Storyville Records presents: Volume 25 in the Duke Ellington Treasury Shows series, the final volume of this collectors’ special broadcast series. In April 1945, to promote the sale of war bonds, the US Treasury Department contacted Duke Ellington to do a series of 55 min public broadcasts. These sessions would give Ellington a wide choice of material to perform including his older work; new instrumentals and pop tunes and his extended works as well. And now it is 2018, and we have made the home run: This volume is the final one of this series of 50 CDs altogether, with all the known Treasury shows from 1945 to 1953, and new, hitherto mostly unreleased bonus broadcast material from the 1940s.
In his liner notes to vol. 1 (in 2000), Bob Bamberger quoted the late Klaus Stratemann who in Day By Day and Film By Film wrote that the release of these unedited Treasury broadcasts represented ”the most dedicated effort ever to preserve for posterity a musician’s achievements of a specific era and make them available…Its documentary value is inestimable… it provides a vivid portait of the band and it’s leader…” And Bob Bamberger commented: ”It is no exaggeration. And just think. This is only the beginning.” This final double CD contains a series of different radio NBC broadcasts from the famous Blue Note club in Chicago, Illinois and The Hurricane Club in New York from the summer of 1953. The CD set also incudes bonus recordings from The Hurricane Restaurant from the spring of 1943 and 1944. The broadcasts are featured complete with radio speaks and encouragements to buy bonds read by Duke himself, plus bonus material and liner notes.
The Second World War had ended, and the “swing era” was also coming to a halt, as musical tastes had changed. Many big bands disbanded, and in 1953, Ellington was the only big band leader still playing, but the emergence of jazz clubs like Blue Note, Birdland and Storyville helped him find engagements and play for a more listening than dancing audience. Furthermore, the clubs were well-connected with radio stations and networks, allowing for the Treasury Show tapes to come to life. The departure in 1951 of some of the long time members of the band, notably Johnny Hodges and Lawrence Brown did not in any way mean the decline of the Ellington band, that some feared. On the contrary Ellington took advantage of the new situation by hiring great musicians of a younger generation, like Clark Terry on trumpet and Britt Woodman on trombone, building a new band, and a renewed repertoire.
CD 1 begins with the last known Treasury broadcast. It is from The Blue Note in Chicago, recorded in June 1953, and broadcast on August 1st 1953, as part of the series All Star Parade of Bands, launched by NBC to promote bonds sales. From April 1st, 1943 Duke Ellington had an engagement in New York’s Hurricane Club at 49th and Broadway, originally meant to last 6 weeks. But it wound up to last no less than 6 months, with 6 weekly radio broadcasts. Some of these feature as bonus material on this volume. They were broadcasts on Sunday nights at 7 p.m. and called the Pastel Period, and featured the band playing slower numbers, mood pieces, ballads etc. for listening more than for dancing. 6 months later, Duke Ellington was at the club again, this time for a 10 weeks’ engagement. CD2 contains broadcasts from April 22nd 1944 and from May 5th 1944 at the Hurricane Club in New York.
The whole Duke Ellington Treasury Shows series is now complete with 25 double CDs. The Treasury Shows form an indispensable addition to the history of Duke Ellington and jazz big bands in the 1940s.