Saturday, February 6, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

An American Composer and Icon




A new book on Duke Ellington compiled by his grand daughter Mercedes is to be published by Rizzoli in the USA on 22 March, 2016 and the UK on 1 March. 

Details from Rizzoli's site say:

Duke Ellington: An American Composer and Icon
Written by Steven Brower and Mercedes Ellington, Contribution by Dave Brubeck and Quincy Jones, Introduction by Tony Bennett
  •  March 22, 2016
  •  Hardcover
  •  Music - Genres & Styles - Jazz
  •  Rizzoli
  •  8-15/16 x 12
  •  $55.00
  •  $55.00
  •  978-0-8478-4813-3

About This Book

Beautifully illustrated and unparalleled in scope, this is an elegant visual celebration befitting the life and work of the "prince of the piano." Duke Ellington was the undisputed father of the American songbook. A prolific writer and consummate performer, Ellington was the author of such standards as "Solitude," "Prelude to a Kiss," and "It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got that Swing)." With a career that spanned five decades, he is one of the defining composers of the Jazz Age. With unprecedented access to the Ellington family archives, this long overdue book illuminates the life and work of an icon of twentieth-century music from his humble beginnings to his long-lasting success. Every stage of Ellington’s career is brought to life, from sepia photographs of his early days in Washington, DC, to colorful playbills from the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, his triumphant tours of Europe in the 1930s, and his pioneering explosion of form and genre in the 1940s and beyond. Alongside more than two hundred stunning images, contributions from peers such as Dave Brubeck, Cornel West, Quincy Jones, and Tony Bennett shed light on Ellington’s musical legacy, while the voice of his granddaughter Mercedes reveals the character behind the charisma, and the man behind the piano.

About the Author

Mercedes Ellington has danced in and choreographed many Broadway productions, including programs at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Steven Brower is the author of Woody Guthrie Artworks and Satchmo: The Wonderful Art and World of Louis Armstrong.

Tony Bennett is a legendary jazz singer whose career has spanned decades.

Dave Brubeck was an acclaimed experimental American jazz pianist and composer.

Cornel West is a philosopher, activist, political commentator, and occasional musician.

Quincy Jones is a musician, composer, and record producer, with a record seventy-nine Grammy Award nominations.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Cool Cats


Cool Cats is a new Danish documentary about the relationship between Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon whilst they lived and worked in Copenhagen. It is directed by Janus Køster-Rasmuss who talks about the film here:






You can read more about Ben and Dexter's relationship at the newly formed Dexter Gordon Society and this fascinating post by Dexter's widow, Maxine here.




Friday, January 29, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Quebec 49














Duke Ellington & his Full Band Original Autographs, Quebec Sept. 11, 1949

PROGRAMME SOUVENIR - DUKE ELLINGTON  LA TOUR  QUEBEC  11 SEPT. 1949
What a find... from a French Canadian estate the Original program No. 104 
for the Duke Ellington and his band concert at "La Tour" in Quebec City, Canada on September 11th, 1949 
with his and his band's Original Autographs
The program was autographed on the front cover by Duke Ellington and 10 members of his band 
for this Quebec concert including:
Duke Ellington,   
Ray Nance,   Jazz Trumpeter, violinist and singer
Quentin Jackson,  
Jimmy Forrest,   Jazz Musician, Tenor Saxophone
Harold Baker,   
Al Killian,   Jazz Trumpeter
Nelson Williams,   Jazz Trumpeter - Nicknamed "Cadillac"
Wendell Marshall,  Jazz Double-Bassist  
Lou...... ,  
Jimmy Hamilton,   Jazz Clarinetist, Tenor Saxophonist, Arranger, Composer (25 years with Duke Ellington)   
Tyree Glenn, Trombone Player
The program is on a strong green paper, it is 18 5/8 inches wide by 9 1/2 inches long, folded in 3 parts 
(each page is 6 3/8" x 9 1/2"). There is a 3/4" rip at the bottom of the first page.
On the back of the cover
Bienvenue a DUKE ELLINGTON et son Orchestre
Will Brodrigue Inc.
Tout en Musique et Disques
ACCESSOIRES ELECTRIQUES - CADEAUX - QUINCAILLERIE
35, Chemin Ste-Foy, Quebec
Tels: 2-78284-6888
Produits "NORTHERN ELECTRIC"
WILL BRODRIQUE  President
OMER BROUSSEAU  Vice-President
"The Friendly shop"
Picture of Will Brodrique...
WILL BRODRIQUE  Fameux Chef D'Orchestre  Imprime par J.-B. Bedard Enr.  -  595, 5ieme Rue, Limoilou, Quebec.
Inside the program:  Picture of JIMMY DORSEY - who had a previous concert in Quebec May 10th of the same year.
"Toutes les personnes qui etaient presentes lors de la venue de JIMMY DORSEY et son Orchestre, 
le 10 mai dernier, gardent encore un souvenir vivace de ce fameux Orchestre"
Inside the trifold - Page 1
Picture of HARRY CARNEY - saxophoniste baryton par excellence
Picture of RAY DAVIS  -  la jolie vocaliste a la voix d'or
Picture of JOHNNY HODGES - saxophoniste alto no 1 d'Amerique
Inside the trifold - Page 2
en personne!
Caricature of BENNY GOODMAN - "Son Orchestre et sa revue"
Une nouvelle presentation musicale
Vous avez eu le plaisir d'applaudir BENNY GOODMAN et son Orchestre ici a La TOUR, le 21 Juin dernier.
Inside the trifold - Page 3
Picture of CHARLIE SPIVAK
Les commentaires ont ete les plus elogieux lors de la visite de CHARLIE SPIVAK et son Orchestre, 
ici a La TOUR le 14 juin 1949.
A unique piece of Duke Ellington & his orchestra history.

Notes on:  "LA TOUR"  Quebec City (See Picture  http://slam.canoe.com/Slam/Wrestling/2015/09/25/22555646.html)









Sunday, January 24, 2016

Voice of America



The University of North Texas continues to upload fascinating Ellingtonian material from the Willis Conover Voice of America Archive.

Firstly, an interview with Johnny Hodges was uploaded (which may be heard here).

Now, there is a two part interview with Ellington himself.

Part One is here.

Part Two may be heard here.

The entire Ellington-related list of contents (most of which accessible only to the UNT community, unfortunately)is here.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New from Storyville: Rotterdam 1969


From the Storyville Records website:
"Duke Ellington & His Orchestra toured Europe in November 1969, a time when Duke was still at the top of his powers. The new CD is a recording of the whole of an excellent concert held at De Doelen Concert Hall in Rotterdam—a venue famous for its splendid acoustics.
The ambience is remarkable: The audience is audibly enthusiastic and these high spirits clearly influence the band. Duke Ellington and the orchestra gave two concerts on November 7th, and even though this is the second one, the musicians sound nothing but lively and fresh.Still in a brilliant mood after two concerts, Duke Ellington even played an after-party concert with a quartet—Storyville Records hopes to issue these recordings in the future."
The repertoire includes classics such as “Take the A Train” and Don’t Get Around Much Any More rarely heard as swinging as on this day, vigorous and fresh versions of Kinda Dukish and Rockin’ In Rhythm and the newer 1966 composition La Plus Belle Africaine, the centerpiece of the concert.
Personnel:
Cat Anderson (tp), Cootie Williams (tp), Ambrose Jackson (tp), Mercer Ellington (tp), Nelson Williams (tp), Benny Bailey (tp), Lawrence Brown (tb), Chuck Connors (tb), Russel Procope (as,cl), Johnny Hodges (as), Norris Turney (as,ts,cl,fl), Harold Ashby (ts, cl), Paul Gonsalves (ts), Harry Carney (bar,cl,b-cl), Duke Ellington (p), Victor Gaskin (b), Rufus Jones (d), Tony Watkins (vcl)
Track listing:

Take The ‘A’ Train (theme)
C-Jam Blues  
Kinda Dukish/ Rockin' In Rhythm 
Take The "A" Train  
Up Jump        
La Plus Belle Africaine         
Come Off The Veldt 
El Gato           
Black Butterfly          
Things Ain't What They Used To Be          
Don't Get Around Much Anymore   
Medley          
  1. Caravan           
  2. Mood Indigo   
  3. Sophisticated Lady     
Making That Scene - vTW   
It Don't Mean A Thing - vTW          
Be Cool And Groovy For Me - vTW 
Satin Doll       

Satin Doll       
R.T.M. 
Wailing Interval       
Satin Doll 

The disc may be ordered online here.

And that additional quartet performance which Storyville promise to release on another occasion, by the way:


Duke Ellington(p); Wild Bill Davis(o); Victor Gaskin(sb); Rufus Jones(d)

Black Swan    
The Lake       
Satin Doll       
Just Squeeze Me