Friday, 13 January 2017

Mood Ellingtonia


Of course in the age of the CD... scratch that, I should say download, all of the tracks on these exquisite shellac sets are easily available. But these 78 sets are virtually pieces of furniture! Perhaps artists and their work were treasured rather more back in the day, when it was such a physical effort to 'load' one tune at a time and the music came packaged in such upholstery...




















Sunday, 8 January 2017

The swing era...





Here's a young woman who takes 'swing' quite literally - Anny Duperey at the Gala de l'Union des Artistes, 1973 - the daring young woman on the flying trapeze accompanied by a  couple of Duke Ellington records...





Memphis Blues is likely a Billy Strayhorn arrangement - and worth seeking out along with other W C Handy compositions, St Louis Blues and Beale Street Blues recorded by the Orchestra in their final sessions with RCA during the late summer of 1946.

Esquire Swank is one of the very last tracks to be recorded for Ellington's mid-forties RCA contract. The very final track was Midriff by Billy Strayhorn. These two tunes constituted a single 78 record issued not by RCA but exclusively and appropriately enough only in Paris on the Swing label (photograph above). The two tracks were also omitted from the otherwise comprehensive French IntĂ©grale series. As far as I'm aware the only issue of Esquire Swank and Midriff on vinyl was again only in France in their Treasury of Jazz series...





Tuesday, 3 January 2017

New Year, New Street


It is exciting to learn of a new orchestra playing Duke Ellington's music. News of concerts at The Town Hall, Birmingham and Southport Jazz Festival on 3rd and 5th February respectively, came with news that the Birmingham Conservatoire Ellington orchestra seems to be  a permanent fixture on the scene. From the Birmingham Conservatoire Magazine on Issu, we note:

"The Orchestra has been established to form an integral part of the Conservatoire's Jazz Department and to be a regular fixture in the Eastside Jazz Club of the new Conservatoire Building..." Great news!

Friday, 2 December 2016

The art is in the looking...

Original art work from the 1982 Columbia LP The Girls' Suite and Perfume Suite currently for sale on Ebay - starting price $849.00 (see here).

The listing says:

We’re proud to offer the original hand retouched color photograph used on the cover of the 1982 Duke Ellington album The Girls Suite And The Perfume Suite, released by Columbia Records as part of their Contemporary Masters Series.  
We obtained this superb original artwork from a former Columbia Records executive who worked on the album.  The original photograph is by Leigh Weiner, and it was hand colored by Ken Robbins.  The cover was designed by Columbia’s legendary art director John Berg and Peter Alfieri.  This one-of-a-kind artwork measures 11 x 14” and is in excellent condition and ready to frame and display.  Included is Recordmecca’s written lifetime guarantee of authenticity and a copy of the Bluesin Around LP.


I can only afford to reproduce the photographs...