DUKE ELLINGTON MUSIC SOCIETY
08/3 December 2008 - March 2009
Our 30th Year of Publication
FOUNDER: BENNY AASLAND
Voort 18b, 2328 Meerle, Belgium
Telephone: +32 3 315 75 83
See DEMS 08/2-6/3.
Steven Lasker contacted me privately to tell me that besides the four itinerary researchers I mentioned in my report (Stratemann, Igo, Pilkington and Ewing), there were at least several others who made substantial Itinerary contributions and that Stratemann is unfortunately no longer around to voice his opinion as to the relative value of each individual's contributions.
I gave the impression by using the same word, “enormously”, to describe how Ken Vail benefitted from Klaus’s work and how Klaus himself benefitted from the work of Joe Igo, Gordon Ewing and Art Pilkington, that Klaus had hardly done any research for the Itinerary himself (like Ken Vail). This impression was partially corrected in the same paragraph by my statement that Gordon and Klaus exchanged their research results as if they both participated for let’s say 50%. I should have known better. I should have gone through my correspondence with both Klaus and Gordon.
On 18Mar91 Gordon wrote to me: “I sent Klaus five years of the Itinerary. Rick [Gordon’s son] is printing and duplicating the complete Itinerary and will send out the latest revision to Klaus, Benny [Aasland], Giovanni [Volonté], Art [Pilkington] and the Smithsonian [Institution] next week.”
On 17Mar91 Klaus Stratemann wrote to me: “I was quite surprised when Gordon offered to share the data from the ‘Ellington Chronicle’ with me, as - like everyone else, I guess - I was under the impression that the ultimate goal of his efforts was to have Joe Igo's work published once it was complete.
On the other hand, I can understand his reluctance to do so. For one, finding a publisher for this kind of specialized material would not be easy, a difficulty I encounter myself. Secondly, chronicling Ellington's activities is an enormously difficult enterprise, which is why neither the Igo-Ewing chronicle nor my own itineraries are near completeness. The combination of both may get us closer to that goal, but there'll be much room left for improvement.
If the combined data come out in my book, which is not devoted to the itinerary exclusively, as you know, we can excuse the majority of defects with the argument that it was never intended to be a day-to-day chronicle in the first place, and that it should be regarded as the best possible effort of the moment, a skeleton with a little meat here and there, but with ample opportunity left for other interested parties to use their own resources for addition and correction, such as research on a local basis.
In a work as specialized as the Igo Chronicle, I think people would not quite as readily tolerate omissions and flaws.”
And a little further in the same letter, Klaus wrote: “Of course, Joe Igo and Gordon will receive due credit for the contribution that their work will mean to [my] work, just like my other collaborators. However, the itinerary sections of my book being the one area where errors will most likely be detected, I think I'll have to be careful not to overemphasize their contribution. It would be quite unfair to create the impression that Joe Igo's Chronicle was the basis of my itineraries and as such the root of my defects, when in fact it is not. It's going to be no more than an adjunct to my own research, and all responsibility for the combined results - the good and particularly the bad - rests with me.”
Steven Lasker told me that he worked closely with Klaus on “Day by Day and Film by Film” and that he had the opportunity to compare the Itinerary (at the Smithsonian) and Klaus’s manuscript, which brought him to his opinion: “Klaus was the principal research force behind ‘Day by Day,’ and his individual efforts outweighed those of everyone else combined, so one should either credit Stratemann singly, or credit Stratemann assisted by an international team of researchers whose names can be found in the acknowledgments section of the book.”
It goes without saying that the more recent Itineraries by Steven Lasker “The Washingtonians: A Miscellany” (see DEMS Bulletin 02/2 first page) and by Ken Steiner “Wild Throng Dances Madly in Cellar Club” (see DEMS Bulletin 08/2-6/3) have nothing to do with the Klaus Stratemann Itinerary (which did not cover the same period) or with the Joe Igo Chronicle (which had hardly any entries for the early years).
Just surfaced: My correspondence with Klaus Stratemann. In a letter to me dated 15Mar91, Klaus wrote:
“Your letter of February 23 arrived just as I was in the process of working my way through the first pages Gordon Ewing had sent me, covering the years 1965 to 1969. There you have the reason for my delayed answer.
Gordon's files so far have not really provided very much that I did not have, because I had covered these years pretty well myself.....Unfortunately, the way Gordon's database is structured, his files provide nothing but a mere skeleton of information for a given date, less than I have usually tried to incorporate from the material I researched myself. Also, as Gordon points out in each of his letters to me, the "Chronicle" is still a work in progress, with many loose ends that are unfortunately not always recognizable as such. I have to be a bit careful deciding what I want to accept and what not....
To answer some of your questions:
The collaboration with Gordon does not mean that I'll extend my book to the years prior to 1929. I never even contemplated that seriously, but if I did, the reasons against an expansion would be quite simple:
For one, I would have to start my research again (I never read Variety earlier than 1928, for instance). Secondly, the Ellington band began extensive travelling only after its exit from regular employment at the Cotton Club, and only that's when the itinerary becomes interesting. Also, I don't think that--without access to the local papers--I could ever cover those summer tours in New England and all the other gigs outside the Cotton Club as thoroughly as I would like to. Finally, Mark Tucker has done most of that, and why should I repeat his data?
.....For my book, 1929 and BLACK AND TAN remain the starting point (unless an earlier film showed up, of which there is no hope, I guess).”
You're welcome to work this into your article. It's provides a nice set-up to the subject of the research done by Ken and me--and Ken's discovery of the reference to the 1925 film "Headlines" which we all hope to see one day soon. (I suppose it's possible we'll see Toby sporting a full head of hair!)
The least significant LP
Another Gotham 12" LP with Ellington has surfaced. But it's really only a curiosity, as there isn't any music. It is a two-sided disc devoted to "Personalities in Print" who are interviewed by Willard Espy. "Week of April 15, 1957" is shown on the label and in the run-out, so I take this to be a transcribed radio program. Side A (GRC-4492-A) cut one: Ernie Kovacs; cut two: Don Dimond, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman. Side B (GRC-4492-B) has three cuts, one each by Gustave Springer, Morris Frank and Herbert Mayes. In the run-out area on each side: the "GRC" number and "JSF-.25RD-S-40957." Don Dimond, music director for Radio Free Europe is interviewed and plays clips of Duke Ellington saying "hello friends and goodbye" in Czech and Woody Herman singing a snippet of a lullaby his mother had taught him--in Polish! Ellington's name appears on the label, and his voice is briefly heard on the record, so this disc qualifies as an Ellington item, but allow me to suggest that this may well be the least significant record in the entire Ellington discography (unless you speak Czech, of course).
Here is yet another query from 1945, and an interesting one, I think.
Has there ever been any discussion in DEMS Bulletin about the trombone solo in Hollywood Hangover? Klaus Götting's invaluable index in 97/2 reveals nothing prior to 1997 and I do not recall any more recent discussion, though my memory is not infallible.
The interest lies in the fact that, in DE - A Listener's Guide (1999, though written long before as we know), Eddie Lambert writes, of this solo: 'an open trombone solo from Nanton (his first on record since the twenties!)' (p122); and again: 'the recordings of this number are unique in being the only Ellington items since the very early thirties to feature open trombone solos by Nanton' (p127). In contrast, Eddie's inlay note in vol.5 of the Circle World Broadcasting Transcriptions Series, dated 1985, CCD105, states: '...a trombonist who sounds a little like Joe Nanton playing open but who is surely Lawrence Brown.'
The minor discrepancy between 'twenties' and 'very early thirties' interests me not at all. But the fact that Eddie changed his mind about the trombonist's identity is very interesting. Not least because it is unclear, from what he writes, in which direction he changed it.
My first port of call for trombone issues is always Duke's Bones, but Kurt Dietrich has nothing to say about Hollywood Hangover. In his first edition at least, he didn't consider much of the music beyond the recordings for Victor, Columbia et al., so Hollywood Hangover is off his limits unfortunately.
New DESOR has Tricky on all performances, with Wilbur De Paris taking over after Tricky suffered his stroke, including during the brief period in 1946 when he was back in the band. I go for Tricky too.
As far as we have been able to trace, nothing about this solo has ever been mentioned in DEMS Bulletin.
My vote also goes to Tricky.
See DEMS 06/1-29
Wandering through past Bulletins I discovered your notes on "Bubber Miley, Rare Recordings, 1924 - 1931". The notes are a classic of their kind and, discussing track 17, you mention the intended BMG CD devoted to Bubber. Do you know if it has yet been issued and, if so, can you give details, please?
We asked Steven Lasker, who wrote to us: “Bubber Miley? Deader than a doorknob, I suppose. The major companies only reissue the big names nowadays, and fewer of those as they used to. These are dark days for the industry.”
Nevertheless take -3 of St’ Louis Blues was in 1999 included in the 24 CD box set from RCA “The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition” on disc 2.
Joya Sherrill and Blue Jay
At the top of the left column of page 6 of DEMS Bulletin 98/2 is a reference to a song based, so Joya said, on a children's playground song, Blue Jay's Whooping Cough. It comes up in my own report on the E98 conference in Chicago. A bracketed note at the end of the paragraph has the information that the recording, titled Blue Jay, first came out on a 1978 LP. Also that it was recorded in New York on 5Jul45.
I am fairly sure that the bracketed note is not my work, if only because I have no expertise at all on these discographical matters, particularly where non-Ellington Ellingtonia is concerned. But I find that Willie Timner's 4th Edition dates Blue Jay to 26Jan45 in LA. See pages 466-7.
Can you tell me if this discrepancy has been cleared up at some point since?
Can you also refer back to what Joya said about the song in the presentation? It was the Smithsonian contribution, titled Three Lovely Ladies of Song, and it was the last one before the lunch break on the Friday morning. In particular, did she suggest she had a hand in working up the playground song into Blue Jay in the same way she said a minute or so earlier she worked up Kissing Bug?
Timner is right, I was wrong in my remark between parentheses. I think I know now what caused my mistake over the date. I looked it up in Jepsen and I took the location and the beginning of the date from the previous session, NYC, 5Jul44. I mixed things up by taking the year 1945 from the proper session.
I have made a copy on DVD (my first attempt) of the presentation of 7May98 by Deborra Richardson. Joya is very explicit about the creation of Kissing Bug. Rex Stewart supplied the music and Joya wrote the lyrics. Blue Jay was apparently an existing song, Joya remembered singing at school. The melody existed already. Joya also remembered a few of the words. She completed the lyrics with her own writing. That’s what I understood from the presentation. Hope you like it. The loss in quality of the images is roughly the same as when copying on tape. The sound however came through quite well. Bad parts stayed bad and good parts stayed good without additional loss.
The sound is the main thing of these recordings. You may wonder why I use video tapes instead of audio tapes. Most presentations take more than 45 minutes, which is the limit of one side of a music cassette; tape in 60 minutes cassettes is too weak. Video cassettes give you 3 hours time before you have to put a new tape in the camera.
See DEMS 08/2-24
In the latest DEMS Bulletin I found the contribution of Bo Haufman about the John Steiner “Merry Christmas” 78rpm. I bought this test pressing and I can confirm your statements. I send you an audio copy of both releases of this record with two photocopies of the two different labels. I do not hear any difference between both releases, but I am sure you want to check this yourself.
Jordi Navas Ferrer
Thank you very much for your message and for the copies. We start to believe that Bo Haufman has a different copy again. He mentioned that he has a SD-78, without the words “Merry Christmas” but on the label of your test pressing there is no mention of SD. In print we see: 78 RPM, Lateral, 96 lines, outside start, Technical Recording Service, P.O.Box 5911, Chicago ILL. (COPY). In red typewritten: Frankie and Johnnie [sic] Part One (or Part Two) Ellington 3-21-45.
The date is wrong. The recording was made at the Civic Opera House on 25Mar45. There is indeed no difference between both audio copies, with the exception of one: The test pressing is more complete at the start. The “Merry Christmas” release does not have the opening 8 bars by the band. We do not think that you misplaced your pick-up at the start of Part One of the “Merry Christmas” release, because we have the same release, on which the opening bars are also missing.
The label of my copy is in black/grey with the words "FRANKIE AND JOHNNIE" and "DUKE ELLINGTON" typewritten in red. Side two has "PART II" also typewritten in red.
"Merry Christmas" is not mentioned.
In the wax of side one is engraved "UP 501 B" and on side two "UP 502".
When playing the record I hear no 8 bars by the band but Duke starts playing right away. However, it is not a normal start of a record so possibly something has been deleted from the very beginning.
As the first side is "UP 501 B" one cannot help wondering if there exists a "UP 501 A" ??
There is no doubt in my mind that you have exactly the same pressing as the famous “Merry Christmas” release. I found on the photo-copies from Jordi the numbers UP 501 ? and UP 502 ? in the wax. It is impossible to say if the question mark stands for an A or a B. I have not received your photo-copies by e-mail. I hope to be able to publish the photo-copies from Jordi in the next Bulletin.
Ellington in Umeå Sweden
See DEMS 08/2-7
If you want to visit You Tube in order to see this interview do not forget the connection between the F and the h in the address. This connection becomes invisible when you underline the address. This is the proper address: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9F_hRpwL4M>
I found it immediately after I asked for the combination Ellington Helsinki. But as Sven told us, the recording has nothing to do with Helsinki.
It is with great sorrow that we have seen in the latest (November) DESS Newsletter that Sven Eriksson is no longer with us.
I like to mention that Sven's list of Hodges' compositions is available through my Hodges website at http://tinyurl.com/zcv67 then click on "Johnny Hodges - The Composer" on the sidebar.
The Queen’s Suite
As you can read in the report of the London Ellington conference (DEMS 08/2-6/12) Steven Lasker brought with him a copy of the “Queens Suite” LP. As you can see on the picture of the labels, one side was pressed in Stereo and one side in Mono. Steven has sent copies of both sides on a CD to DEMS and we have found out that there is a slight difference between the Mono version and the Pablo releases in the selection Apes and Peacocks.
I am not sure if this is merely an insert or if the whole number has been recorded twice. The only difference I hear starts at bar 28 in the 2° chorus, where the brass is very different as far as the moment it starts playing is concerned. It does not mean that we have to make another description. The total of choruses and bars fits perfectly in both cases. I guess that Duke made an insert because he didn't want the brass section to start too early (as on the Mono side of Steven’s LP). It is so obvious that you can undoubtedly hear the difference without synchronous listening. It is not a matter of different mixing, but it actually seems to be a correction in the score.
In the Stereo version is a slight difference with the Pablo releases. This time it seems that the end of Northern Lights was recorded more than once. I presume that something was wrong with it and that there had to be an insert made, to replace the corrupted ending. It seems that the join in the Pablo releases between the piece and the insert is a very little bit different from the join in the Stereo version of Steven’s LP. On Steven’s LP one or more notes are missing at the end of “cod6BAND,”. It is much less than one bar. I would say that the “cod” has 5,5 or 5,75 bars. Definitely not the same 6 bars as on the Pablo releases.
All the other selections are the same as on the original Pablo LP and my Japanese CD (DEMS 84/4-9&10&11;87/4-4;88/4-6).
Duke's Far and Middle East Tour 1963
I can't help wondering that we still know so little about two video sequences existing from the French documentary "La Légende Du Duke" (see DEMS 01/2-11). They consisted of two lengthy portions of 4 and 11 minutes respectively and they were supposed to have been filmed in Calcutta or Bombay during Oct63 and Teheran or Bagdad during Nov63. Small parts were later used for the PBS documentary "Billy Strayhorn, Lush Life" (DEMS 07/1-42).
We know that some filming for the State Department Tour survive at the Library Of Congress in Washington and possibly in the Voice Of America archives, but nothing else has shown up for years and even detailed info concerning dates and locations of the existing recordings is missing.
I can't imagine that nobody is interested in exploring the LOC files in Washington and I can only notice that nothing of these interesting 15 minutes found its way into The New DESOR either.
Café au Lait
See DEMS 08/2-18
We have listened again to the cassette of this session that Jerry Valburn sent me some years ago and compared it with the CD Columbia CK 65568 and the LP UTD 2006. On the cassette we have 5638f (4DE) and 5638g (10DE and then an interruption). On CD and LP we don't have 5638f, and 5638g is complete (12DE). Consequently we have now to do these corrections: on page 229 of DEDOR, 5638f is unissued and on page 783 the description is 5638g: int12 DE, instead of 10DE.
Harry Carney at Carnegie Hall
What I did find interesting while going through Norman Granz-JATP itinerary, was the fact that on 5May, 12May & 24May47 Harry Carney is listed as performing with JATP at Carnegie Hall on those dates! I didn't know that. This is from the detailed booklet that was part of the 10CD Verve boxed set "The Complete JATP on Verve 1944-49.” There is no indication that any of this was recorded by Granz.
Black and Tan Fantasie
One of the highly enjoyable items to be found on Ellington on the web is a collection of Ellington 78 rpm labels. One of the labels shown is Victor 24861-A with "Black And Tan Fantasie". The recording is said to have been made on 6oct27 corresponding to item DE 2708a in New DESOR. Is that really true?
According to New DESOR that recording is unissued and it was not included in the RCA Centennial edition.
No it isn't true. Black and Tan Fantasie on Victor USA 24861 was recorded on 26oct27 (New DESOR 2709a). Only the early issues had this wrong title. Later releases carried the correct title: Black and Tan Fantasy.
Membran 228427 444 — Quadromania (4 CD set)
See DEMS 06/1-27
I noticed you wrote re Quadromania CD2: “Tracks 3 and 4 are from 21Jan42 not 1944. What a strange instrument is in the hands of Juan Tizol: "frh"?”
While I'm writing this quite a few years late, I thought it might interest you to know it likely stands for "French horn." My daughter played that instrument throughout high school, and I have a French horn in my Strictly Ellington band to cover one of the trombone parts. I didn't know JT played horn but I have seen a photo of one of the bandsmen, I think I recall it being Mercer, from behind holding a mellophone. It's a similar size and shape although the sound is quite different. Mellophones normally used a cornet mouthpiece, and had piston valves. French horns use a much smaller mouthpiece and have rotary valves. The mellophone bell points to the left of the player's body instead of the right, so the valves are operated with the right hand on the mellophone instead of the left as on the French horn. A large part of a French horn player's technique is the shaping of the sound by his right hand, placed inside the bell. Apparently you don't put your hand into mellophone bells. And finally, mellophones as I recall them were eventually superseded in the 1950s or 1960s by something called a mellophonium, which I think is essentially the same instrument but designed to point forward like a flugelhorn. More than you ever wanted to know, eh?
Retrieval 79053 — Swing Is the Thing
See DEMS 08/2-27
In the last Bulletin you mentioned that the "Swing Is the Thing" compilation on Retrieval 79053, contains the B master of St. Louis Blues, and is the first time you are aware of its appearance on a CD. Let me add that I have the "Bing Crosby Story - Volume 1 (1928-1932) the early jazz years" on a Sony double CD, which contains both the A and B takes in correct sequence. The digital transfers are excellent, and it's enjoyable to listen for a direct comparison of the two versions.
Change of Mind
See DEMS 08/2-13
My "Change of Mind" inquiry, elicited no responses, but I have another question regarding the music: The Ellington band surely recorded MORE than is heard on the soundtrack. It would be interesting to learn if the producers of Change of Mind, preserved tapes of the music. Perhaps the matter could be investigated.
Thanks to Bjarne Busk the recorded music of Change of Mind that was found in the Danish collection has been documented in The New DESOR, sessions 6912, 6916 and 6917. A very small part of these recordings have been broadcast through the Danish Radio broadcast #28 on 2Aug85 by Knud Sørensen as sixteen tracks in three groups plus the selection titled Neo-Creole. Fifteen of these sixteen tracks have been “released” on DEMS cassette CA-29 (2001) and Neo-Creole on CA-26 (1999). There are also a few selections released on Pablo LP/CDs. Wanderlust on Up In Duke’s Workshop and What Good Am I Without You? titled as Edward the First on The Intimate Ellington.
Wrong Liner-notes on LP Jazz Archives JA-15
See DEMS 84/3-8; 84/4-11 and 88/4-4.
I don't know whether you are familiar with the jazz research e-mail group that is centered on Rutgers, but someone has posted an interesting note today. It concerns the version of Sweet Georgia Brown on the LP Jazz Archives JA-15, "Ben Webster/A Tribute To A Great Jazzman".
According to this e-mail the performance, dated as June 15, 1943, includes a chase sequence between Dizzy and Ray Nance.
According to my researches Dizzy played with Ellington only for four weeks from October 14 to November 10, 1944. In June he was still with Earl Hines and at that time Earl's band was on a southern and southwestern tour.
Do you have any further light to shed?
You are right. Dizzy did not participate in that broadcast titled “Jumpin’ Jive” and dated in Jul43. Not Jun43! The wrong information comes from the discographical data on the jacket of the LP. There has been some discussion in DEMS Bulletins, mentioned at the top of this article. These Bulletins are now accessible on the web-site www.depanorama.net/dems.
Dizzy stayed with Duke one day shorter than you indicate and one year earlier. From 14oct43 until 9Nov43. He participated in the recording session for the Worlds Transcriptions on 8Nov43 but the next day the band continued with the recordings without Dizzy.
My bible (the New DESOR) mentions Harold Baker and Taft Jordan as the chasers in Sweet Georgia Brown. Taft being the high note specialist.
For members with access to Google.
Google started to manage the vast archive of Life Magazine photography. I’ve searched by name: Duke Ellington and a lot of beautiful pictures surfaced, many of them from the Gjon Mili studio.
Check this: http://images.google.com/images?q=duke+ellington&q=source%3Alife
Click on each image and on the amplified image click again in the link View Full Size to get a full screen picture such as this: