10/1 April - July 2010
Our 32nd Year of Publication


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Personnel of J.S. Trotter's Orchestra on the Three 1941 Kraft Music Hall Broadcasts that Featured Ellington and Blanton

DEMS 10/1-12

In 1941, Duke Ellington and Jimmie Blanton appeared as guests on three broadcasts of the Kraft Music Hall, which Bing Crosby hosted, on 16Jun, 29May and 9oct. Ellington and Blanton were accompanied on each occasion by John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra. Just in case anyone is curious as to the identities of the members of Trotter's orchestra, they were revealed in the union steward's report filed with Musicians Mutual Protective Association Local 47, A. F. of M., Los Angeles, and preserved in their files. The reports also contain details of rehearsal and broadcast times. (Ellington and Blanton didn't necessarily attend all of the rehearsals.)


Rehearsal Data

12 Men — 1/15/41 — From  9:30pm to 11:00pm
 6 Men — 1/15/41 — From  9:30pm to 11:30pm
12 Men — 1/16/41 — From 11:00am to  2:00pm
 6 Men — 1/16/41 — From 11:00am to  2:30pm
[18Men???]       — From  4:00pm to  6:00pm

The broadcast took place from 6pm to 7pm 16Jan41 over NBC (station KFI in Los Angeles).
The personnel is listed as:
E. Ehlert, C. Green, A. Secrest, trumpets;
G. Gloyde, A. Lincoln, trombones;
D. Clark, M. Friedman, J. Krechter, J. Mayhew, saxes;
H. Castleton, S. Freed, G. Joyce, M. Sobolewsky, violins;
C. LaVere, piano; P. Botkin, guitar; F. Whiting, bass; L. Jones, drums.
T. Duncan is listed as the arranger, J. Trotter as the conductor, Z. Snyder as the copyist, S. Freed as the librarian and W. Marks as the Steward.


Rehearsal Data
5/28/41 — From 10:00 to 11:30
5/29/41 — From 10:30 to 1:30 and from 2:30 to 5:00

The broadcast took place from 5pm to 6pm 29May41 over NBC. The personnel is the same as on 16Jan, but with K. Jackson, trombone, added.


Rehearsal Data

10/8/41 — From 10:30 to 12:00
10/9/41 — From 11:00 to  2:00 and from 4:00 to 6:00.

The broadcast took place from 6pm to 7pm 9oct41 over NBC. The personnel is the same as on 29May41, but E. Kuczborski, trombone, replaced A. Lincoln, and Geo Hill, sax, substituted for J. Mayhew who was absent due to illness.

Steven Lasker

Several Corrections for The New DESOR and for DEMS Bulletin

DEMS 10/1-13

1. I recently purchased a copy of the 24CD RCA box set.
The CD #22, track #8 version of Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me appears to be a truncated version of DE6643d (track #14 on the same CD) instead of DE6645b (e.g. "The Popular Duke Ellington" CD version, track #8).
2. Also, CD #23, track #13, Blood Count, is DE6781aj instead of the unreleased DE6781ai.
3. Also, on Disk 24 of the RCA 24CD box, tracks 2 and 3 have swapped info, that is, X02 is Lotus Blossom (6782z) (not 6785d) and X03 is Lotus Blossom (6785d) (not 6782z).
4. I purchased "Alternative Takes Vol. 3" [Neatwork RP-2023] and compared the tracks and takes against those I already have.
Blue Ramble, track 8, is listed as Take B (DE3208c) per 02/1 DEMS 18/4.
"The Best of Duke Ellington" [
Sony&BMG 88697302362 (4CD box)] Disk 1, New DESOR Disk 0919, track A10, is also listed as DE3208c. But both tracks cannot be the same recording, as they differ. "Alternative Takes Vol. 3" track 8 has a banjo flourish at 1:31. There is no corresponding banjo flourish on track A10 of Disk 0919 [Correction-sheet 3030]. Is track A10 actually DE3208b, take A?
Brian Koller

1. You are right. What is on track #8 of CD #22 is not the same as what is on "The Popular Duke Ellington" CD (RCA 09026-68705-2) on track #8. I do however not agree with you that track #8 on CD #22 is a truncated version of track #14 of the same CD. They are different from each other from beginning to end.
Because of the fact that Duke's piano introduction on "The Popular Duke Ellington" CD is so different from both the introductions as played on 9 and 11May66, I started to suspect the version on "The Popular Duke Ellington" CD and compared every release that I have of the 11May66 recording with tracks #8 and #14 on the RCA CD #22.
It turned out that all my releases with the exception of "The Popular Duke Ellington" CD are identical to track #8 of the RCA CD #22.
I compared the LP LSP-3576 "The Popular Duke Ellington"; the CD PD 89565 "In the Sixties" (87/3-2); the CD B&C Records 74082-2 "1940's Swing Back with Duke Ellington" (90/1-5); the CD That's Jazz TJ 032 (93/2-4) and the CD Success 16139 (00/3-13/1).
It sounds to me as though track #8 of "The Popular Duke Ellington" CD, RCA 09026-68705-2, is taken from a Medley. The number of recordings of the Medleys is so great that it would take several months to make all the comparisons and find out if this is indeed a "fresh" recording. It is in any case different from what it was supposed to be in DEMS 97/4-10.
2. You are right. On Correction-sheet 3004, item W01 track W13, Blood Count should read (6718aj).
3. You are right again. Correction-sheet 3004 is mistaken. Item X01 track 2 is Lotus Blossom 6782z, the earliest released and shorter version without Harry Carney. Track 3 is 6785d, the long version with Harry Carney. The mistake is explicable because it was already mixed up in the book of the 24CD RCA box set (page 119) and on the "jacket" of CD #24.
4. Yes. This is an inexplicable and inexcusable error, made by me. The Correction-sheet should be corrected and I will also correct my report in DEMS 08/3-30, so as not to mislead future readers, as I have done with my Italian friends.
Sjef Hoefsmit


Who is the trumpet soloist?

DEMS 10/1-14

See DEMS 09/3-13
We have again listened very carefully to all the trumpet solos indicated by Graham Colombé. We confirm our identifications of the soloists, with three exceptions:

4559e Stomp, Look and Listen. The attribution to Cat Anderson of the last 4 bars is accurate. The correction has already been made, see DEMS 05/3-57 p. 1159.

5221c, 5405c How High the Moon. The sequence suggested by Graham Colombé could be the correct one (the phrasing of the last 4 bars recalls Clark Terry). At any rate, further investigations are needed, mainly on the remaining versions of the title.

6534f Mood Indigo. The soloist is Cootie Williams without any doubt. We do not know how we came to make so glaring a mistake; we apologize to the readers and we make the correction. (See 10/1-28 page 1030.)

Concerning the phrasing of Ray Nance, we would suggest to Graham Colombé: do not mislead yourself by the use of the mutes! Moreover Ray Nance, in the forties, builds solos very differently one from another, even in the same title; the phrasing often recalls that of Rex Stewart. Above all, you must pay attention to the sound of the soloist.
Giovanni Volonté and Luciano Massagli, Milano 5Feb10.

I have no intention of venturing into the minefield of identifying Ellington trumpeters, least of all in the middle 1940s. But I would add one general point to what Michael Kilpatrick has to say [in DEMS 09/3-13], which is already implicit in Giovanni’s and Luciano’s response. The Ellington trumpeters were famously skilled at adopting one another’s musical personae, chameleon-like. In 1945, for example, there were five players in the section and during the Zanzibar residency in the autumn one or other of them was often absent from a Treasury Show. It happened frequently that one was covering for an absent other. When Ray Nance left to try his luck on 52nd Street he was not replaced, and the section reverted to four. A replacement was of course required, and found, when Rex left, after the end of the Zanzibar residency.
Roger Boyes

Who subbed for Louie ?

DEMS 10/1-15

See DEMS 09/3-20

Steven Harris mentioned three hitherto unknown appearances of the Duke.
I'm surprised not to find any comment on your part (so far).
- COLDWATER LAKE, Michigan late Nov/early DDec '52: source?
- FAIRFIELD Stadium Bowl 28jul55 must certaainly read 28Jul56.
- HAMILTON (Ontario) The Forum 12Dec55 is nnot impossible but very unlikely, because the trip to the next day's date in Dodge City (Kansas) on 13Dec55 would have been a VERY tough one, exceeding by far the "usual" trips of as much as approx 500 miles.
Any comment?
Klaus Götting

The source for the first item is known: it was Jerry McKenzie in a 1994 interview with Steven Harris. What we should like to know is the correct date, because that also gives us some information about the whereabouts of Louie Bellson.
The second item is obviously a typing error (from Steven Harris). The third is indeed rather unlikely.

The Harlem Footwarmers

DEMS 10/1-16

As was discussed in DEMS 01/2-18/1 and 01/3-13-1, all 78s of the OKeh Mood Indigo and the Odeon/Parlophone Three Little Words are pressed from dubbed master parts, and bear master numbers W480023B and W480028E respectively. These were dubbed from masters W404481 and W404520. In the two DEMS bulletins just referenced, I surmised that the dubbed masters were copied from the "A" takes of both titles. I am happy to report that it is now confirmed that the OKeh Mood Indigo was indeed dubbed from W404481A, the evidence being found in Columbia's "Rerecording book," which I am told was in the Sony archives in the early 1990s but has since disappeared. A collector of Greek and Turkish 78s photocopied some--but not all--of the book before it disappeared, and made copies of his copies for Harry Coster, who tells me that W480023 A and B (-B was issued) were rerecorded on 30oct30 from a "W.L.[white label?] test" of W404481A. There is also a note "inc. volume" which I suppose means that the master was rerecorded in order to increase volume. The collector of Greek and Turkish 78 didn't copy the entire book, but only the portions with information relating to his field of interest. Alas, he didn't copy the sheet with W480028, Three Little Words.
Steven Lasker

Ain't the Gravy Good?

DEMS 10/1-17

I have two versions of this 28Feb39 title, track 24 on Neatwork's Alternate Takes Vol. 9 and track 17, disk 2, of Columbia's The Duke's Men Vol. 2.
DEMS 1993-2, page 3, states Track 17 is take 1.
DEMS 2003-1, page 16/3 (at very end) states Track 24 is take 2.
Yet both tracks appear to be the same take, right down to the timing of each of Sonny Greer's drum tricks. Is one or the other of the DEMS notations incorrect?
Brian Koller

Yes. But it depends on your starting point which statement that is. We have assumed that all the texts on the jackets of the French CBS double LPs were correct. In this case the double LP CBS 88518, released in 1981. On the second LP on tracks 1 and 2 are both takes of Ain't the Gravy Good?. If it is true that take -1 was on track 1 ad take -2 was on track 2, the conclusion must be that what we find on the double CD Columbia 472994 on track 17 of the second CD is take -2 and not take -1 as was (wrongly?) claimed in the liner notes in the booklet of the double CD. If French CBS was wrong and Columbia was right, the Blue Disc LP T-1003 also carried take -1 and not take -2, which would contradict Jerry Valburn's liner notes.
There is still another source. See DEMS 06/2-39 and 07/1-39. On the Mosaic 7 CD set the two takes of Ain't the Gravy Good? are on CD 6 tracks 3 and 4. First the alternate take (according to the liner-notes the same as Blue Disc), followed by take -1 (according to the liner-notes the same as the 78 rpm Vocalion 4726). You should believe whatever you want to. Benny Aasland believed that the liner-notes of the Columbia double CD were right. In his note (5) he mentioned the CBS double LP as number 88451. That was wrong. That number was 88518.

Discoveries, Rarities, "Uniques"

DEMS 10/1-18

The recent Bulletin 09/3 has a reaction from Danish DEMS member Frits Schjřtt that I think is very worth being singled out and heavily underlined!
In 09/3-2 we read the following question by Sjef
"... may I make a copy for... ?"
and Frits' answer was:
of course, Sjef - the material is for all Ellington-lovers
This is exactly the way I understand being an Ellington follower: S H A R E !
Share the pleasure of listening to this wonderful music, of discovering undocumented trials and approaches, of helping appreciate unusual treatments of musical matters. In short: pure Ellington.
Why single out so positively this DEMS member's attitude? Because too frequently in DEMS-Bulletins and similar communications we learn about this or that new find or rare recording surviving, sometimes going back to the twenties and thirties which will never appear anywhere and thus remain unavailable. What do the lucky owners expect? What are they waiting for? Being one of the happy few able to listen to such antiquities "in one hundred years from now" can hardly be a serious motivation.... So why not share and make them available right now?
The era of million-selling jazz records will never come back, but modern technologies certainly make it possible to find ways to share these treasures with contemporary Ellington lovers. Most of them would logically accept spending a reasonable amount of money (not only donations), and appropriate procedures - why not similar to what DEMS did in the ppast with the Azure cassettes - could be found... Everybody would accept "restrictions"; there may indeed be good reasons, but again, why not " s h a r e "? - at least make efforts to share?
Klaus Götting

I know you, Klaus, as a fanatic collector (like myself). But I have three remarks to make:
1. The material from the twenties and the thirties, mostly exists on test pressings. The one who has brought almost exclusively these test pressings to our attention is Steven Lasker. Steven has always tried to make this rare material available on legitimate releases. Steven wrote to me: "I'd love to copy and share my rare material, but most of my oldest rarities are of studio recordings, the rights to which are controlled by the major labels and protected by U.S. copyright law. I would gladly copy and share this material with everyone but for one thing: I DON'T WANT TO BE SUED!
I've copied my rare "office" test of Oklahoma Stomp for the rights holder, Universal-Vivendi. It is in their vaults. If Klaus wants to approach them to license this recording, they now have it, and he's welcome to make a deal. As for the rights to the rare recordings I have from the Sony catalog, it is my hope that these will appear on a Mosaic box in due course."
2. The more recent material mostly exists on tapes from broadcasts or from portable recorded concerts. The quality is mostly such that with a few exceptions (we the fanatic collectors) nobody is interested in these poor recordings.
3. Since the DEMS Bulletins are on line, there is no formal membership of DEMS anymore. The exclusive distribution among DEMS members, which was in the past the excuse for "releasing" copyrighted material, gladly accepted by the copyright holder Karl Emil Knudsen, does no longer exist. Also Karl Emil is no longer with us. DEMS was threatened by a well-known member of the Ellington community not to continue selling cassettes. Since then we have made available on demand rare material on CD (sometimes of poor quality!), not for sale. But like Benny Aasland always said: "Sponsors are welcomed".
Sjef Hoefsmit

Ellington's 1929-31 Victor recording contract

DEMS 10/1-19

On 4Jan29, the boards of directors of the Victor Talking Machine Company and the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) voted to allow RCA to purchase the record company. At about this same time, Ellington signed a contact with the company which called on "Duke Ellington and His Cotton Club" to record exclusively for their company, at least under that name, as they continued to record for other companies but using pseudonyms. Not having seen the original contract I can't tell you its exact terms or even its duration, but we may suppose it was terminated in the spring of 1931 given the following news item from that time...

From Variety, 25Mar31, p67:

Phonograph Co., in Disc Sale Slump, Ordered by RCA to Effect Speedy Cancellation of High-Salaried Artists--Millions Involved
Chicago, March 24.

RCA-Victor has been ordered by its holding company, Radio Corporation of America, to proceed to unload its talent obligations.
Instructions are in line with a general move on part of phonograph recording companies to meet huge slump in disc sales with preliminary campaign of strict retrenchment.
Execs of Victor Co. were called into conference by the parent corporation and informed it is to summon the big money artists under contract, or their managers, and submit a proposition of buying up the balance of recording obligations.
Among the first contracted artists called in by Victor was a operatic star who had two years to go at $50,000 a year. The artist rejected anything less than 100% for the free contracted term.
Some of the big money talent under contract are John McCormack, Chaliapin, Rachmaninoff, Sir Harry Lauder, Gigli, Galli Curci, Mischa Elman, Walter Damrosch, Maurice Chevalier, besides a host of ace bandsmen, most of whom have annual guarantees.

Steven Lasker