Saturday, 28 December 2019

War Clouds in My Heart

An extract from the epic Ken Burns documentary Jazz pertaining to Duke Ellington's European tour in Spring 1939 has recently been uploaded to Youtube. Here it is...

On the subject of the European tour, there is a very interesting article I have been meaning to post here for sometime so the publishing of the above clip seems the perfect time to do so. The opinions expressed below about a concert given by the Ellington aggregation in Holland are jaw-dropping in their indifference. Bliss, I should have thought in contrast, would it have been in that dawn to  be alive! 

Here is the article with the link to the original source below.

By Mark Berresford, based on research by Joop Gussenhoven

DukeHagueLoRes.jpg (37420 bytes)
Picture: Duke, Iriving Mills and the band on the platform at The Hague railway Station, April 10th 1939

The 1933 European tour by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra has been extensively documented over the years, as like Louis' tour of the same year, it was Europe's first opportunity to hear in the flesh one of the most influential musicians in jazz. Less well-documented is the Duke's European tour in the spring of 1939; that it happened at all in the light of the crisis in Europe at the time, with war clouds already gathering, is all the more remarkable. Through the research of Joop Gussenhoven and Ate van Delden, it is possible to piece together the band's itinerary, and also present an eye-witness account of their concert in the Hague. J.P. van Blarkom, who was the former president of the Dutch Jazz Liga attended the concert and wrote an extensive report, which we present here for the first time in 61 years. 

The Duke Ellington Orchestra, minus arranger Billy Strayhorn sailed from New York on Thursday 22nd March 1939, landing at Le Havre, France. On the 1st April Duke held a press conference in Paris and the next day he and the band travelled to Brussels and presented two concerts at the Palais des Beaux Arts. Returning to Paris on the 3rd April, they appeared later that day at a concert in the Theatre Nationale and repeated the performance on the following day. The band returned to Belgium to give two concerts in Antwerp on the 6th April, then on the 7th the band minus Duke travelled by train to Den Haag (The Hague), Ellington himself motoring there with Lennard Reuterskiold, who was managing the band's European tour.
There followed a hectic itinerary of three concerts in two days; the first on the evening of the 8th April in Den Haag. The next day the band travelled to Utrecht and gave a concert in the afternoon and later that day travelled to Amsterdam, where they gave a further concert. On the morning of the 10th April, a group of weary musicians, along with manager Irving Mills and their entourage made their way to Den Haag station to catch a train to Stockholm and to continue their lightning European tour. Fortunately for posterity an Ellington fan had taken his camera to the station to see the band off and the resulting photograph is reproduced herewith.

J.P. van Blarkom's account of the Den Haag concert makes interesting reading - although only 6 years had passed since the Duke's first European tour, the changes in the style and makeup of the band took van Blarkom and other members of the audience by surprise. The writer laments the passing of 'the old Duke' in forthright terms, even though the repertoire consisted of earlier Ellington standards. I have taken some liberties with the translation of van Blarkom's review to improve its flow and render it into better English, but the spirit of the original piece has been retained.

The Duke Ellington Concert, The Hague, 8th April 1939 

After a seven year wait, we once again have had an appearance by the famous Duke Ellington band. The concert was practically sold out in advance, and while the name of Ellington practically rules the world of jazz, whether he still deserves this fame is open to question. It was a great performance, but thinking it over later that night at home, I wonder if 'Mike' (Spike Hughes' nom-de-plume in the Melody Maker) was telling the truth some years ago about Ellington losing direction. 

Ellington had changed the stage layout of the band form his previous visit. Seven years ago the Duke sat centre stage; to his left sat the brass section, to his right the saxes and the rhythm section behind the Duke. This time the full band was seated in the middle of the stage, the Duke sitting to the left of the band and to his left Sonny Greer was seated with all his kettles and drums. Greer's drumming now sounded much too loud, sometimes even overdrumming instrumental solos. The bass stood between the saxes, who occupied the foreground, and the brass ranged in a row at the back. Fred Guy was seated at the extreme right. 

The personnel of the band was the same as seven years ago except for two new trumpeters, the famous Rex Stewart and a certain Mr. Wallace Jones, who we hardly heard during the the whole show. In place of Wellman Braud we had Billy Taylor, but due to his placement in the band it was rather difficult to get an idea of his playing. 

The band opened with East St. Louis Toodle-Oo, after which the Duke made his entrance to a tremendous ovation. After a short speech about being happy to be playing again in Holland, he announced the first number, Stompy Jones, which was played just as on the record. After that we got I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart, featuring a beautiful duet between Hodges and Carney. The next number was Caravan, a tune I personally never liked, that is until this evening. Juan Tizol took two choruses and as far as I remember this was the first time we heard Tizol on valve trombone. He had a beautiful tone which surprised and delighted the whole audience. Mood Indigo came next, starting with the trio, as on the record, but with Jones taking the place of Whetsol. After the first chorus the Duke took a long solo and then a rescoring featuring the whole band,which really spoiled the wonderful melody. Merry-go-round, played as the Columbia record was the next number, and was probably the best number of the whole evening. The brass chorus was superb! 

We were then treated to a new number The Lady in Doubt, in which Hodges got his first opportunity to shine, after which we got a totally new arrangement of Rockin' In Rhythm, into which was introduced Dallas Doings, featuring Rex Stewart. Barney Bigard took his bow with Clarinet Lament - what a tone! And what ideas - marvellous! Bigard was undoubtedly the star of the evening. Next it was Rex' turn to shine with Trumpet in Spades, which he played brilliantly and at a tempo which had to be heard to be believed. Sophisticated Lady was given as on the record, with a beautiful chorus by Lawrence Brown, but without Hardwicke - his wonderful solo on the record was now rewritten for the four saxes. Incidentally, we heard practically nothing of Hardwicke all evening. 

Show Boat Shuffle was played as the record and was followed by an old favourite of some years ago, Black and Tan Fantasy, but the old melodic power of this melancholy tune was lost in the new arrangement. It was now a concerto for Cootie, Tricky Sam and Bigard, who each got a chorus to shine, bound together by Duke's piano playing. However the whole concept of the tune was lost - what a pity. At this point there was an intermission which concluded the first part of the concert. 

Summing up, there were indeed some great moments, but in the old days Ellington played jazz, real and pure jazz. Now he was playing show jazz, good show jazz at that, but something was missing. The Duke had become fat and Ivie Anderson had become old. Even the Duke himself must have realised this change, for as he explained in an interview "Jazz is music, Swing is business." He is touring with Irving Mills, who was at the concert, and I feel that with Mr. Mills business comes first, so the Duke couldn't play jazz. We will probably never know the real reason. 

After the interval Ivie Anderson came on and sang Alexander's Ragtime Band, Solitude and It Don't Mean A Thing, the latter tune giving us something of the old Ivie. We were lucky to have another number by Ivie, I think The Scronch, but I'm not absolutely sure, as it was a new number and was unannounced. Cootie then got his chance in Echoes of Harlem, after which the Duke announced that the band would now give an impression of a jam session, with two small groups, one led by Bigard and the other by Hodges. It sounded nice, but we have always had other ideas about jam sessions. These two tunes were played by Bigard, Rex and Tizol with rhythm in one group and Hodges, Brown, Cootie, Carney and rhythm in the other. 

Now we got a new composition by Juan Tizol. I don't know know its name, but it really was a big surprise to us all. The first two choruses were played by Tizol (really wonderful) and the Duke, but not on the piano as one would expect, but on a tom-tom. He played them with both hands and got a very astonishing Bolero-effect. Hodges played a nice soprano sax chorus and the tune ended as it started, with Tizol and the Duke. The evergreen Tiger Rag appeared to end the concert - we heard a great chorus from the three trombonists, plus Hodges, Brown, Bigard, Red, the Duke and Cootie. Then without a word, the Duke left the stage and the concert seemed to be over. However, after a few moments he returned and we got as an encore one of his latest compositions, Swamp Swing, which funnily enough was the best tune of the evening. The concert finished with St. Louis Blues, in which we heard Cootie, the three trombones again, Bigard (and how!), Hodges on soprano sax, Tricky Sam and a brass chorus, finishing with a quote from Rhapsody In Blue

Overall it was a great concert, but we who belong to the old guard were rather disappointed. All the great old tunes were rescored, and in my opinion not too successfully. The old power of the band was lost and the Duke was really playing to the house. The soloists were all great, but the Duke, who in the early days wrote for the whole band as one man, now was writing for each member of the band individually. The younger generation were wild with excitement, but they had not heard the old Duke in 1933. The audience was still laughing at Tricky Sam's chorus on Black and Tan Fantasy, so after all these years they still haven't learned to feel the Ellington spirit.

The incident related in the Burns documentary I always thought would have been the basis of a great film à la Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes. Mick Carlon got there first, however, telling the story of the ride through Nazi Germany in his book Riding on Duke's Train.

Friday, 27 December 2019

Vive la New Year Revolution

From La Maison du Duke, news of a new concert presentation by The Duke Orchestra under the direction of Laurent Mignard....

Parce que sans les femmes le jazz ne saurait exister, qu’elles soient muses ou artistes, Laurent Mignard Duke Orchestra met à l‘honneur la gent féminine dans un programme thématique porté par les jazzwomen de l’orchestre et des artistes invitées aux profils contrastés.  
 Une première rencontre se tiendra le jeudi 23 janvier à 21h au Jazz Café Montparnasse.
                                Aurélie Tropez (clarinette)                               Julie Saury (batterie)
                                Myra Maud (vocal)                                           Sylvia Howard (vocal)
                                Rachelle Plas (harmonica)                             Aurore Voilqué (violon)
accompagnées par Didier Desbois, Fred Couderc, Olivier Defays, Philippe Chagne, Julien Ecrepont, Gilles Relisieux, Jérôme Etcheberry, Richard Blanchet, Nicolas Grymonprez, Michaël Ballue, Jerry Edwards, Philippe Milanta, Bruno Rousselet, Laurent Mignard.
en préparation de l’album « Duke Ladies » – label Juste une Trace.
Jazz Café Montparnasse
13 rue du Commandant Mouchotte 75014 PARIS
Formules Dîner-Concert – Tel : 01 43 21 58 89
infos et réservations

Significantly, the concert will provide the basis for a new CD, Duke Ladies, so even for those of us unable to attend the concert, a chance to hear the programme as presented.
Bonne Année!

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Rabbit Redux

Reviews for Con Chapman's Rabbit's Blues - The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges continue to appear. Here is one of the latest by Graham Colombé, a writer for whose opinions I have the greatest respect. The source for this review is Jazz Journal UK.

Rabbit’s Blues – The Life And Music Of Johnny Hodges

 Graham Colombé

Johnny Hodges died in 1970, nearly half a century ago and it’s rather amazing that until now there has been no book devoted entirely to this remarkable musician whose significance in the history of jazz saxophone playing is so great. Here at last is the story of Hodges and I’m glad to say that I can welcome it wholeheartedly. To write a book worthy of such a subject two things were required: a deep and responsive understanding of the greatness of the artist and a willingness to undertake lengthy and detailed research into what could be learned now about a man who died so long ago.
…clear admiration of Hodges is complemented by impressively extensive research, demonstrated by a bibliography with almost 80 entries and unobtrusively numbered notes for references which total just under a thousand
Con Chapman’s appreciation of his subject can be sensed in the three chapters entitled “His Tone”, “The Quality Of Song” and “The Blues”. Here’s an example of his excellent prose: “Like the man playing the reed instrument in the jungle of Henri Rousseau’s painting The Dream, Hodges provided an erotic element to the dense vegetation of the Miley-Ellington sound”. Later, challenging accusations of sentimentality, he writes “Hodges was a dispassionate artist at his easel who expressed deeply felt emotions through the use of tone and colors, not flashy effects”. This clear admiration of Hodges is complemented by impressively extensive research, demonstrated by a bibliography with almost 80 entries and unobtrusively numbered notes for references which total just under a thousand. That might suggest a pedantically scholarly approach but nothing could be further from the truth. Although the book follows a broadly chronological outline, with many details of the early years which were new to me, there are welcome digressions in chapters headed “Women And Children”, “Food And Drink” and “The Coming Of Bird”. I had to look up “Lagomorphology”, a chapter on Hodges as man rather than musician, and found that it means the study of conies, hares and, of course, rabbits. (The Internet informs us that Mr. Chapman has produced plenty of humorous literature as well as writings on jazz.)
In covering the recorded legacy of Hodges the author has wisely given only selective attention to the recordings with Ellington, already written about extensively, and has concentrated more on the recordings which are, as he says, “outside the Ellington constellation” and which in later years offered significantly more of Hodges than could be heard on the Ellington releases. There’s far more in the book that’s worthy of appreciative comment than this review allows space for, but I should mention the 16 pages of photographs. These include Hodges in action as well as relaxing, a moving shot of his wife at his funeral and a mural showing Ellington with Hodges which is painted on the side of the house where the latter grew up. (I’ll also single out something of particular interest to myself. While considering Hodges as a person, the author examines what Hodges had in common with Lester Young, both as man and musician. This is a topic worth exploring and I would suggest that Young came musically closest to Hodges towards the end of his life, in particular on his floating tenor solos from the 1958 album called Laughin’ To Keep From Cryin’.)
Con Chapman didn’t write this book because Con is short for Cornelius – a name also given to Johnny Hodges at birth though soon dispensed with. But Con obviously has something far more significant than that in common with Johnny: a belief that if something’s worth doing it’s worth doing impeccably. And his commitment to producing a book worthy of his subject is clear on every page.
Rabbit’s Blues – The Life And Music Of Johnny Hodges. By Con Chapman, Oxford University Press, hb, 175pp, 47pp notes, bibliography and index, 16pp photographs. ISBN 978-0-19-065390-3.

Friday, 29 November 2019

For what we are about to receive...

I usually go through the Ellington listings on eBay with a fine tooth comb, so I don't know how I missed this treat earlier in the Autumn.

The listing is for a recording of a Duke Ellington performance on  16 April, 1970 at Grace Cathedral (the location for the première performance of the First Sacred Concert some five years earlier. Here are the details and photographs from the original ad...

Duke Ellington At Grace Cathedral 4/16/1970 Concert Series Part 1 Reel To Reel. Condition is Brand New in original box with original program.

By a remarkable act, appropriately enough, of grace itself the recording has been made available for free by the purchaser. Brian Koller runs the excellent website films, a substantial section of which is devoted to a discography of Ellington's collected works. Brian has graciously published a remastering of the tape.

The whole recording may be downloaded from Brian's site here

Post Script:

Several numbers feature Wild Bill Davis at the organ. An interesting account of how Davis came to be employed by Duke was posted recently to Facebook by Douglas Lawrence. Here is his posting, and an anecdote perhaps previously not known. Generosity all round from admirers of Ellington's music!

"I worked a lot with Wild Bill in the 1980's. This is what he told me - Wild Bill and Johnny Hodges were starting to tour together with a succesful 4-piece organ band (Hodges, Wild Bill, guitar and drums). The band was becoming quiet successful and Hodges started taking time off from the Ellington Orchestra. They were working somewhere (I can't remember where) and Ellington showed up at the gig and sat directly in front of the bandstand. After the performance Ellington joined Hodges and Wild Bill backstage in the dressing room. Ellington looked at Wild Bill and said (I'll never forget these words) "I don't know what I'm going to do with you, but I have to have Johnny back, so I'm hiring you too!" Wild Bill said that was it for the quartet! He joined Ellington's band and for most of the first several months just learned orchestration from Ellington, and worked as a copyist, no playing at all. (That in itself is another great story for perhaps another time.) I distinctly remem!
ber Wild Bill telling me his time with the Ellington Orchestra was the highlight of his illustrious career, and it involved very little playing. It was the tutelage from Ellington on big band arranging and composing that Wild Bill appreciated so much. Wild Bill loved to write for big band after that. It became his passion, although only a few of us actually knew it."

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Vanity of Vanities...

The forthcoming conference Ellington 2020 is being organised by Anna Celenza of Georgetown University.Professor Celenza has contributed much to the academic study of Duke Ellington's music. I have reposted here an article accompanying an exhibition she curated associated with Ellington's appearances in musicals on stage and screen. The original source of the article by Leon Robbin Gallery may be found here.

Duke Ellington on Stage and Screen
Leon Robbin Gallery
February 14, 2017
August 15, 2017
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899–1974) was one of the most prominent musical figures of the 20th century. His music was often defined as “jazz,” but he sought to create a body of music “beyond category.” In fact, he preferred to be called simply an “American” composer. The breadth of Ellington’s output was astounding. In addition to writing hundreds of jazz standards, including “Mood Indigo” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” he served as the leader of America’s most stellar big band for nearly a half century and composed numerous film scores, musicals and large-scale orchestrated works. Even more importantly, he was one of the most prominent public figures in American history.
Born and raised in Washington, DC, Ellington moved to New York in 1923, where he soon gained national prominence as the featured performer of Harlem’s famous Cotton Club. In 1920s New York, Ellington was drawn to the socially-conscious, artistic flowering commonly referred to as the Harlem Renaissance. He was especially drawn to the work of Langston Hughes, who in his 1926 essay “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” described jazz as “one of the inherent expressions of Negro life in America: the eternal tom-tom beating in the Negro soul – the tom-tom of revolt against weariness in a white world.” Ellington took this statement to heart when, in the 1930s, he made his way to Hollywood. This exhibition focuses on some of Ellington’s earliest experiences as a composer for stage and screen, and his desire to serve as an artist promoting “the inherent expressions of Negro life in America.”
Original manuscripts, photographs and ephemera in this exhibition are selected from the Arthur Johnston Papers (GTM 091217); the Martin J. Quigley Papers (GTM GAMMS142); and The Leon Robbin Collection of Music Manuscripts and Letters of Composers in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections.

In 1945 Ellington copyrighted as “composer” his musical setting of the opening verse to “Heart of Harlem,” a poem by Langston Hughes. Ellington and Hughes first met during the height of the Harlem Renaissance – the mid-to-late 1920s – when the Duke Ellington Orchestra was in residence at the Cotton Club. Hughes was a great fan of Ellington’s music, and Ellington aspired to channel the racial uplift he found in Hughes’s writings. In 1936, the pair began work on a musical titled Cock o’ the World, but unfortunately, this project was never completed. “Heart of Harlem” was their only collaboration.
*This holograph of Ellington’s score was Hughes’s personal copy. The changes to the text, made sometime after the song’s publication, are in Hughes’s hand. 

Duke Ellington and His Orchestra were featured in a variety of short films and feature-length motion pictures in the 1930s. Belle of the Nineties was one of the most successful films from this era. The film was based on a story written by Mae West titled “It Ain’t No Sin.” West also served as the film’s leading lady, and while negotiating with Paramount, she insisted that Duke Ellington and His Orchestra be hired to accompany her on several key musical numbers in the film. In Belle of the Nineties, West plays the role of Ruby Carter, the featured singer in a New Orleans venue called The Sensation Club. The Ellington Orchestra accompanies her during performances of several Arthur Johnston/Sam Coslow songs in the film – most notably “My Old Flame” and “Troubled Water.”
West was a loyal fan of Duke Ellington and his music, and it was thanks to her influence that he was contracted to perform in both Belle of the Nineties and Murder at the Vanities – two Paramount films shot simultaneously in Los Angeles during the summer of 1934.
*Promotional materials describing the musical numbers composed by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow for Belle of the Nineties.
*Publicity photo of Mae West. Never shy about her sensuality, West’s character in Belle of the Nineties claims: “It is better to be looked over than to be overlooked."
*Paramount Pictures publicity materials for Belle of the Nineties. West’s original title for the film, It Ain’t No Sin, was changed due to the censors’ demands for a less provocative title.

Murder at the Vanities is a musical murder mystery that takes place in a Broadway theater called the Vanities. Duke Ellington and His Orchestra were hired to perform a key scene in the film, originally titled “Ebony Rhapsody,” featuring music composed by Arthur Johnston with lyrics by Sam Coslow. When Ellington was contracted to appear in this film, director Mitchell Leisen assured him that he and his orchestra would be represented in an elegant and respectful manner.
*Typescript of the original script for “Ebony Rhapsody.”
*Letter to Arthur Johnston from E. Lloyd Sheldon, producer of Murder at the Vanities, dated May 4, 1934. The film underwent extensive editing before its release, which required last-minute music additions supplied by Johnston and Coslow.

The Ellington scene in Murder at the Vanities begins with Franz Liszt performing his Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 alone at a piano. The stage resets to a performance of the same work by an all-white symphony orchestra. As the orchestra plays, Ellington and his musicians deftly insert themselves within the ensemble, adding jazz licks between phrases until the white conductor and his musicians depart in frustration. Liszt’s music is then transformed into the “Ebony Rhapsody,” which brings great pleasure to the young women, black and white, who appear on stage and dance with great abandon. Ellington is presented as the triumphant composer/ performer of the modern era. The scene ends abruptly when the original white conductor returns with a prop machine gun and mows down everyone on stage with a barrage of bullets.
*Murder at the Vanities poster (1934)
*Promotional photo for Murder at the Vanities featuring composer Arthur Johnston and the chorus girls from “Ebony Rhapsody.”
*Two image stills from the “Ebony Rhapsody” scene: the first showing Duke Ellington as the triumphant composer/performer, the second showing the frustrated conductor Homer Boothby (played by Charles Middleton).

Murder at The Vanities was the last film to be released before the Motion Picture Production Code went into effect in 1934. This Code was originally created by Martin J. Quigley (editor of Motion Picture Herald) and Father Daniel A. Lord, a Jesuit priest. The primary purpose of the Code was to create a set of moral guidelines for the film industry that prevented a movie from “lowering the moral standards of those who see it.” In an effort to break the Production Code’s rule against showing “Rape,” the film’s director and producer retitled Duke Ellington’s scene “The Rape of the Rhapsody.” In the final version of the film, viewers see a “program” for this scene before the action takes place. This program describes the symphony orchestra’s performance as “The Rhapsody,” the Duke Ellington Orchestra’s performance as “The Rape” and the conductor’s return with a machine gun as “The Revenge.” In short, “Ebony Rhapsody” was transformed into a metaphorical lynching.
*Three pages from the original Motion Picture Production Code written by Martin Quigley and Daniel A. Lord, S.J.
*Image still from Murder at the Vanities showing the “program” for Duke Ellington’s scene.

Ellington was deeply angered by the way his scene in Murder at the Vanities was edited. And he demanded that Paramount Pictures make restitution (see the discussion of Symphony in Black below). But Ellington did not blame Arthur Johnston. Several weeks after the film’s release, Ellington sent Johnston a custom-made Christmas card that he had designed himself. As the royalties statement from 1935 reveals, Johnston continued to receive payments for his music, even after screenings of Murder at the Vanities ended. 
*1935 Royalties Statement issued to Arthur Johnston.
*Christmas card from Duke Ellington to Arthur Johnston postmarked December 11, 1934.

Duke Ellington was very mindful of his public image, and after the debacle of Murder at the Vanities, he demanded that Paramount fund a short film that would effectively reinstate the image of Ellington as a socially-conscious American composer. The result was a nine-and-a-half minute musical shorttitled Symphony in Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life. Filmed in December 1934/January 1935 at Paramount’s east coast studio on Long Island, NY, Symphony in Black presents four vignettes of contemporary life in the African American community: The Laborers (blue color workers), A Triangle (love and heartbreak), Hymn of Sorrows (religious practices and death) and Harlem Rhythm (nightclub entertainment).  The entire film is pantomime, with music composed by Ellington supplying the emotional background to the imagery on screen. Among many highlights, the film features the screen debut of Billie Holiday, who sings a variation of “Saddest Tale” in the second part of the film.
Symphony in Black was released in September 1935, and shortly thereafter was awarded an Oscar for “Best Musical Short Subject.”
*Three image stills from Symphony in Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life (1935).

After the success of Symphony in Black, Ellington composed numerous other large-scale works that engaged with the topic of African American history. Undoubtedly, his most famous work in this vein was Black, Brown and Beige, a multi-movement concert work that was premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1943. Less well known, but equally important, was Jump for Joy, an all-black musical revue that premiered on July 10, 1941 at the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles. The show ran for 122 sold-out performances over the course of three months. Ellington tried to bring it to Broadway, but its black pride message was considered too controversial for New York audiences. Ellington explained that his goal in composing the work was to “take Uncle Tom out of the theater and say things that would make the audience think.” By rejecting the negative stereotypes of African Americans so often portrayed in the media, Jump for Joychallenged the myth of black inferiority and offered instead an unabashed celebration of African American culture. Comprising approximately thirty songs and sketches (the script was edited continuously), Jump for Joy presented audiences with a work that instilled racial pride. As Ellington explained years later, Jump for Joy was his “contribution to the Civil Rights cause… It was the hippest thing we ever did.”
*Promotional poster for Jump for Joy.
*Duke Ellington’s original typescript outline for Jump for Joy.

*Interior pages for Duke Ellington’s typescript outline for Jump for Joy.
*Autograph manuscript of two pages from the working manuscript in piano score for Duke Ellington’s Jump for Joy (1941). The orchestration is suggested by the juxtaposition of the parts with the names of Ellington band members noted at the beginning of the first page.
*An excerpt from a later, more developed version of the score for Jump for Joy (1941). This section is from the end of the musical.

Exhibition curated by:
Anna H. Celenza, Thomas E. Caesteker Professor of Music, Georgetown University
Gaelle Pierre-Louis (SFS'2017)

Faith Berry, Langston Hughes: Before and Beyond Harlem (Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill, 1983).
Harvey Cohen, Duke Ellington’s America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010).
Edward Green, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014).
Theodore R. Hudson, “Duke Ellington’s Literary Sources,” American Music 9/1 (Spring 1991): 20-42.
Langston Hughes, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” The Nation (June 23, 1926).
Arnold Rampersad, The Life of Langston Hughes, Volume 1: 1902-1941: I, Too, Sing America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).
Klaus Stratemann, Duke Ellington Day by Day and Film by Film (Copenhagen: JazzMedia ApS, 1992).