Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Barrie Lee Hall Junior

Barrie Lee Hall, trumpet player invited whilst still a college to join Duke Ellington's orchestra, has died at the age of sixty one years.

From Barrie Lee Hall Junior’s own site:

“My interest in jazz got started in high school where I was in the school's big band under the direction of Sammy D. Harris whose insight pointed a few of us in the direction of jazz. I studied music with trumpet being my principal instrument and piano second at Texas Southern University and after winning a few soloist awards in national big band college jazz festival competitions around the country, Duke Ellington came to Houston.

Arnett Cobb, a jazz legend, call to ask me if I would take him to see Duke and in the process I would get a chance to meet Duke. Arnett introduces me as, "This is Barrie Lee Hall a trumpeter in the Texas Southern University Jazz Ensemble ". And Duke's reply was, " Ah, how come you're not playing in my band?" After waiting and calling around the US, I joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra June 8, 1973. I am at the present still a member of that organization. Mercer Ellington died February 8, 1996. Barrie Lee Hall Junior conducted the Duke Ellington Orchestra for one year after and he is the director of the orchestra sometimes in Paul Mercer Ellington’s stead.”

Ellington signed Barrie Lee Hall Junior in 1973, when the composer was most particularly involved in performances of his sacred works. Barrie Lee Hall Junior had a particular affinity for Duke’s spiritual writing which makes his association all the sweeter, his passing all the more poignant.

In tribute, here is Barrie Lee Hall Junior performing one of those works – The Shepherd.

Thank you for Barrie Lee Hall Junior.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

In Dino Veritas

A recent hard drive crash has meant the temporary loss - amongst other things - of a cache of photographs and documents I intended to publish here. They await some sort of replevin - when I have sufficient funds.

Before I suffered any further losses, I thought I had better publish copies of these images - for sale, recently, at a notable on-line auction house - without further ado.

It doesn't surprise me that the paths of Duke Ellington and Dean Martin (however mazy the latter) should have crossed at some point.  Here is the evidence in this merry gathering. I have no details of the occasion, nor indeed the identities of the other parties. I treasure the association, however.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Bespoke here

I could wish for a happier reason to share this film of Dr Billy Taylor, playing Perdido in conjunction with Willie 'The Lion' Smith and Duke Ellington, than recent news of his passing. This performance is forever joyous, however.