| THE INTERNATIONAL|
DUKE ELLINGTON MUSIC SOCIETY
04/3 December 2004 - March 2005
26th Year of Publication
FOUNDER: BENNY AASLAND
Voort 18b, 2328 Meerle, Belgium
Telephone: +32 3 315 75 83
DISCUSSIONS - ADDITIONS - CORRECTIONS
When did Harry Carney join the band?
See DEMS 04/1, 31 page 1449.
Carney apparently gave two different dates in interviews. Jan Bruér (DEMS 80/1-1) notes he "made an interview with Carney where he claimed this date to be June 16, 1927."
According to DEMS 04/1-31 p1449, "Harry Carney joined the band on 26Jun27, not on 16Jun27. He made this statement in an interview with Bob Davis at the University of Northern Illinois, probably on 20Mar74. See also Frank Dutton in Storyville #91 p10" who wrote "Harry Carney stated that he joined Duke on a permanent basis on 16 June, and that his first date was a one-nighter (the Nuttings-on-the-Charles booking. FHD.) [Source: Bulletin du Hot Club de France 212]. However , since this took place in New England, either Carney's joining date or the starting date of Duke's tour (20 June) must be in error – or could a printing error be involved, with Carney starting on 26 June? It is generally agreed that the occasion took place during the last week in June, and establishment of the Nutting date would settle the matter."
In "Ellington: The Early Years," Mark Tucker presents (on page 203) an itinerary of the Washingtonians' summer 1927 tour of New England. The tour began with an engagement on 20Jun27 at Nuttings-on-the Charles, Massachusetts, which Tucker confirmed by reference to listings in the Boston Post. On 26Jun27, the band played the Olympia Theater in Lynn, Massachusetts, an engagement Tucker confirmed through the Lynn Daily Evening Item.
With the above in mind, here are some other quotes attributed to Carney that bearing on the question of when Harry joined the band:
down beat, 5Nov52, p16 (byline: Len [sic]): "Harry remembers the first night he played with Duke, at Nuttings-on-Charles, Mass. It happened to be a first night also for his high school colleague, Toots Mondello, who was debuting with Mal Hallett's orchestra, playing opposite Duke in a battle of music."
down beat, 27Nov58, p19 (no byline): "Carney, at 17, was a professional musician in the jazz heart of the world. He worked [with Henri Saparo and his Bamboo Inn Orchestra] at the Bamboo Inn until it burned down." The Bamboo Inn, located at Seventh Avenue & 139th Street, advertised itself as the "largest and finest Chinese and American restaurant in Harlem" with "good food" at "popular prices" and "no cover charge" (per Amsterdam News, 1Feb28, p9). "Then he just gigged around town, hearing the sounds and being dazzled by them. 'One day, I bumped into Duke on the street,' he said. 'He had been in and heard the band. He asked if I'd like to go to New England with him. He was a name to me then. I had seen him before I left Boston....Our first date was at Nuttings, opposite Mal Hallett's band. He had Toots Mondello and Gene Krupa...a heluva hand. We played a battle of music. It was the first time I ever worked with Tricky Sam and Bubber Miley and it was my greatest thrill.'"
Jazz Journal, Jun61, p5 (reprinted on pages 72-73 of the "World of Duke Ellington"; quotes are from Carney; byline Stanley Dance): "Duke was working at the Kentucky Club and on his night off he would come to the Bamboo Inn. The food was good, I was told, but I couldn't afford it, of course." According to the 1Feb28 Amsterdam News ad. just mentioned, "Special Sunday Dinner" at the Bamboo Inn was a whole dollar. "We thought we had a very good band and I worked there three months until the place burned down. Shortly after that, I bumped into Duke one afternoon on Seventh Avenue and he asked what I was doing. I told him I was just jobbing around and he asked me if I would like to go with him on a trip up to Boston. Of course. Boston was my hometown and I'd been away three months--three months away from homecooking and listening to my mother give me the devil--and I was a bit homesick. To return with Ellington, already famous, was something to look forward to, so I didn't hesitate to say 'yes.' That's how I joined the band, and we played up there during the summer for the Shribman brothers, Charlie and Sy, who gave and lent so much to up-and-coming bands at that time."
down beat, 7Jun62, p20 (byline Dom DeMichael): "While Carney was at the Bamboo Inn, Ellington often came in on his nights off to dine and listen to the band. After Carney had been at the restaurant for about three months, the place burned down. But he evidently had made an impression on Ellington. 'One day I bumped into Duke on the street,' Carney said. 'He inquired as to what I was doing. I told him I was jobbing around, gigging. That's when he made me the offer to join him. He was taking a band up to New England, which was my stomping ground. I'd been away from home long enough to be homesick, and it didn't take much for him to influence me to go back.' Still an altoist, Carney added baritone saxophone to his doubles during his first week with the band."
Le Point de Jazz #4, Mar71 (byline Georges Debroe): "Extrait d'une conversation avec [Harry Carney et] J. [Johnny] Simmen (BHCF)...'il s'agit d'un orchestre régulier (Joe Steele) que j'avais quitté en 1927 pour entrer chez Duke...L. Feather me fait entrer chez Duke en 1926, mais (et il rit) cette fois, je SAIS que c'est LUI qui se trompe.'"
The various quotes by Carney together with Mark Tucker's itinerary research lead me to believe that on 16Jun27 Harry Carney accepted Duke Ellington's invitation to join his band; Carney's first engagement with Ellington, a battle of the bands versus Mal Hallett at Nuttings-on-the-Charles, Massachusetts, took place on 20Jun27.
When did Ben Webster join the band?
See DEMS 03/2-29 p1502
I am reading Heinz Baumeister's contribution to The New DESOR corrections from DEMS 03/2-29. Heinz gives Ben's start date as 26Jan40 at the Roseland State Ballroom, and says " I found the date of 26Jan40 in several publications." I am curious what these publications are. Downbeat is ambiguous as to Ben's start date, and Jazz Information's story had a by-line dated 22Jan40.
Here is what I know and found out about the date when Ben Webster joined Ellington:
Webster was with Teddy Wilson's Big Band from 19oct39 till 20Jan40 at Golden Gate Million Dollar Ballroom, New York City. The band had a recording date for Columbia, mx.nos.26435-38, in NYC on 18Jan1940 (CD Classics 620). On 21Jan40 Duke Ellington had a booking just for one night only at the Savoy Ballroom in New York. The next booking in Boston was first on 26Jan at the Roseland State Ballroom (see a.o. Klaus Stratemann: Duke Ellington Day by Day and Film by Film, or Ken Vail:Duke's Diary 1927-1950)
Ben was contacted by Ellington's valet, Jonesy, most probably on 21Jan, asking him to meet Ellington at the Savoy about the upcoming job. It has sometime been stated that Webster joined Ellington at Roseland Ballroom (understood as that in New York), but this is by all means a mistake as Ellington did not play that ballroom while Webster was in the orchestra.
I am aware that there still are some speculations about the exact date, but all sources say that Ben joined Ellington at the Roseland State Ballroom in Boston - i.e. 26Jan40.
Thank you for this information. I agree that Ben Webster joined Duke Ellington's Orchestra following Teddy Wilson's closing at the Golden Gate Ballroom in New York.
1. Do you have any documentation on the closing date of Wilson's big band at the Golden Gate? I have thoroughly checked both the New York Age and the New York Amsterdam News, and have found no clear-cut documentation of the closing date. We do know, though, that Webster recorded with Wilson on 18Jan.
2. Duke Ellington and His Orchestra were in Boston at the RKO Theatre on 21Jan40, as advertised in that day's Boston Post, not at the Savoy Ballroom in New York. They performed in Portland, Maine on 22Jan. The next documented Ellington gig is the 26Jan date at the Roseland State Ballroom in Boston, where Heinz believes Webster to have joined the band. I don't understand what Heinz' sources are that say that Webster joined on 26Jan.
I suppose we all should accept the fact that with the information and documentation we now have, we will not be able to present proof of any exact date when Ben Webster joined Duke Ellington in January 1940. We should concentrate upon what could be most likely.
Now back to the facts:
1) Yes, I have found documentation for Teddy Wilson's stay at the Golden Gate Ballroom: The Pittsburgh Courier (N.Y.) has a note on 13Jan40 on Golden Gate Ballroom, saying: "Andy Kirk will leave as one of the house bands, Teddy Wilson remaining".
The band had a recording date on 18Jan in NYC, therefore it is my opinion that the band was there at least until 20Jan, as normally the gigs ended on Saturdays (20Jan was a Saturday).
2) Duke Ellington was at the Southland in Boston from 8Jan to 20Jan. I cannot imagine that Duke did send Jonesy from Boston to New York asking Ben to meet Duke in Boston. You may believe it, I do not.
3) Now to the crucial date of 21Jan. If you believe everything that is printed, Ellington performed this day in three different places:
a) RKO Boston (Boston Herald)
b) Savoy Ballroom NYC (Stratemann + Vail)
c) Golden Gate Ballroom - one-nighters on 7Jan and 21Jan (Pittsburgh Courier N.Y. 13Jan)
To me it sounds more likely that Duke actually contacted Ben in NYC and not in Boston, which leads me to 21Jan as the date, but of course I may be wrong, as possibly the Wilson Band had moved to Boston starting at an unidentified location from 21Jan. The NY Amsterdam News has a note about Wilson on 20Jan on a forthcoming Boston engagement.
It has been said in several sources that Ben joined Duke in Boston, but, do we have any proof of this? Anyway all sources say that Ben joined in Jan40, so we can nearly safely say that this happened between 22Jan and 26Jan.
Another unanswered question: Did Ben actually perform with Ellington in public directly from the start, or where there possibly some days between for rehearsing etc.? We all know that Duke had no written parts for tenor sax in the books, which of course made it very difficult for Ben in the very beginning. Therefore my vote is still for 26Jan, but of course I cannot prove it and I may be wrong.
Thanks very much for your correspondence. Heinz has been looking at the same sources I have. I agree, we have no proof yet of the exact date in 1940 that Ben Webster joined, or should we say, rejoined, Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra.
First, my comments on the facts:
1) The actual ending date of Teddy Wilson's run at the Golden Gate is still not documented. The 20th is Heinz' best guess. I have reviewed both the New York Amsterdam News and the New York Age, and the only indication I found was Bill Chase's 13Jan40 column in the NY Amsterdam News indicating that Teddy Wilson "leaves for the road January 11." But since Webster recorded with Wilson on 18Jan, evidently Webster stayed with Wilson, and in New York, until at least the 18th, a Thursday.
2) Yes, the 20Jan closing date for the Southland engagement is certain. I have only indirectly heard Ben Webster's recollection of Jonesy coming to get him, as quoted in J. de Valk's "Ben Webster - His Life and Music" which cites the movie, "Big Ben" as his source. I find oral history to be suspect, but sometimes it is all we have. Webster does recall that, "After Jonesy came to get me, I went to see Ellington in the dressing room of the theatre where he was playing at the time. He said, 'Why don't you come to the rehearsal tomorrow morning'."
3) I am convinced that the DEO was in Boston on Sunday, 21Jan40 at the RKO Theatre in Boston. There are advertisements and articles in the Boston Post, Boston Herald and Boston Globe on both 20 and 21Jan40. The Golden Gate location for 21Jan comes from a 6Jan40 Billboard article about that ballroom, two weeks earlier. Many gigs listed in Billboard and Variety were either in error, or had never materialized. I don't understand why Stratemann listed Ellington at the Savoy for this date. I have found absolutely no mention in the contemporary press of Ellington at the Savoy on 21Jan. Possibly this is confusion with the 28Jan gig that indeed did occur.
In the 26Jan40 issue of Jazz Information, an article with a Boston byline dated "Jan.22," states that "Ben Webster ... has joined Duke Ellington's orchestra, which is playing at one-nighters around New England this week after packing them in at the Southland here." The article is frustratingly ambiguous as to when and where Webster joined, but definitely by 22Jan.
If Ben Webster's recollection is correct that he met with Duke in a dressing room at a theatre, perhaps that occurred on 21Jan at the RKO Boston (the only theatre date verified in that time span). The Southland was a dinner club.
It would have been possible for Jonesy to catch a train to New York (about a 4 hour trip) to call for Webster, and get him outfitted for the band. Webster also could have left New York with or without Wilson (as Heinz mentions Wilson was slated for Boston engagements, which I have not found in the Boston press), and connected with Jonesy and Duke in Boston.
I think we can place Webster's arrival in Ellington's orchestra between 19-21Jan. The traditional sources state Webster joined the band at the Southland which would be on 19 or 20Jan. I hope we'll find more information. There were dozens of newspapers in the area that could be checked. We also haven't found where the orchestra was 23-25Jan, perhaps in one-nighters in New England as suggested in Jazz Information, and possibly at one of the numerous colleges in the Boston area, and possibly as Heinz suggested, in rehearsal, working in the new tenor player. More research is needed.
We all agree this marked the beginning of a great era in music.
Heinz Baumeister has sent us a clipping from the NY Amsterdam News of 20Jan40 (p21) in which it says: "Teddy who closed at the Golden Gate Saturday nite soon goes on tour (please contact this dept., Teddy)." 20Jan was a Saturday.
When did Ray Nance join the band?
See DEMS 2000/1-11/2
This is an article in the 2Nov40 Chicago Defender entitled, "Ray Nance Gets Spot In Ellington's Band."
"Ray Nance, for years one of Chicago's leading trumpeters and a band leader of note, will replace 'Cootie' Williams in the Duke Ellington Orchestra it was learned on Monday. Duke, who has been looking around for someone to take the place of Williams who leaves tojoin Benny Goodman next week, admitted the new man is Nance. Nance comes into the band on trial and should he fit into the strange Ellington style will be retained."
Monday was October 28th. The orchestra played a dance on the South Side of Chicago (The Parkway Ballroom), and Ellington also attended the "Mayor of Bronzeville Ball" at the Grand Terrrace Cafe that same evening.
Unfortunately, the Defender does not mention which day Nance joined.
It is already four years ago since Bill Morton convinced me that Ray Nance was already in the band on 6Nov40 and not for the first time at Fargo on 7Nov as claimed in the New DESOR on page 1482. The fact that Ray was going to join the band was known a few days earlier as documented in Ken Steiner's contribution. Maybe Ray was already in the band on 3Nov40, the day after Cootie left.
Duke's Brass, 1937-38.
See DEMS 04/2-55
Even if I hate to admit it, AFM Local 802 finally proved that Danny Baker was a phantom after all. But I will not give up on Shorty Baker on these 1938 recordings!
Local 802 has been contacted by many researchers over the years . They told you they have no records of Danny Baker, because they don't even have a copy of their 1938 roster. Lasker has constantly requested in DEMS for anyone with a Local 802 roster from that era to speak up. I repeat the request.
Graham Peacock wrote:
"I know John Chilton. I contacted him with regards to Steven Lasker's article "Duke's Brass, 1937-38" which challenges the assertion in Chilton's "Who's Who of Jazz" that Harold Baker was briefly with the Ellington band in 1938.
I now enclose John's reply, accompanied by two articles from "Melody Maker," the first of which dated 13Nov37 was quoted by Steven, although he only dwells on Freddy Jenkins' illness and fails to follow through with the speculation regarding Harold Baker as a likely successor in the trumpet section. Otherwise, John's answer speaks for itself. He is currently selling his collection of "Melody Maker", and if any DEMS members are interested and would care to write to me [through DEMS] I will gladly pass their letters on to him."
From the "Melody Maker" of 13Nov37 p3. In an article titled "Duke Bereaved: Three Men Seriously Ill" [Nanton, Jenkins and Whetsel] Al Brackman wrote: "There is much speculation concerning Ellington's choice for the first trumpet chair with selection pointing to Harold Baker, former Don Redman brassman, whose solos on Redman's recent Sunny Side of the Street and Exactly Like You platters drew special plaudits from record reviewers. It is expected that the band will go its normal course by the end of the week, at which time Ellington will announce his choice."
John Chilton wrote: "The first mention of Harold Baker possibly joining Duke occurs in the 13Nov37 "Melody Maker" [see above]. I was never able to ascertain exactly when he became a member but Leonard Feather in "The New Edition of the Encyclopaedia of Jazz" (Bonanza Books, New York 1960) says on page 109: "On and off with Duke Ellington January-April 1938". This information could well have come straight from 'Shorty'. "Musica Jazz" from August 1967 gives the stay as February-April 1938. Prior to Feather's book, Charles Delaunay's "New Hot Discography" (Criterion, New York 1948) lists 'Shorty' in the band for the sessions of 13Jan, 2 and 24Feb, 3Mar and 11Apr38. However, he was not listed in the personnel given in "Melody Maker" of 7May38 for Duke's broadcast from the Cotton Club, New York, transmitted 29Apr38. The three listed in the sections are: Wallace Jones, Cootie Williams and Rex Stewart."
John Chilton, Oct04
There was some discussion in DEMS, about the 1937-1938 brass section, including the recording session that brought us Dusk on the Desert and others.
I would just like to point out that the evidence of the manuscripts suggests that it is in fact Cootie Williams soloing on Dusk on the Desert, not Whetsel. I was in communication with Steven Lasker about this a short while ago, and he was of the opinion that it was likely to be Whetsel. Well, to bring further evidence to the discussion, I discovered the rest of the score and parts to Dusk on the Desert during my visit to the Smithsonian last week. I found scores entitled Jamming and Jiving. Because this is an alternative title to Dusk on the Desert (see DEMS 03/1-3), I had a look at them. It's all there, and the score and parts clearly indicate Cootie as the soloist. As with other scores from that period there are four trumpets indicated, with parts named for Rex, Wetz, Cootie and Freddy (Jenkins). Regardless of what Timner and the New DESOR say, there are definitely four trumpets present in the recordings of that session, not just three. There are also the usual three trombones, though some sources previously suggested only two.
Can we therefore conclude that it actually is Cootie Williams stating the melody in the recording of Dusk on the Desert, or not?
25oct04, Michael Kilpatrick**
I don't suppose we can conclude it. But it does seem likely doesn't it, given that Cootie's name appears on the solo part, and that he and Rex were the regulars in the autumn of 1937, in the sense that they didn't have the health problems which beset Jenkins and Whetsel. The inference is that Duke intends Cootie to take the solo. On the other hand it might be that he was hedging his bets because of Whetsel's illness, and that when Art made the recording date he swapped the parts for the recording because Art's was the sound he was really looking for at this time when it was looking as though Art might not be available.
Someone mentioned Eddie Lambert in the course of the discussion on this particular track.
You might be interested to know that, when I first met Eddie circa 1965, he played me Dusk on the Desert (which, as a callow youth, I'd never heard of at that point). Knowing I was a musician, he canvassed my opinion on an idea someone had come up with, that the theme was played by Juan Tizol in a very high register. I didn't believe it then, and I don't believe it now. And this isn't mentioned in order to denigrate Eddie, by the way, but perhaps to illustrate that when mysteries like this surface (in music history or more scientific areas of research) people sometimes go to outlandish lengths to find a solution. We should be grateful for their efforts, even if they don't always get it right.
However, it has only occurred to me today that I read somewhere about Cootie playing the mellophone (as well as trombone and probably other instruments). Could this be the source of the rather strange sound on Dusk on the Desert ?
Before anyone else points it out, the main problem with this idea is that the mellophone is not a B-flat instrument (like the trumpet) so, if this was planned for the instrument, the part copied by Tizol would have to be in a different transposition. But I take it that Michael K. was only talking about the score, not about individual parts - is that correct?
That's interesting. When I first heard the piece I thought for half a second that that might be the case, but I quickly realised it was a trumpet. Further to this you may be interested to know that Tizol is playing within the saxophone ensemble in the first chorus of Dusk on the Desert to make a 5-part section, so he couldn't possibly be the soloist anyway! Similarly the other brass (3tpt,2tbn) make up a 5-part muted section, with the remaining trumpeter playing the solo. At first I wasn't sure if it was Tizol as there are other pieces with a trombonist playing within the reed section - but not always Tizol.
I have copies of the entire score and all parts except bass and Hodges. No mellophone part has turned up and both score and parts clearly show Cootie as the intended soloist and playing 2nd Bb trumpet in the ensemble passages. Furthermore you can hear, if you listen to the 8-bar intro, that the soloist is playing 2nd trumpet within the 4-part section because he is not playing with the same mute as the others. This suggests that the soloist is not reading the solo over someone else's shoulder, but is playing from that part all the way through the piece.
Now, another thing I should point out is that Whetsel is indicated as being the brass ensemble leader throughout the piece. Bear in mind that Ellington often gave the lead part to different musicians - for example on that same day Harmony in Harlem has Whetsel and Cootie leading the brass ensemble in different passages, and other scores such as Sherman Shuffle have similar part-swaps. Yet Whetsel's health was said to be uncertain, wasn't it? If he could play the lead part (high notes with a tight, resistive mute), why couldn't he play the solo, given that people here have suggested it may have been intended for his tonal colour in the first place? Does that further suggest he wasn't there at all that day, and that Wallace Jones or a mystery man was there, playing Cootie's part - whilst a fit Cootie took the lead part - because Ellington found he had that day a trumpeter with tone that better matched what he had really wanted all along - Whetsel? I don't know. I suppose we have no way of telling exactly when the piece was written. Such timing, relating to Whetsel's health, might have told us something more. At the time of writing Ellington may have believed Cootie was the closer match. But for all we know it could have been written just the day before that recording session.
I took these messages from the Duke-LYM list. There were many more. Some of them suggest or claim that the solo was played by Wallace Jones. The claim originates from Stanley Dance's liner-notes for which he acknowledged the writings of Benny Aasland, Hugues Panassié and Barry Ulanov. Also Eddie Lambert is convinced that it was Wallace Jones. Others think it was Rex Stewart and they refer to Peter Gammond's discography (p230), who by the way only lists two trumpets and to the New DESOR in which three trumpets are listed and in which a correction has been made, published in the December Bulletin of 2002 (02/3-27) replacing Rex Stewart by Arthur Whetsel for the opening solo part.
However if one thing is certain, it is that Wallace Jones was not in the band during the session of 20Sep37. Steven Lasker already mentioned two sources: Melody Maker of 12Mar38 and Down Beat of Apr38. I found in Ken Vail's first volume a newspaper clipping titled "Whetsol is forced to leave Duke", written by Billy Howe, dated 3Mar, referring to Whetsel's most recent shock from his prolonged illness during the band's engagement at Rutger's [sic] University "Saturday Night". (That gig was on Saturday 19Feb38.) The article concludes with: Whetsel will be replaced by Wallace Jones. I found still another source: John Chilton. Wallace Leon Jones, with Duke Ellington from March 1938 until March 1944.
I am unable to say who played the solo in Dusk on the Desert. But I think there is enough evidence that it could not have been Wallace Jones. I feel most comfortable with Roger Boyes' theory.
I am happy with the confirmation by Michael Kilpatrick of Steven Lasker's statement that there were four trumpets in the 20Sep37 session and that Steven had the names right. That is discographically an important fact. The one who wrote on page 221 of MIMM that Harold Baker gave in 1942 the band its first trumpet section of four was mistaken.
Un-dubbed tracks from "A Drum Is a Woman"
I grew up with the mono 45 rpm [Columbia B-9511 EP] that had Hey Buddy Bolden and What Else Can You Do With a Drum? on one side and You Better Know It and Pomegranate on the other side. What might be of interest to some is that, unlike on the LP, the 4 tracks had no superimposed music or narration at their beginnings nor endings. In other words, for example, Ray Nance's opening solo on Hey Buddy Bolden can be heard un-dubbed and uninterrupted, and it sounds great! (The 45 rpm version of Hey Buddy Bolden faded out much earlier than the LP version though.) My hope is that Sony will eventually re-release these tracks on their own, in un-dubbed fashion whenever they get around to re-issuing them since the tracks stand quite well on their own (as well as in the final mixed versions of the LP).
Does anyone know what has happened to the Legacy reissue of "A Drum Is a Woman" that was supposed to be released around the same time as the other 1999 Phil Schaap reissues as CK 65567? I assume that stereo tapes must exist for some or all of the tracks since all of the 1999 "Such Sweet Thunder" issue is in stereo and the dates are similar.
I was surprised to see that you credited Ray Nance for the opening solo of Hey Buddy Bolden. Clark Terry has repeatedly testified that he played the opening solo. The version of Hey Buddy Bolden as you have it on your 45 rpm was recorded on 25Sep56. On the LP and on the telecast for US Steel Hour, it was preceded by a solo by Clark Terry which was recorded on 28Sep56 and combined with Duke's narration, which was recorded on 22oct56. If you go on your LP as far as Duke saying "and here they come" you will hear the beginning of the recording of 25Sep56, which does indeed run on your LP indeed slightly longer than it does on your 45 rpm. That is the only difference (apart of the narration).
I have not found any difference between What Else Can You Do With a Drum? and You Better Know It as on your 45 rpm compared with the same titles on the LP (version 2, see DEMS 03/2-18).
Pomegranate on your 45 rpm is the same as later was released on the LP CBS 26306. On this LP it was without narration and without bongos at the end. The version on your EP has no narration, but it has bongos at the end. The version used for the US Steel telecast has both, narration and bongos. All three versions used the same recording of 7May57.
All this doesn't seem enough for a re-release, although there is a wealth of un-released recordings made on these recording sessions, waiting to be issued!
There is no news about the prepared re-release of "A Drum Is a Woman" by Phil Schaap.
A Drum Is a Woman
Now if we true blue (sic) Ellingtonians can get Sony Columbia Legacy to get off their asses and issue CK 65567, A Drum Is a Woman, we will have truly accomplished something. I don't understand why the Ellington clubs and societies don't pester SCL until they reissue the CD they advertised in 1999. There's a story going around that Phil Schaap had it scheduled as a two CD album, but that is belied as CK 65567 indicates a single disc. Phil played it for TDES in Oct99, so why don't they complain about its "cancellation" that Ehrenzeller wrote about not long ago. I queried him about that statement but he didn't care to answer either my letter or in the newsletter. BMG RCA has done it right by assigning Ellington to its Classics Department, serious stuff. Legacy is still trying to market The Duke as 1950s popular LPs. Nuts. You are very respected. Perhaps you can stir the pot?
I guess that Phil must have played his tape for TDES, not a sample of the CD in question. I have approached SONY (no answer) and Phil Schaap (answer: "I cannot do anything"). I share your frustration!
I'm Checking out Goom-Bye
I've looked again at 03/3-7, item 22 and I agree with Steven's 'proverbial dart' comment about the spelling of Goombye/Goom-bye/Goom Bye.
Of the three, I am least happy with Goom Bye (two words), since the parent word Goodbye is spelled as one word. But I can go with it.
However, any punctuation mark between out and Goom+ (whatever you prefer) must surely be either a comma (out, Goom+) or a dash (out - Goom+) and certainly not a hyphen (out-Goom+). A hyphen would suggest a composite word out-Goom, which of course is nonsense, there's no such word. Nothing at all between out and Goom+ would be preferable to that.
The same key is used on the keyboard to type a dash as a hyphen. The distinction is made by spacing the key when typing it as a dash, and leaving it unspaced, i.e. continuous with the words around it, when typing it as a hyphen. I have noticed that when I use this key to type a dash in Word, the system will automatically lengthen it after I have typed it. But it doesn't always do this. In handwriting the dash would be spaced and lengthened, compared to the unspaced, shorter hyphen.
I have checked the text on page 7 of 03/3 about this title. There are errors in that text. The Columbia 35208, released 8Sep39, has I'm Checkin' out Go'om-bye. The ASCAP, MIMM and the New DESOR spelling is I'm Checking Out–Goom Bye.
Adolphus J. Alsbrook
See DEMS 03/1-8/1 and 04/2-10 (Ken Steiner presentation)
This is the letter DEMS received on 27Nov03.
My name is Darryl Scott Alsbrook. I am the one and only child of Adolphus Alsbrook. I live in a small town not too far from Victoria, British Columbia in Canada. The town is called Youbou, B.C.
Just yesterday I happen by chance to see my father's name on Yahoo on my computer. I clicked on and arrived at The international DEMS BULLETIN Duke Ellington Music Society - 03/1 April-July 2003, Part 3 Discussions - Additions - Corrections. Subtitled - Another little known Ellingtonian (03/1 DEMS 8/1). And there before my eyes was all this information about my father, three pages of it. I was a little bit in shock, needless to say. Anyone who knew my father knows that he was very modest; modest to a fault some would say. And therefore, I have only minimal information about my dad's professional history.
I would very much appreciate to be able to e-mail or talk to any of the people quoted in the above-mentioned article. If you would be so kind as to pass their e-mail addresses to me. Or if you would rather, pass mine on to them. I have some published information about my dad from Charlie Mingus' book called "Beneath The Underdog". As well as Stanley Dance's book called "The World of Count Basie". If you know of any other printed information I could find, please pass that information on to me that I might also find it; I would be eternally grateful.
I thank you very much for the information that I have just received about my dad. I hope that I will hear from you soon that I might know more about Adolphus. Although I met my dad some 15 years before his death, as I mentioned before, my information about his professional career is sadly lacking. He did not like to "blow his own horn", but I know he was a remarkable man with many accomplishments, and I would like to know the whole story. Or as much of the story as possible to know at this late date. Once again, let me thank you in advance for anything you might be able to do to pass that information on to me.
With warmest regards.
Darryl Scott Alsbrook
I had a very nice conversation with Darryl Alsbrook. As far as Ellington is concerned, Darryl said his father told him that the reason he left Duke was that he could make more money arranging, that his father deeply regretted leaving Duke, and the only time he ever saw his father cry was when Duke died.
Duke's spoken intro on the Fairmont LP
See DEMS 04/2-33
Are you really sure that the 12" LP on SESAC - Ellington Moods - does have the spoken intro as per SESAC AD-43? In that brief intro, the Duke only discusses the 4 titles which are found on AD-43!
The LP used for copying "Duke's Comments" was Fairmont Records, 1974, Santa Monica, California USA. The portion of the photo copy I have of the back of the sleeve does not contain the catalogue number, which I have taken as F-107 (reference - The Directory of Duke Ellington's Recordings, Jerry Valburn, 1986 p5-29)
It contains all the tracks as on SESAC N 2701/02 and CD Freshsounds FSR-CD-141.
As you correctly mention, Duke's comments refer only to four tunes, Night Stick, Fat Mouth, Frou-Frou and Lullaby for Dreamers.
I hope this is sufficient information to answer your query.
The Fairmont LP has indeed number 107. The sequence of the titles is different from the SESAC 12" LP 2701/02 as mentioned in the New DESOR p1415. The sequence of the titles on the 12" LP Al Creative World AL-7085 is the same as on SESAC but it does not have the 48 sec. spoken introduction by Duke, which is at the start of side 1 of the Fairmont LP. This introduction must have been made especially for the 7" 45 rpm EP SESAC AD 43. Duke invited us to "listen to this special". The title of the EP is "Duke's DJ Special". It contains the four titles as mentioned in the introduction.
Checking my 2 LPs (Fairmont and Al-7085), I found that on both LPs the title Fat Mouth has been applied to Little John's Tune and vice versa.
There have been many different releases in the past. Jazz Legacy JLA-61 (79/5-4); Big Band Landmarks (80/4-4); Jazz Vault JV-101 (81/2-1); SESAC N-2701/N-2702 (84/3-10). Vogue CD 670.208 has only 5 selections from SESAC (88/5-7). Of all these other releases, I have only the Vogue CD. Here the position of the titles Fat Mouth and Little John's Tune is in accordance with the listing. I wonder what the position is on the original SESAC N-2701/02 and on the CD Fresh Sound 141. If (as I believe) the titles are exchanged, it should be noted in the New DESOR p1415 as it was once noted for the AL LP in the old Desor Volume 11 pXXIV and erroneously not mentioned for Fairmont on pXXX. Comparison of two audio-sources is not required. Fat Mouth is a blues and it starts with a piano intro by Duke. Little John's Tune has a 32 bar AABA structure and no piano introduction.
Fat Mouth on track 1 and Little John's Tune on track 3 of the original SESAC LP are as you described them.
Just to remind you that SESAC N - 2701/02 is not the same as Fairmont F-107: - SESAC N - 2701/02 does not contain the interview. - The interview appeared for the first time on the "Repertory Recording" label (a subsidiary of the "Sesac Transcribed Library") as EP AD-43.
SESAC N - 2701/02 is mono, Fairmont F-107 is stereo.
By the way, I do not understand why DESOR omits to publish a known recording when the recording date is unknown. It should be included under the heading of "circa 1959" for instance. This should lead to more research.
Tishomingo Blues on RCA?
In your report of Steven Lasker's presentation at the Stockholm Conference (04/2-10), you suggest that Tishomingo Blues was an R.C.A. recording.
You are right. It was a Brunswick recording. Steven would have put it on the 3 CD set GRP Records 3-640 if he had had the recording in time to do so, and obviously not on the 24 CD RCA box. This is purely my error. Steven clearly mentioned the GRP box.
Blue Belles of Harlem
See DEMS 04-2-23
Going through the Paul Whiteman collection at Williams College in Williamstown I examined the music manuscript for this item. On the score it reads Blue Belle of Harlem. Belle meaning a female person.
Newly released 1924 Wilbur Sweatman Edison recording
I've just recently discovered the DEMS newsletters [say better Bulletins] on-line, and while I haven't had time to read through all of them thoroughly, I want to applaud your very thorough efforts. Having read the discussion concerning the recently released Wilbur Sweatman Gennet recording of Battleship Kate [DEMS 02/1-16/3] along with Steven Lasker's assertion that in "no way" can it be Duke [DEMS 02/2-17/2] – to which I can only say "could you be certain of Duke's piano presence on Choo Choo or Rainy Nights if we didn't know they were his compositions? For that matter, how can we ever be sure it is a definite negative (or a definite positive)? While I have not heard this track yet, I prefer to be precautionary about ever saying anything is 100% negative or positive when so little is really known about the recording. Surely, it is as plausible as not that it's Duke sight-reading the parts, no?
At any rate, to add confusion to the mix, I will call your attention to a previously unissued (and to my knowledge unknown) Sweatman recording, also from 1924, but recorded for the Edison label called It Makes No Difference Now as by "Wilbur Sweatman's Brownies". Again, I have not heard this track, but the scant details I found are at <http://edison-project.50megs.com/bios.htm> and it has been released on CD by American Sound Archives:
Jazz & Blues on Edison Records (1920-29): A magnificent collection of recordings from the 1920's! Fascinating musical artefacts (some of which were not known to exist) appear alongside some previously released and unissued Edison Diamond Discs.
Selections: Dixieland (Lopez & Hamilton-The Kings of Harmony)/Baby's Got the Blues (Genevieve Jordon)/St. Louis Gal (Original Memphis Five)/You're Gonna Wake Some Morning (Ethel Finney)/Hot Tamale Baby (Andy Razaf)/Hard Hearted Hannah (Marjorie Royer)/Tempermental Papa (Josie Miles)/It Makes No Difference Now (Wilbur Sweatman's Brownies)/Undertaker’s Blues (Helen Gross with the Kansas City Five)/Memphis Bound (Viola McCoy)/Don’t Advertise Your Man (Rosa Henderson)/Broken Busted Blues (Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake)/Loud Speakin' Papa (Elsie Clark)/Everybody Stomp! (Bud Lincoln's Orch.)/I’ve Found a New Baby (Georgia Melodians)/Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down (Winegar's Penn Boys)/Come on Home (Clarence Williams Orch. with Eva Taylor)/Wang Wang Blues (Mal Hallet's Orch.). $12.75 (Order#: ASA-1001)
This can all be found at <http://edison-project.50megs.com/new.htm>
While no mention of Duke's participation is even suggested, the DEMS folks may want to get a hold of a copy just to see if the pianist sounds anything like Duke.
I do not believe that Ellington played with Wilbur Sweatman during the year 1924. All sources put him only in Sweatman's company during early 1923.
On page 185 of Mark Tucker's "Ellington The Early Years", there is a quote from the Haverhill Evening Gazette dated 26Jan25 mentioning that the Washingtonians "during the past year they have been featured by the Triangle and Blue Disc Record Company". What is "Triangle" records? Is it the same company as Blue Disc or is it different? If it is different, has anybody looked into any Duke recordings on Triangle? Given the early 1925 date of this quote, these would certainly be contenders for the earliest Duke tracks, yet Mark Tucker makes no further comment on Triangle. Any thoughts?
Triangle was indeed the name of a United States record label. I found it in Benny Aasland's "The Wax Works of Duke Ellington" (1954). Rainy Nights fromNov24 was released on Triangle 11437. It was also released with the same number (11437) on the US labels Baldwin, Broadway, Bury, Mitchell, Puritan, Puretone and with a slightly different number (1437) on the US Label Pennington. It is not known (to me) which non-Ellington recording was put on the flip-side. This Triangle release is also confirmed in Delaunay. I have not found other Triangle releases with Ellington recordings. I have found some Bury releases though.
The releases on Triangle, Baldwin, Broadway, Bury, Mitchell, Puritan, Puretone and Pennington have been confirmed in Jerry Valburn's Directory of Duke Ellington's Recordings. All carry the indication that the recording originates from Blu-Disc.
See for an in-depth study of this matter Steven Lasker's article at 04/3-57.
Regarding 1920's recordings of Jig Walk by Duke, I have read a rather convincing article reaffirming that the "piano roll" 78 transcription is not Duke. (I have actually never heard this track either so I cannot comment.) However, there is still a couple of confusing issues around this.
a) In Mark Tucker's Ellington Reader, there are reprints of 2 articles with passing mentions of a Duke recording of Jig Walk: one from Alec Wilder's 28Aug48 Saturday Review article (p259 in Tucker); the other from Rex Stewart's 8Sep66 Downbeat profile of Bigard (p479 in Tucker);
b) a long time ago, I recall reading the 1946 Ulanov Duke bio at a library and I seem to recall that the book's discography also listed Jig Walk, albeit with scant details. The curious thing is that I think 1946 predates the Wurlitzer piano roll recording, and of course the 1938 and 1940 air check Jig Walk transcriptions were presumably unknown to anyone until the 1960s or 70s. Your thoughts?
Indeed. It seems that there is no recording of Jig Walk by Duke in the 20ties.
Barry Ulanov (1946) has in 1926 a recording by the whole band (12 pieces) of Jig Walk and Alabama Bound. If these recordings ever existed, they have never been found anyway.
Charles Delaunay (1948) has no mention of Jig Walk (by Ellington).
Benny Aasland (1954) has with an unknown date with matrix number 607 on the label and 610 in the wax a Paramount release 14024 with the indication that this is a V Disc. It is a Nickelodeon transcription.
The old Desor (Volume 1, 1966) has copied from Aasland's disco Paramount 14204, unknown date, matrix 606. They added as a more recent release the LP For Discriminate Collector FDC-1003. This is found on the sleeve in the liner-notes: "Jig Walk is certainly a dull piece, none could expect Duke's future, great, style developments. It is however, the first recorded piano solo by Ellington, therefore here enclosed (in view of its rarity). The original 78-rpm record was a dubbing from piano roll: the exact date of the piano roll cutting is unknown, while the record was released in 1926."
Dick Bakker (1977) has copied from Desor: Paramount 14024, NYC, Mid 1926, 607. He added the BYG releases.
Willie Timner has dropped in his 4th edition (1996) the Paramount 607 nickelodeon transcription from Feb/Mar26, which was in his 3rd edition (1988).
We have on the LP Up to Date 2004 (a recording by "The OKeh Syncopators", unknown personnel, name usually used by Harry Reser groups) a recording of Jig Walk from 20Feb26. The original issue with matrix S-74019-B was on OKeh 40614.
On the CD Masters of Jazz MJCD 8 the piano-roll Jig Walk is included and recognised as a genuine Ellington recording. It was not included on the Classics CD, but it was accepted by Neatwork and included on RP-2009.
In DEMS 97/2-23/3 is an extensive discussion about Jig Walk on the piano-roll.
More specific answers to your questions: I think that Alec Wilder, writing his article in 1948, consulted the discographical listing in Barry Ulanov's 1946 "Duke Ellington" and found there the wrong (or never discovered) recording claimed to be from 1926 and mentioned as first recording in a long list. The fact that Rex Stewart wrote (in 1966) about Duke coming out with a record of his tune Jig Walk, which became a hit in Harlem, makes me believe that either we should not give up hope of finding a record as described by Barry Ulanov (with the full band) or that Rex was mistaken and referred to one of the many recordings, made by other groups of Duke's tune from "Chocolate Kiddies" like the one by "The OKeh Syncopaters". (See for many more recordings of Jig Walk Mark Tucker's "Ellington — The Early Years" p135.)
The airchecks of 22May38 and 21Sep40 have as far as I'm concerned nothing to do with the piano-roll Jig Walk. They share the same melody, which is quite different from Jig Walk and which has more similarity to Lightnin'. The 22May38 recording is actually very clearly announced as Jig Walk but that doesn't make it the same tune. There are however three recordings of the original (piano-roll-type) Jig Walk later in Duke's discography: 15Nov69, concert in Geneva as part of the Medley; 18Jun71, dance date in Paramus; and 20oct71, the first concert in Bournemouth as the opening selection of the Medley.
I have listened again to three of the recordings of Jig Walk which I have. They are the piano roll from the 20ties, the 1940 Sherman performance by Ellington and the 1941 Russell-Sullivan-Singleton trio.
I feel that the Sherman performance is of a score developed out of the piece printed as Example 20 of Mark Tucker's book (pp128-30) and offered in a simple repetitive version on the piano roll. The Pee Wee Russell - Joe Sullivan trio is also based on this piece so I imagine it is a fair conjecture that, as a stride pianist, Joe Sullivan was acquainted with the piano roll.
A small puzzle
I noticed on page 9 of the New DESOR that: 2905a,b,f carry all three the catalogue number (Vi V—38053). The titles being Dicty Glide and Stevedore Stomp. I looked in Jerry Valburn's "The Directory of Duke Ellington Recordings" (1986) on pages 1-27 and 1-30 and I found that this is the case on both the Argentine and USA issues.
2905c,d,e, also carry the same catalogue number (Vi V-38065) but the reason for this is clarified by Jerry on page 1-30. The number is used on two different USA issues, both having the same take of Hot Feet, and each having a different take of Sloppy Joe.
The same number is also used for an Argentine issue where an unknown take of Sloppy Joe was combined with the title Pies Alegres, which means Hot Feet in Spanish.
As was the case with the USA release of Vi V-38065, two different takes of Dicty Glide were also released with the same label number (this time Vi V-38053), a fact apparently unknown to Jerry Valburn when he wrote his directory.
It has happened many times that alternate takes have popped up with the same label number. This is due to the fact that the records themselves were often produced at different locations. Instead of making a dub from the first chosen take for production elsewhere, it sometimes happened that an alternate take was sent, if the quality made hardly any difference.
See DEMS 04/2-39
Am I right in thinking that the DESOR reference number for The B.O. of Traffic (B.O. Man) is 6742f?
The B.O. of Traffic on track 17 is DESOR 6742h.
B.O. Man (which is the same as The B.O. of Traffic) on track 22 is DESOR 6742aa.
A Correction on Klaus Stratemann's "Day by Day —
Film by Film"
I´m checking page 247 of Dr. Stratemann's book, on the first line of this page he lists Jimmy Grissom as "one of the departed men" from Ellington´s orchestra.
Surely he meant to write Jimmy Britton.
The Auckland Concert of 10Feb70
See DEMS 04/2-14
Dr Klaus Stratemann (p595) says that Ellington left New Zealand on the 10th, the day of the concert. I know it is possible to have a performance and fly out in the same day, but isn't it highly improbable? He was performing in New York on the 13th.
I agree. I believe Klaus was wrong. He found this "fact" in the Duke Ellington Itinerary from Joe Igo where it says: "10 thru 12 - DEO flew from New Zealand to Los Angeles to New York and then to Buffalo NY." Duke played the Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo on 13Feb70 (Buffalo Courier-Express 12 Feb 70). In Ralph Gleason's "Celebrating the Duke" p239 it says (under 22Feb70): "Last week he arrived at the Los Angeles airport from Australia and immediately took a plane to Buffalo, New York, where he conducted the Buffalo Philharmonic Friday night." If we presume that Duke did not leave Australia (i.e. New Zealand) on the 10th, but one day later, there is still no discrepancy with anything else that we know about these days.
It is perfectly possible for the Ellington Orchestra to fly out of Auckland on the afternoon of 11 February and to arrive in Los Angeles on the morning of 11 February, even with an overnight stop at Tahiti (as our plane did, or Hawaii or some other place). If it was still the 11th when they crossed the International Date Line, the date then became the 10th. If the date had moved on to the 12th by the time they crossed the Line, it goes back to the 11th at that point. In either case, given an afternoon departure from Auckland on the 11th., they arrive in LA on the morning of the 11th.
I Can't Give You Anything but Love —
by the Mills Brothers
See DEMS 04/2-36
The 78 rpm Br(E) 01520-A/-B has on one side
Br 12781 = Diga Diga Doo by the Mills Brothers and DE&HFO
and on the flip side
Br 12782 = I Can't Give You Anything but Love by the Mills Brothers.
On 12782 no musical instruments or mechanical devices have been used on this recording other than one guitar.
This recording of I Can't Give You Anything but Love clearly does not qualify to be included in an Ellington discography.
Fraternity House, Madison
Through the courtesy of American reissue producer and collector Ben Young, I've been able to hear the recording of Duke playing for students at a fraternity party in Madison, dated 1951(?).
I don't know if this has been the subject of discussion before, but I think Duke plays more than he's credited with in my copy of Nielsen (p113). I'm prepared to believe the first pianist (who doesn't find the right chords for Deep Purple) could be Jimmy Hamilton, but Duke himself takes over during Deep Purple, and he also plays the next two pieces (Falling Like a Raindrop and Sophisticated Lady). Strayhorn only performs the three titles for which he's shown (Unknown Title at the last chord of which he's verbally identified, followed by You Go to My Head and Lush Life). Then Duke returns to play the remaining five titles and to give a spoken message at the end.
The unknown Strayhorn piece (an unconventional 12-bar blues) is familiar but I can't put a name to it at the moment. The date too is vague, but I notice at one point (very much off-mike) Duke's voice saying the words "Willie Cook", perhaps in answer to a question about his new trumpeter (who came in the band in Nov51).
This session is documented in the New DESOR as 5331 probably from Fall 1953. DESOR credits Duke for the same selections as you do and even for the first attempt at Deep Purple. I agree with that. Although I do not have a sample of Jimmy Hamilton's piano-playing, listening over and over again convinced me that DESOR is right.
Billy Strayhorn played an unidentified title followed by Drawing Room Blues, You Go to My Head and Lush Life.
Fall 1953 coincides very well with the (unique) commercial recording-date of Falling Like a Raindrop on 17Jan54. Another probable date is 23May53. That’s when Duke was in Madison.
I think I understood that the host was Timme Rosenkrantz and that the hostess went early to bed.
The six important Columbia/Legacy re-releases with
Columbia/Legacy COL 512915 2
Duke Ellington - Blues in Orbit
See DEMS 04/2-31
The titles and matrix-numbers have been mentioned in DEMS 03/2-21/1. There are some mistakes in this listing, which was supplied to DEMS by Michael Cuscuna and which was used for the liner-notes of this CD (512915).
There are three released studio recordings of Blues in Orbit. Take -1 of 4Feb58 is on track 7 of this CD (512915) and has been previously released on the Columbia LP "Blues in Orbit" which was re-released on the Columbia (Jazz Masterpieces) CD CK-44051 with the same title (see DEMS 88/3-5 and 88/5-4). Take -1 was also included in the CD Giants of Jazz 53066 (DEMS 91/2-3).
Blues in Orbit take -2 has been recorded on 12Feb58 and released on the Columbia/Legacy CD CK 65566 titled "Black, Brown and Beige" (see DEMS 99/4-18/1). Take -2 is on this CD (512915) on track 18.
Blues in Orbit take -6 has also been recorded on 12Feb58. It was released on the 7 inch 45 rpm single Columbia Co 4-41689 and has not yet been re-released on CD (see DEMS 99/4-18/1). Take -6 is definitely not on this CD (512915) as claimed in the liner-notes, neither is Blues in Orbit on track 18 previously unissued.
The original liner-notes by Teo Macero have been reproduced but they were not corrected. Since we have access to the recording reports we know that Smada was not recorded on 2Dec but on 3Dec59; that there were six and not five great numbers on tape at the end of the 2Dec59 session; that the last number on the second day (The Swinger's Jump, properly sub-titled Last Minute Blues) came not after eight but after ten other selections. On the original LP back cover it is said that Blues in Blueprint and Villes Ville Is the Place, Man were not recorded at the same time as the other compositions. This is true if we read Blues in Orbit instead of Blues in Blueprint. Liner-notes can be very confusing for discographers without the support of Steven Lasker who supplied many recording reports to us and to "our Italian friends".
Track 19 is properly identified in DEMS 03/2-21/1 as being take -15 and previously released on Franklin Mint. This will be corrected in the New DESOR on page 247 or correction-sheet 1007 and on page 1360.
The liner-notes by Patricia Willard are informative as always and a great asset to this new re-release. We have only one question: as far as we know from Klaus Stratemann p418, Booty Wood joined the band on 7Sep59 (and not on 7Jul59) to replace John Sanders. Booty Wood did not take part in the recordings for "Festival Session" on 8Sep59. John Sanders stayed until 10Sep59 and he played on 8Sep59 as correctly claimed in the liner-notes of the recently re-released "Festival Session", Columbia/Legacy 512916 2 (see DEMS 04/2-30).
Columbia/Legacy COL 512919 2
Duke Ellington — Piano in the Background
See DEMS 04/2-31
The titles, the matrix-numbers and (the correct) take-numbers have been mentioned in DEMS 03/2-22/2. Track 12, Dreamy Sort of Thing has take number -5 and not -6.
Being a retired printer, I can tell you what can go wrong between the written copy for a printing job and the final result. I suspect that one of the sentences on page 3 of the booklet (the page with discographical details) was different on the original. I think it was like this: "Billy Strayhorn plays piano on Dreamy Sort of Thing. It Don't Mean a Thing and I'm Beginning To See the Light are arranged by Bill Mathieu." I think that the first period was replaced by a comma and that the word "are" had been deleted and replaced by another comma. I do believe that Billy Strayhorn played in Dreamy Sort of Thing (confirmed by Patricia Willard in her liner-notes), although he is not credited in the reports, but I cannot believe that he played on 2Jun60 in It Don't Mean a Thing and on 22Jun60 in Main Stem. I am convinced that Duke was at the keyboard. This is also confirmed in the liner-notes of the original album. (The text on the back of the CD box even asks us to believe that Duke played on each of the 14 tracks of this new CD but that seems a bit too much.) My guess is that Billy was present on most of the recording sessions in Jun60 because of the recordings made for the "Nutcracker Suite" and the "Peer Gynt Suites". But on 22Jun60 he wasn't there, because according to the Artist Job Sheet of 16Jun60, there was a telephone call on 22Jun60 with Billy Strayhorn who gave instructions to change the title of Waltz of the Flowers into Danse [sic] of the Floreadores and the title Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy into Sugar Rum Cherry.
Billy mostly played on his own compositions and there is little doubt about him being the composer of Dreamy Sort of Thing. It is obviously the same composer as the one who wrote Love, the first part of "The Perfume Suite". It is peculiar that Dreamy Sort of Thing is not mentioned in Walter van de Leur's "Something To Live For". It seems that it belongs to the "Asphalt Jungle" compositions. It is called in the contracts of The American Federation of Musicians: Pretty Girl - Angello Theme. The same two titles appear on the Artist Job Sheet from the studio with the hand-written remark: "From Asphalt Jungle" and with the type-written names of Ellington and Strayhorn as composers followed by a remark between parentheses: "Don't contact publisher". Is that the reason that we cannot find it on the ASCAP list? It is different from the Rick Henderson originals Pretty Girl and Dreaming by the Fire from 6May71. We have a tape with five selections, together being (as claimed) the West Coast Recordings for "Asphalt Jungle". This session starts with an unknown piece by the full band ending in a long wailing solo by Paul Gonsalves (Blues for Asphalt Jungle, recorded 25Apr60). It is followed by an exact copy of Dreamy Sort of Thing, RHCO 46677 from 20Jun60 and the three parts belonging together to make up "Asphalt Jungle": Wild Car, RHCO 46717; Cops, 46718 and Robbers, 46719 and all three recorded on 1Jul60. In the Cue sheet for "Asphalt Jungle" item 20 is named "Angela" (see DEMS 95/1-2).
I have a problem in believing that Billy co-composed Happy Go Lucky Local. Walter van de Leur wrote on page 47 that this composition is co-credited to Billy, but there is no proof in his book that this credit is correct. I believe that this credit is caused by Billy's hand-written name after Ellington's type-written name on the Artist Job Sheet. The fact that Billy's name is provided with a "1" in a circle and Duke's name with a "2" in a circle may have inspired the producer of the original LP to mention Billy first. I know that Billy was co-credited in the ASCAP listing for several parts of "The Deep South Suite" as there are: Hearsay; There Was Nobody Looking and Magnolias Dripping with Honey [sic]. But Happy Go Lucky Local is explicitly only credited to Ellington.
According to the Columbia Recording Report and the Phonograph Recording Contract of the American Federation of Musicians, Juan Tizol was present at and paid for the session of 3Mar61.
One of the non-Ellington compositions that Duke liked to play was Lullaby of Birdland. Both takes on this release start with 3 complete choruses by Duke as a soloist. These two takes of 20Jun60 are now for the first time on CD. Duke had been struggling with this piano introduction earlier in the Columbia recording session of 24Apr58, when he started the tune 7 times. The second attempt has been released on the LP Up to Date 2007 and a combination of the 6th and 7th take has been used for the LP Franklin Mint 4002 and for the French (blue) CBD LP 88653 but none of it has been re-released on CD. There is still a lot of work to do by Sony!
Patricia Willard's liner-notes are again a welcome source of background information. I have only two remarks to make. Jimmy Forrest started in the Ellington band on 20May49 and not in Aug49. He replaced Ben Webster who left 17May49.
Only Willie Timner claimed that Al McKibbon played in the last track, Harlem Air-Shaft. If Al McKibbon's memory (in 2003) is correct about not having recorded with Ellington, we should also correct other discographies. The New DESOR (6103) has him playing (and recording) in Where in the World and in Tulip or Turnip and being replaced by Aaron Bell for Song from "Moulin Rouge" and for Harlem Air-Shaft. This is in accordance to the liner-notes of the French CBS LPs 26306 and 88654 (from the blue three volume - five LP set "duke 56/62"). The Recording Report does indeed only say: "Al McKibbon, bass — session of 3/3 only", however on a special added page to the Contract of the American Federation of Musicians is stated: "McKibbon, Alfred, bass, called in for first part of session when regular bass player was detained." Both bass-players received full payment, according to this contract.
What we read in Patricia Willard's liner-notes can lead to two different conclusions: Either Al McKibbon stated that he did not record with Duke at all, which means that Aaron Bell was back before the first actual take of Where in the World; or he means that Aaron arrived before the actual take of Harlem Air-Shaft, which means that he (McKibbon) recorded the three titles Where in the World; Tulip or Turnip and Song from "Moulin Rouge". Who is going to ask him?
Columbia/Legacy COL 512920 2
Duke Ellington — Piano in the Foreground
See DEMS 04/2-31
The titles, the matrix-numbers and the take-numbers have been mentioned in DEMS 03/2-21/2.
According to Patricia Willard's liner-notes, Aaron Bell believed that track 8, A Hundred Dreams Ago is a variation of Victor Young's melody A Hundred Years from Today. That second title sounds very familiar to me, but that is probably because Duke used that phrase for his announcement of Basin Street Blues by Money Johnson. I have no recording of Victor Young's tune to compare. A Hundred Dreams Ago has been copyrighted in 1963 on Duke's name by Tempo Music. The New DESOR (p716) claims that it is the same as A Hundred Dreams from Now, which was copyrighted in 1958 with the sub-title Champagne Oasis, with the names of Duke Ellington and Johnny Burke by Vernon Music Corp.
There is some confusion about the title of track 10. We now all agree that the earlier title on the (11 title) LP release, Yearning for Love was wrong. On the (12 title) re-release on CD CBS 465638 2, see DEMS 90/1-2, the title was Peadin' for Love. The New DESOR has named this recording Pleadin' without a sub-title. We have found in the ASCAP list Pleadin' (not Pleading), copyrighted on Duke's name in 1958 by Vernon Music Corp and Searchin' (not Searching), copyrighted on Duke's name and the name of Steve Allen in 1964 by the same Corporation. The title Pleading for Love could not be found. Without being able to read music and without both lead-sheets I am not able to figure out if Pleadin' and Searchin' are indeed titles for the same melody. We know that what we hear on track 10 is the same as part three of the "Fragmented Suite for Piano and Bass" which is copyrighted on the names of Duke and Ray Brown in 1976 by what we believe to have deciphered as Unickaypall Mus. ?. Chappell & Co. Inc. On the album "This One's for Blanton" the whole suite is credited to Ellington and Brown by the Pablito Publishing Co.
Another non-Ellington composition that Duke liked to play was All the Things You Are. Most of you will recognise track 14, the so called take -2. It was previously issued on the (LP and CD) album "Ellington Indigos". For collectors from the CD era, it must be a pleasure to hear the earlier take which was Duke's first attempt to find a solution for arranging this tune as he later found in the fourth part of the second chorus of the well-known version, now called take -2.
The correct numbering of the Piano Improvisations is another point of discussion. The New DESOR has accepted the take-numbers as given in DEMS 85/1-8 but not the part numbers from DEMS. These take numbers indicate at least properly the correct sequence of the improvisations. What now is indicated as take-4 was called in the studio "take-2". The New DESOR has given its correct title to the last improvisation: Bitches Ball. This is the title of the piano interlude in "Beige" as played in Jan43 in NYC and in Boston as mentioned in Mark Tucker's "Duke Ellington – The Early Years" (p39-41).
Here is an overview of the different releases:
Take numbers from the New DESOR -1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6
LP Up to Date 2007 1 2
LP CBS 88653 (French CBS blue set) 1 2 3 4
LP CBS 88219 (World of DE Vol 2) 1 2 3
DEMS 85/1-8 Part number: 1 1 2 2 3 6
CD Columbia/Legacy 512920: 1 2 3 4
A Hundred Years from Today is a good song, and is mentioned in Alec Wilder's American Popular Song, 1900-1950, p481. It is strongly associated with Jack Teagarden (who recorded the song on 11Nov33), though I recall a wonderful version sung by Lee Wiley which I heard years ago. Wilder draws attention to it in his book. The song dates from 1933, and so there's an earlier link to Ellington than the Money Johnson one Sjef mentioned. At the turn of 1932 and 1933 Duke recorded two pieces on which both Victor Young and Lee Wiley are named as composers, Any Time, Any Day, Any Where, and Eerie Moan.
Quality competition ASV – RCA – Dreyfus
DEMS wrote in the review of ASV 5310 (DEMS 99/4-22/1): It must be said that Alun Morgan was very happy with the perfect sound quality: "some of the early 1940s tracks sound better than the BMG CDs forming the Blanton-Webster band package." It would be interesting to have these tracks compared with the 24 CD box. We found a serious comparison on the Duke-Lym list:
I just acquired Dreyfus 36732 — "Take the A Train" (DEMS 02/1-17/8) and wished to compare it to the ASV 5310 "Stomp, Look and Listen". It turns out that this is a bit difficult, as the 2 releases only have 3 songs in common: Perdido, Chelsea Bridge and Stomp, Look and Listen. The ASV was mastered in 1999, the Dreyfus in 2001.
One other caveat in comparing the two is the fact that the Dreyfus is significantly louder then the ASV; not by a small amount. I'm uncertain if the ASV was mastered too low or if the Dreyfus is using lots of compression to lift the perceived level. When I have a chance, I'll check them both on a digital meter to see, as I'm curious on that point. If I was going to hazard a guess, it would be some of each.
Here's what I found:
1. Perdido - both masterings are enjoyable and both are miles beyond RCA's 24 CD box. This was the only one of the 3 comparisons I found close. The ASV has more detail while the Dreyfus has an all around more pleasing tonal balance. A toss up depending on your preference. I'm not certain which I prefer.
2. Chelsea Bridge - Dreyfus wins this one easily. ASV used either a warped or off center 78. While the Dreyfus also has a bit of pitch inconsistency, it's much more stable then the ASV.
3. Stomp, Look and Listen - I prefer both the tonal balance and the detail of the ASV on this one. At similar volume, the ASV just sounds more realistic. Both versions have more reverb then I'd like; it's more apparent on the Dreyfus. Again, both versions trounce RCA's 24 CD box.
As far as the ASV and the Dreyfus go, if you buy them both you get 41 unique songs from Duke's 40's RCA period (the Dreyfus also has a couple late 30's CBS recordings) between them in best sound ever - so I recommend them both!
Earlier complaints about the Blanton/Webster 3 CD set were mentioned in DEMS 97/4-10/6. The transfers on the 24 CD set were much better but according to Geff Ratcheson still not on the level of ASV and Dreyfus. Speaking of the 24 CD set he wrote: "I'm not real fond of the sound of the 40's material on it."
A more recent ASV release (with a remarkable good quality) is mentioned in this Bulletin, 04/3-44.
I recently bought two Swiss HMV 78's from which I noted an interesting oddity. The records are:
HMV (Sw) JK 2536 - Black and Tan Fantasy/Jubilee Stomp
HMV (Sw) JK 2634 - Blues I Love To Sing/Hot Feet
The odd thing with these records is the fact that they have an imprint in the shellac under the label which is fully readable because the label is sunk into the imprint. In the case of BaTF the imprint gives "Matrix #, a few other numbers like 26/27 and 247, Duke Ellington Orch, +2/16 H6 (colored)". It is of course the last word that causes the interest from my side. I know that in the old days the record companies made a difference between white and colored artists. I guess the imprint was made in the original matrix. However, when looking at the original Victor release (21137) no such imprint can be found. The same goes for the other record mentioned. On other Swiss HMV's in my collection there are no such imprints to be found.
My own assumption is that HMV Switzerland by mistake used the entire matrix area when pressing their copy whereas Victor deleted that area from the stamper.
Am I right ?
DEMS has forwarded Bo Haufman's question to Steven Lasker, who has sent us the following article. (Black and Tan Fantasy and The Blues I Love To Sing are from 26oct27, Jubilee Stomp is from 26Mar28 and Hot Feet is from 7Mar29.)
In the years before 1932, Victor's engineer's marked the central area of their wax master recordings with various notations, such as Haufman reports finding on his Swiss HMVs. These markings are visible on original master parts, many test pressings and some "flush label" foreign pressings (including many Swiss HMVs and Australian HMVs, and some French Disque Grammophones and German Electrolas). Most other 78 rpm issues, including all American Victors, Canadian Victors, and English HMVs, were pressed from stampers from which centers had been excised and replaced, at the time of pressing, by dies or rings that produce what collectors refer to as "sunken label pressings." (Haufman wonders if the appearance of such information on his Swiss 78s is the result of a mistake. Victor's pressmen in Camden, New Jersey would probably have adjudged it to be sloppy work by their overseas colleagues.)
Typically noted in the wax: master number (found above the center hole), take number (read just to the left of the center hole, in the 9:00 position), artist, the first two or three words of the title and equipment settings (also found on Victor's recording sheets; the sheet for Ellington's session of 26oct27 establishes that for BaTF, the amp setting was +2, the filter setting 15, while the level was H-6).
As Haufman suspects, "Colored" means that black talent was used. The term is found on masters recorded by black artists for Victor in 1926 and 1927; it appears less frequently during 1928 and 1929, when the word "race" was substituted with increasing frequency. (That the terms were interchangeable is demonstrated by reference to Swiss HMV pressings of two recordings made at Jelly Roll Morton's Victor session of 9Jul29: mx. BVE-49452-2 was marked "colored" while BVE-49454 was marked "race.") During 1929-30, "R" was substituted for "race" with increasing frequency.
Since Haufman finds the subject of interest, here is an overview of Victor's race recording activity from the beginning until the early 1930s.
African American talent appeared on Victor from the year of its founding, 1901, when Bert Williams and George Walker recorded together and singly. Other pioneer black artists who recorded the company include the Dinwiddie Colored Quartet (1902); [Jim] Europe's Society Orchestra (1913-14); Fisk Jubilee Singers (various years); Creole Jass Band (one rejected title, 1917). A complete list of every artist of color who recorded for Victor between the label's first appearance in 1901 and 1920 would, sadly, not be very much longer that the one just given; the total number of released sides by black artists not from the West Indies in the period 1900-20 was small, perhaps fewer than 100. Considering that in those same 20 years the company waxed more than 24000 titles in total, the overall percentage of performances by black musicians is minuscule. The same neglect of black talent wasn't limited to Victor; it was pervasive among all American recording companies, which meant that the flowering of ragtime and blues and the birth of jazz went largely unrecorded during their formative years.
On 10Aug20, Mamie Smith recorded Crazy Blues for OKeh which became a huge hit for the company and a wake up call to the rest of the industry that demand existed for records of vernacular black music performed by authentic black talent.
Between mid-1920 when Mamie Smith had her first great success and mid-1926, all of the major companies except Victor and Edison began to record black artists extensively. In those years Victor recorded a total of some 11,000 titles, but nearly all were performed by white talent. Released recordings by black talent totalled only 28 or so sides (not counting the few sides where black singers were backed by white musicians). Artists: Eubie Blake and his Shuffle Along Orchestra (1921); Ford Dabney and his Orchestra (two rejected titles, 1921); Piron's New Orleans Orchestra (1923-25); Arthur Gibbs and his Gang (1923); James P. Johnson (1923); Rosa Henderson (1923); Edna Hicks (1923); Lizzie Miles (1923); Emma Lewis (1923); Ethel Ridley (1923); Snowden's Nov. Orch. (Ellington's first recording, rejected, 1923); Sissle and Blake (1923-24).
So why did the Victor Talking Machine Company, the largest record company in the land, pass up sales opportunities by basically ignoring vernacular African American music, which appealed not only to African Americans but also some white Americans? Before invoking the specter of racism, however, a dash of context: Victor (as well as Edison) were to more or less equal degree also ignoring the vernacular musical sounds of rural white America that were finding expression in hillbilly music.
I can't prove it (and doubt anyone ever will) but I suspect the explanation may lie with a conscious effort by Victor to market their brand as the most prestigious with the most expensive records, the most prestigious artists, and the most refined and genteel retail outlets where the snootiest customers would feel comfortable, and where African Americans with highbrow tastes weren't necessarily excluded (I have heard considerable anecdotal evidence that at least some African American homes in the early 20th Century boasted Victrolas and classical "Red Seal" records by Caruso and other famous Victor artists). I imagine the company's thinking might have gone like this: How comfortable will our affluent clientele be if they have to rub elbows with lower-class types looking for race or hillbilly records? But absent evidence, we can only speculate-- and be genuinely grateful that Victor did finally wake up to the realization that a substantial audience existed for records of vernacular American music played by African Americans and rural whites.
Ralph Peer, who had directed field recording activity for OKeh, in mid-1926 undertook to institute a race and hillbilly program at Victor. His pay, researcher Dick Spottswood informs, was a dollar a year. Why so little? He made his money--a small fortune, eventually--by, whenever possible, acquiring publishing rights for his own company. His robust program of recordings by race artists began 9Jul26. Recordings by Victor of hillbilly artists began in earnest after field trips Peer supervised to Bristol, Tennessee and Charlotte, North Carolina in July and August 1927 that saw the first recordings of the Carter Family and other future country stars.
Just as we find "colored" or "race" etched in the central area of master recordings intended for the African American market, so "hillbilly" is found etched in the central area of master recordings intended for the hillbilly market.
No equivalent marking is encountered on popular records intended for the domestic catalog, or on 'Red Seal' (classical) records. Discographers I have spoken with strongly suspect that ethnic records are marked "Foreign," "German," "Italian," "Mexican" and so on depending on artist and intended market, but we've not been able to locate any tests or pressings with visible markings to confirm the theory.
Striking new sleeves for Victor's minority series records appeared in the fall of 1928. The front of each sleeve bore woodblock cuts showing eight different scenes depicting eight different musical groups. The ethnic sleeve was printed in orange ink, the hillbilly in brown, the race sleeve in blue; each of the three types of sleeves bear different designs. (The classifications 'race,' 'hillbilly, or 'foreign' weren't mentioned. The only text on the front, besides the catalog number of the eight scenes depicted, was "Victor Records You Will Like. Hear These Records on Your Next Visit to our Store.")
At the beginning of 1929, coincident with the acquisition of Victor by RCA, releases by minority (hillbilly, race and ethnic) artists that had formerly appeared in the regular domestic 20000-21000 series now began appearing in various series prefixed with the letter "V" followed by a dash. Hillbilly records would thenceforth be released in the V-40000 series, race records in the V-38000 series, foreign series records in a bewildering array of series so numerous that rather than cite them I direct the interested reader's attention instead to the introduction to Dick Spottswood's "Ethnic Music on Records" Volume 1 (University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 1990) where the many series are listed.
The hillbilly and race series stayed in the V-series during 1929 and 1930. At a record sales committee meeting held 12Nov30, it was recommended that "beginning with the January listing we abandon the practice of listing race and hillbilly records in the "V" series. Beginning with this issue the hillbilly records will be numbered 23500 etc. and the race records 23250 etc. It was further decided that when the domestic listings have reached the 23000 series that the next listing will appear in the 24000 series."
The "V" series prefix was used exclusively for ethnic series records until 1942, when Victor entirely revamped their numbering system for new releases.
A brief overview of various hot dance, race and hillbilly series records released by Victor between 1929 and 1934 follows. Much of the data found here first appeared in 1990 in an article written by Dick Spottswood for 78 Quarterly #5 (pages 64-65), and is supplemented with data supplied by BMG archivist Vince Giordano.
Victor Race Records (using 98% black talent): Catalog numbers V-38000 to V-38050, released between 8Jan29 and 17May29; V-38500 to V-38631, released between 5Apr29 and 21Dec30; 23250 to 23424, released between 2Jan31 and 24Jan34. Victor released a total of 357 race issues over a five-year period. (Race-series issues recorded by integrated bands: V-38046 by Eddie [Condon]'s Hot Shots; V-38050 by Fats Waller and his Buddies; V-38576 by Jones and Collins Astoria Hot Eight. Race-series records by white artists: V-38044 by Slim and his Hot Boys; 23371 by Memphis Stompers; 23377 by Dickson's Harlem Orchestra.)
Victor Red Hot Dance Tunes (using black, white and integrated bands): Catalog numbers V-38051 through V-38146 were released between 21Jun29 and 15Aug30; the series continued with issues numbered 23000 to 23041 which were released between 12Sep30 and 10Apr31. Thus, Victor released 138 Red Hot Dance Tune issues in a 22-month period. Red Hot Dance Tune releases begin appearing in the regular domestic series beginning with 22628 by McKinney's Cotton Pickers and 22629 by Snooks and his Memphis Ramblers, released 23Mar31 and 10Apr31, respectively. Unlike race records (few of which were by white artists) Red Hot Dance Tune releases often coupled sides by black artists with sides by white ones.
Old Familiar Tunes & Novelties (hillbilly records): Catalog numbers V-40000 through V-40335 were released between Jan29 and Dec30; 23500 through 23859 were released between 2Jan31 and either Dec33 or Jan34.
Interestingly, while the term "race" was routinely used to categorize vernacular African American music in the 1930s, Victor in the 1920s didn't use the term in any of their advertising or supplements that I can recall. The most extensive Victor race catalog I've seen, published in July 1930, instead promotes the following categories on its covers (punctuation added): "Vocal Blues; Religious; Spirituals; Red Hot Dance Tunes; Sermons; Novelties."
Returning to the subject raised by Haufman of the categorizations implicit in the wax markings, some of Victor's engineer's and ledger keepers apparently took an ironic view of the practice; the ledger sheet for the integrated (4 white, 3 black) 8Feb29 session by Eddie's Hot Shots [Eddie Condon, that is] shows the group as "U.S.F. Race" ("U.S.F." meaning "United States Foreign")! The ledger sheets for the Mound City Blues Blowers integrated sessions of 25Sep29 and 14Nov29, as well as the sheet for the 16Dec29 session by The McCravy Brothers (hillbilly artists) describe the music recorded as "Native American Melodies." Similarly, my test pressing of Bix Beiderbecke's Deep Down South (8Sep30) is marked "(N.A.)"; the corresponding ledger sheet is silent as to what that means.
In 1931 and 1932, Victor phased out the practice of marking their waxes in the central area, opting instead to notate such data as master number and take elsewhere on their waxes, near the outer rim.
Acknowledgements: Dick Spottswood, Vince Giordano, Richard Nevins,
Seth Winner, Larry Holdridge, James Parten.
Steven Lasker, Nov04.**