10/2 August - November 2010
Our 32nd Year of Publication


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Duke Ellington, Mary Lou Williams, The River and Chief Natoma
Walter van de Leur

DEMS 10/2-5

In Morning Glory: A Biography of Mary Lou Williams (Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1999), Linda Dahl discusses the supposed connection between Mary Lou Williams’s Chief Natoma from Tacoma, Duke Ellington’s eighth movement of The River, and a movement from the UWIS Suite titled Loco Madi. In 1967, Mary Lou Williams had written some arrangements for Ellington, which she sent him later. “Among these were,” Dahl says, new rock-and-roll and ballad versions of You Know Baby, and rock and jazz versions of Chief Natoma from Tacoma . . . Both versions of Chief wound up on Ellington suites: the “rock” version in the center section of the long suite The River, and the “jazz” version in the Loco Madi (short for “location Madison”) movement of the UWIS Suite. Though the tempo is changed in the latter, and there is an inimitable Ellington treatment at the end of the movement, Mary’s Chief melody can be clearly heard. Mary was never credited nor paid. . . Mary knew nothing of how her material had been used, never heard the suites, though there was a close call: while team teaching with her at Duke University in the late seventies, [father Peter] O’Brien [Mary Lou’s manager among other things] recalls listening to The River for the first time with students right before Mary arrived in the class-room. “When I realized what I was hearing, I took the needle off the record before she entered. She would have been furious” (Dahl, 297).

The connection between Williams’s arrangements for Ellington and The River is made again in David Bradbury’s Duke Ellington (London: Haus Publishing, 2005), but now “four of her compositions appeared uncredited in Ellington’s ballet The River” (Bradbury, 62). Bradbury doesn’t identify the other three compositions that went into The River, but given the material sent by Mary Lou, they might include Truth (a reworking of her earlier Scratchin’ in the Gravel) and You Know Baby, of which she made a rock and a jazz version, just as she had done with Chief, and O.W. The Dutch Jazz Orchestra recorded most of Williams’s 1967 arrangements for Duke on The Lady Who Swings The Band: Rediscovered Music of Mary Lou Williams (Challenge Records CR73251): Chief Natoma, O.W., Scratchin’ in the Gravel (Truth), and You Know Baby.

Figure 1 gives the outline of the main thematic material of Chief Natoma from Tacoma and the opening of movement eight of The River, which I will refer to as RIBA (Ellington’s working title of this movement), to discern it from the entire ballet. Chief is built on a 12-bar minor-blues in E flat. The melody consists of a one-bar melodic and rhythmic gesture that is altered a number of times. The bass line provides a propulsive countermelody with some strong clashes against the theme. Ellington’s RIBA is a 12-bar major-blues that travels through three different keys. Its opening theme is a one-bar riff that is repeated twelve times without significant alterations. The only changes occur in the left-hand dyads on the downbeat (doubled in the bass), which give the passage its typical Ellingtonian flavor. Even for those who don’t read music it will be clear that there isn’t any resemblance between these passages.


Although Dahl’s anecdote indicates that the opening bars of RIBA alarmed O’Brien, it could be that elsewhere Williams’s arrangement pops up in the movement. Figure 2 gives the formal plan of RIBA. Figure 3 gives the first four bars of the thematic material from the other sections of RIBA (sometimes in a different octave for clarity). The first four bars suffice, because most
sections build on repeated strains.

Figure 2. Formal outline of RIBA

Time      bars key
0.00  A.   12   F   Piano riff
0.20  B.   12   F   Sax unison line with trombone answers
0.40  C.   12   F   Sax unison line with bass
1.01  D.   12   F   Same as B.
1.21  E.   12   Bb  Sax repeated Bb + trombone riff last 8 (altered blues form)
1.41  F.   12   Bb  Sax two-part riff against trombone unison line
2.01  G.   12   Bb  Sax unison riff against riff chords
2.23  H.   12   Bb  Sax unison riff (variation G.) against brass chords
2.43  I.   12   Eb  Brass chords
3.02  J.   12   Eb  Piano riff A. transposed major second down
3.22  K.   12   Eb  Same as J.
3.40  Coda  6   Eb  Piano, based on A.


The other themes from RIBA nowhere come close to those of Chief either. Neither do I find any connection between the other known arrangements by Williams for Ellington and other movements of The River, as suggested by Bradbury.

This brings me to the connection between Chief and Loco Madi. The latter is formally and thematically more complex than RIBA, as it is built on various blues chord progressions, such as eight-bar and twelve-bar blues. There are few similarities between Chief and Loco Madi. Despite Dahl’s observation that “Mary’s Chief melody can be clearly heard” there is only one passage that deserves a closer look: the 8-bar saxophone section that starts at [0.58]. It is given in figure 4.


The melodic contours in the second half of this passage indeed vaguely resemble those of the melodic building block of Chief: a large step down, a smaller step up, and a large step down. But that isn’t anywhere close to a match. Neither melodically, rhythmically, harmonically, nor structurally do Loco Madi and Chief have anything in common. This passage may be rhythmically congruent with much of the material in RIBA, but that too provides insufficient ground to see a connection between Loco Madi and RIBA (as one would expect if both movements were derived from the same work).

I don’t doubt that Peter O’Brien thought, as per Linda Dahl’s report, that RIBA resembles Chief. Still, Peter was mistaken: RIBA has nothing to do with Chief. Obviously, neither Dahl nor Bradbury have checked Duke’s recordings against Mary Lou’s scores. Although Dahl links Williams’s “rock” version of Chief with The River, and the “jazz” version with Loco Madi--which suggests she has studied the materials in some detail--she offers no documentation. Bradbury flatly connects The River to no less than four of Mary Lou’s compositions, again without any further evidence. Such serious accusations of appropriation that Dahl and Bradbury make against Ellington, demand serious substantiation. Hearsay and some cursory listening clearly are not enough.

I believe that Loco Madi is not a location, but a train.
Sjef Hoefsmit**

Yes there is something about this matter in MIMM, p 407. I also have always believed it had to do with a train. However, for the scope of my article, it doesn't seem to be very important.
Walter van de Leur**

This is what Duke said just prior to the performance of Loco Madi on 21Jul72 during the final concert of his stay at the University of Wisconsin at Madison:
"I finally came to Wisconsin and I came on a train. They had trains in those days, 1931. They had a train which came from Chicago and I think the big line was : 'ninety miles in ninety minutes' "

Corrections for DEMS Bulletin

DEMS 10/2-6

DEMS 2002/1, page 18/2, lists the track of Black and Tan Fantasy from the Alternative Takes, Volume 1 Neatwork CD as take C.
DEMS 2000/1, page 16-1, lists the track of Black and Tan Fantasy from the Essential Recordings, 1927-1962, disk 1, track 3, as take B. (The title of this CD is listed in DEMS as 1927-1961, but the second year is 1962 since it includes a 1962 version of A Midnight in Paris.)
I have both CDs and can tell no difference at all between the recordings.
My guess is that the Alternative Takes, Volume 1 version of Black and Tan Fantasy is actually take B.
Brian Koller

You are right again. This is a typing error. Both the liner-notes of Classics 542 and Neatwork 2023 are correct, as are the notes that I made when I compared the takes with Masters of Jazz 25. The Classics has take -C and Neatwork has take -B, which is unexpected, since take -B was chosen for all the other CD reissues. I have -C only on the CD Masters of Jazz and on the LPs CBS 67264 (where it follows take -B) and on the rare LP Family Records 656. I will make a correction in the DEMS Bulletin 02/1-18/2(542), so as not to mislead future readers. Thank you for your correction.
The title of the Sony 3 CD set is indeed "The Duke The Essential 1927-1961." This error is not made by DEMS, but by Sony.
Sjef Hoefsmit

Who is the trumpet soloist?

DEMS 10/2-7

See DEMS 10/1-14

About the remarks, made by Graham Colombé on the soloists performing in How High the Moon, we listened again to all the versions of this title. We confirm that the correct sequence of the trumpets is definitely RN-CT-WC and not RN-WC-CT as suggested by Mr Colombé.
Giovanni Volonté and Luciano Massagli

An interesting correction

DEMS 10/2-8

See DEMS 09/3-20

Among the corrections to The New DESOR in this Bulletin is one that deserves more careful attention than usual (See 10/2-20, 430). It could easily be overlooked by those who do not incorporate the corrections into their New DESOR, but who simply rely on the statements in the Ellington periodicals.
In DEMS 97/2-13/1 it was made clear that apart from a "fresh" Caravan nothing is new on the 1997 CD release "The Popular Duke Ellington" RCA 9026-68705. It was simply assumed that all the other 11 tracks were identical with those on the LP with the same title, RCA LSP-3576. This is not the case.
Giovanni Volonté and Luciano Massagli detected that the version of Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me on the CD is different from the one on the LP.
Three different versions of this title have now been released from the recordings made on the sessions of 9 and 11May66. Two of them are very similar. The only obvious difference is the length of the piano introduction, but one is not edited from the other. They are different all the way through and both were presumably recorded on 11May. Both were included in the 24 CD box RCA 09026-63386. The long version is on track 14 of CD 22. The short version is on track 8 of CD 22 and on all our other releases, including the LP 3576.
The third one is uniquely released on the CD "The Popular Duke Ellington" and was presumably recorded on 9May.

Johnny Mercer documentary

DEMS 10/2-9

I saw recently (5Apr10) on BBC 4 a documentary about Johnny Mercer. At a certain moment I saw Duke at the piano in a white suit with Ella Fitzgerald behind him with her hands on his shoulders, singing Satin Doll. Can you tell me where this recording came from?
Joe Farrier

It is taken from the NBC telecast "Bell Telephone Hour" - "American Festival", recorded 10Feb59 with Jim Hall, Wilfred Middlebrooks and Gus Johnson, none of whom are visible on screen in the clip you saw.

The Musicraft session of 23oct46

DEMS 10/2-10

See DEMS 09/3-12

I had copies of the recording cards of all Musicraft sessions, where all the takes were mentioned. I then (4th edition) still held up the principle to list all recordings made, notwithstanding their availability. In the meantime I have changed my mind — why carry all that dead weight around — and in the 5th edition only the recordings that have survived — whether or not they are available — are listed.
Willie Timner

Timner's fifth edition

DEMS 10/2-11

See DEMS 09/3-4

Here are a few additional comments by Willie Timner:
12. 16-17May36 — I only can repeat that I have sold my entire collection. The material given to me in confidence was destroyed.
11. 23May36 — Congress Hotel Chicago. I got the tape with the date May36 on it and I listed the titles under this date in my third edition. Somebody came up and told me that the correct date should be 26May36. I still have no clue where the titles actually belong. Ellington played from 8May to 5Jun36 nightly(?) at the Congress Hotel. Do radio logs exist to verify any date?
16. Feb39 — Beer Barrel Polka. I did not take my clue from DESOR, but from the information sheet that came with the tape. Probably the event was not a concert but a dance (quite likely, given the title of the song).

Broadcasts in September and October 1940

DEMS 10/2-12

See DEMS 09/3-10

Finally we are getting some clarity. Much confusion was created alone by the fact that we are dealing with two time zones here. The daily broadcasts of the band from the hotel have been aired locally (Chicago) from 11:00-11:30 PM, however in New York it was 12:00-0:30 AM. If somebody cut acetates in New York, they carried probably the date of the following day, because of the New York time. I am sure that somebody has noticed that and that corrections were made, however, nobody could be 100% sure which date was the correct one.
The list by Carl Hällström and Ken Steiner also requires some thinking, because they are listing the local broadcasts (WMAQ and WENR) and the national stations (NBC Red and NBC Blue), which were aired in NYC (broadcasting yesterday's performance live).
The title I Don't Mind listed in the 11Sep40 program is in fact All Too Soon. I have nothing that indicates that either selection had an alternate title. Would it be possible to check out the other broadcasts (7Sep; 12Sep and 5oct) which include I Don't Mind which has usually a vocal by Ivie Anderson? The 5oct title seems to be without vocal.
One question remains. I have listed the title Ring dem Bells together with In a Mellotone under the date of 4oct40. In a Mellotone could be identical with the one mentioned by Carl Hällström on 6oct, but there is no Ring dem Bells to be found in the broadcasts. It has been issued on Queen Disc [007 and on Jazz Supreme 705]. I have checked DESOR. They have the same listing [on 3oct40].
Willie Timner

About the titles I Don't Mind and All Too Soon. What you hear is All Too Soon, but according to The New DESOR, this selection was erroneously titled I Don't Mind in the broadcast. Since that title was already "occupied" by a totally different composition, it is included in the list of alternates, indicated with the mark: # to indicate that this is not a "proper" alternate, but that there is another, genuine composition with this title. (See also DEMS 04/1-30.)
About Ring dem Bells on 3 or 4oct40. This is what Carl Hällström wrote in an e-mail of 13oct02:
"31Dec39, 'Meet the Band' broadcast: 'A New Year's preview will swing out over the airlanes on Sunday, Dec. 31, when WBBM listeners hear Duke Ellington and his orchestra in a special arrangement of Ring dem Bells.' [Carl Hällström suggested that the aircheck of Cootie Williams' vocal on Ring dem Bells considered to be "Panther Room Sep/Oct 1940 unidentified date" may indeed be the "special New Year's arrangement" for "Meet the Band."]
The reason which nails Ring dem Bells to this date is, according to Carl, that the tune doesn't appear on a single one of the monitored NBC "coast to coast" broadcasts from the Panther Room of the Fall 1940 gig. Benny Aasland gives 3oct40 as the broadcast date of Ring dem Bells, entry 40-40 in his WWoDE 1940-42 and it's highly unlikely that the Duke only would play this outstanding "production number" just a single time during the Panther Room gig, during one of his very last broadcasts from the venue.
Ring dem Bells aircheck. A faint scribbling of "31/12" could easily be interpreted as "3/10" and, as the content of the "Meet the Band" broadcast wasn't known to Benny at the time, it was quite natural for him to assign this single item to the well known Panther Room gig one year later.
Ken Steiner: "To which I would add, that the other tune from this date, according to Benny - In a Mellow Tone - doesn't have the same 'sound' as Ring dem Bells, they are from different broadcasts !"

DEMS Bulletins on line

DEMS 10/2-13

If you go to you will find all the DEMS Bulletins from 1979 until today. The Bulletins made by me (Sjef Hoefsmit) on my Mac, starting with 2001 are in HTML format which means that you can locate an item by a search through each Bulletin. The older Bulletins are "photographed" and in PDF format thanks to Bjorn Andresen. You cannot search an item in the way you can on the HTML files. Marcus Girvan has put the Bulletins 1995 - 2000 through an optical character recognition programme and they are now searchable by word. It isn't always 100% reliable but at least it makes it somewhat easier to find items rather than by reading through the entire Bulletin until the item is found.
Marcus writes: "The main difficulty is that the two earliest Bulletins from 1995 have been annotated, underlined and sometimes not too accurately, obscuring some of he text. Not a problem when you are doing that for your own benefit but it is when the pages are scanned and there is no differentiation between the text and the amendments.
Sadly, before 1995, this becomes too bad for OCR to recognize the words and unless there are some pristine copies of the old Bulletins out there, then this is as far as I can go.
I do hope that what I have done is of some help and can replace those on"

I am very grateful for he work done by Marcus Girvan. The Bulletins made by Benny Aasland (before he died in 1996) are photocopies of my own Xeroxed copies. I was able to reproduce the Bulletins from 1996 on with my printer from my computer files.
The further you go back into the past, the less interesting it is to find your way. Many of the older statements and pieces of information are no longer up to date. When I refer to an article in an old Bulletin, I give you the DEMS number to help you find it. Items in the Bulletins from before we went on line are numbered as follows: the year in two digits/the edition number in one digit-the page number in one or two digits/and the sequential number of the article between the other articles on the same page. Since pages are no longer used in the on line version of the Bulletins (since 2001) after the edition number is one or are two digits referring to the sequential number of the article between all the other articles in the same Bulletin.
Sjef Hoefsmit**

Great News about Mosaic

DEMS 10/2-14

Long ago Ted Hudson and I were discussing Duke's future as a classical composer. Ted said: "there are still recordings with Van Beethoven's compositions available. You will see Duke's recordings will also be available and bought by music lovers with good taste for many years to come.
I think that Ted is proven to be right if you see how many re-releases there are on the market today. If you are still working on your collection and you want to know more about a specific album or about a specific title, you could go to the very useful website and more specifically to If you still need more information please ask DEMS. We are always ready to help you.
In this edition of the Bulletin you will not find "New Finds" or "New Releases", but I can tell you that Steven Lasker is working on an 11 CD production for Mosaic with Ellington recordings from 1932 until 1940 made for the labels Master, Brunswick, Columbia and American Record Corporation. Steven told me that he hopes that the set will be ready for Christmas. I expect that a few "New Finds" will be included and that together with an unsurpassed sound quality and a complete and up to date booklet answering all your discographical and other questions, this production will be a marvelous opportunity to fill some holes in your collection or to replace your old 1932 - 1940 recordings. A terrific Christmas present!
Sjef Hoefsmit

I'm still looking for a few 78 rpm sources. If anyone has master-pressed tests on the following, please contact me via DEMS:
C1199-2  I Don't Know Why I Love You So
M519-2   All God's Chillun Got Rhythm
M521-2   Alabamy Home
M648-2   Diminuendo in Blue
M649-2   Crescendo in Blue
M650-x   Harmony in Harlem (the take issued on Raretone mistakenly identified as being -1; original source may be an unprocessed acetate)

M833-2   Rose of the Rio Grande

WM1006-2   Portrait of the Lion
Thanks in advance for any help,
Steven Lasker

Harlem Air Shaft from 24Aug43

DEMS 10/2-15

Bulletin 01/3-20 had the attached following question and answer.
The question [#7 by Willie Timner] was: 24Aug43, Hurricane. Harlem Air Shaft. Approved by you but not in DESOR, or is it in its supplementary notes?

SH: It is not approved by me. It is only not commented on because there seems to be an acetate with a five title broadcast from the Hurricane on 24Aug43 in the Timme Rosenkrantz collection under number 2-7-A and B. The 4th selection is Harlem Air Shaft. I have never heard it, neither have our Italian friends, but it may exist.

WT: I left Harlem Air Shaft in [the discography 'Ellingtonia'] for the time being. I had it on tape and have to look for it.

SH: Hope you find it and that you let me hear it.

Here ends the text from Bulletin 01/3-20. I have seen no follow-up since. Have you?
Klaus Götting

Sjef Hoefsmit: No I haven't. Willie Timner has disposed of his collection and is therefore not able to present his tape.

The Cotton Club broadcasts of 1938

DEMS 10/2-16

See DEMS 04/3-42

Dear Mona Granager,
Do you have any idea if Storyville is going to release the Cotton Club set this year [2010]?

Yes it will definitely be out this year - the delay is because we wanted to add a little bonus DVD!
We plan to add the newsreel from the Cotton Club as described in Stratemann’s book on page 57.
Mona Granager

We expect this bonus to be taken from the Pathé Newsreel from 1930, see DEMS 10/1-6. It will be nice to have it in our collections as a DVD.



More Johnny Hodges on CD.

DEMS 10/2-17

See DEMS 10/1-24

Since the last Bulletin more Johnny Hodges CD’s have been released.

The 50 year copyright rule in Europe makes it possible to reissue records the original company has forgotten or lost interest in. Recently a couple of CD’s have been issued that are readily available. Even Miles Davis' ‘Kind Of Blue’ has been issued this way.
There are now three different issues of ‘Back To Back’ and two of ‘Side By Side’. Here is an overview of those issues.

'Back To Back' on Verve contains the following tracks DE5909c, Wabash Blues; DE5907e, Basin Street Blues; DE5907c, Beale Street Blues; DE5909a, Weary Blues; DE5907a, St. Louis Blues; DE5907d, Loveless Love and DE5907b, Royal Garden Blues.
Essential Jazz Classics contains the seven tracks above plus DE5908f, Villes Ville Is the Place, Man; DE5937b, Brown Penny; DE5937f, I Didn't Know about You; DE5938a, Smada; DE5938e or f, The Swinger's Jump; DE5938d, The Swingers Get the Blues Too; DE5938b, Blues in Blueprint; De5937a, Three J's Blues and DE5937e. C-Jam Blues.

The contents of the Fresh Sound issue can be found in DEMS 10/1-24. Their claim to have two LP’s on one CD is false. The 14Aug58 session is not included. It can be found on the Fresh Sound CD ‘Not So Dukish’.

'Side By Side' on Verve contains DE5909d, Stompy Jones; DE5909b, Squeeze Me; DE5909e, Goin' Up plus the Johnny Hodges session of 14Aug58: Just a Memory; Let's Fall in Love; Big Shoe; Ruint; Bend One and You Need To Rock.
Essential Jazz Classics adds 6 of the 8 tunes from the LP ‘Not So Dukish’: Broadway Babe and Jeep Bounced Back are missing from the 10Sep58 session.
There is no confusion with the American Jazz Classics reissue of ‘Gerry Mulligan Meets Johnny Hodges’. All six tracks are there. As a bonus Mulligan’s LP ‘What Is There To Say?’ is added.

A few additional notes to my piece in DEMS 10-1/24:
On the Avid set the LP 'Perdido' starts with Perdido as last track on CD 1 and continues on CD 2.  For continuous listening you need the Fresh Sound CD 'Perdido'.
Fresh Sound's claim of two LP’s on one CD is again false. The Al Hibbler vocal tracks: ‘For This Is My Night To Love’ of 17jul52 and ‘This Love Of Mine’  of 22jul52 are missing.
The Avid booklet has reproductions of the original liner notes. The Fresh Sound has larger reproductions of the original LP-covers (minus the Verve logo).
Remco Plas