
I visited both web-sites. "Change of Mind" is an NTSC code 0 DVD of 80 minutes for $ 14.99.
There were no specifics given on the "Paris Blues" web-site other than the name Euro International, Ltd. That makes me assume that this is at least code 2 (Europe, South Africa and Japan) or even better: code 0 (all over the world). The web-site shows several pictures taken from the film to convince you of the high quality. There is little reason to doubt the quality of "Paris Blues". The video tapes in circulation are perfect. I am more concerned about the quality of "Change of Mind". I am afraid that this may have come from a kinescope . This is mentioned: "Please note we do not sell factory release DVDs. All DVD-Rs are reproductions/conversions from public domain sources. No rights are given or implied." I advise you to wait until we have heard from Richard Ehrenzeller about this DVD in the New York TDES Newsletter, on the Duke-LYM list or in DEMS Bulletin. He has ordered and paid for his copy but has not yet received anything.
DVD Timex All-Star Jazz Show # 4 - The Golden Age of Jazz
7Jan59. Jackie Gleason MC.
Richard Ehrenzeller also reported the release of this DVD on the Duke-LYM list:
"Has anyone bought this DVD? http://www.jazzlegends.com/video_detail.cfm?id=22
I realise the quality will not be the greatest since the original is a kinescope."
Richard told me by the phone that the quality is rather poor, but that he is rather happy with the sound.
If the DVD has the same content as my video tape I can report that apart of the 8 selections played by the Ellington band there is great music by the Timex All-Stars: Roy Eldridge, Bobby Hackett, Vic Dickenson, Coleman Hawkins, Marty Napoleon, Milt Hinton, Gene Krupa and Jo Jones. Furthermore the Louis Armstrong All-Stars, the Dukes of Dixieland, the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, Dakota Staton and the George Shearing Quintet.
DVD IMPRO-Jazz IJ-506 (Barcode 8436028695065)
Ben Webster with the Oscar Peterson Trio
In Hannover, 1973 [sic]
We are reluctant to start another column titled DVD Ellingtonia. That's why we have included the following Ben Webster DVD in this chapter.
The correct location was the "Funkhaus" in Hannover and the correct date was 14Dec72.
Video tracks: Poutin'; Sunday; I Got It Bad; Perdido; Come Sunday; For All We Know; Cotton Tail.
Audio tracks: Ben's Blues; In a Mellow Tone.
Audio track with only the Oscar Peterson trio: Autumn Leaves.
Oscar brought with him Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Tony Inzalaco.
78 minutes in total, area code 0.
Milo van den Assem