Saturday, 30 March 2019

Mills' bidding...

Here is an auction on likely to raise some interest... 

18 Duke Ellington live & rehearsal reels owned by Irving Mills RARE Ellingtonia

"Lot of 18 reel to reel tapes of mostly Duke Ellington live performances, unissued studio tracks, and rehearsals along with a few tapes of jazz festivals (Newport, for example). These reels were obtained several years ago from someone who had purchased a storage unit that belonged to a long time reel to reel collector & enthusiast. There were a large number of Ellington reels in the unit (maybe 50-60 in all), but these were the only ones I received. At least one tape has a short letter to "Irv" adhered to it (see photos) and at least two tapes contain personal messages to an Irv/Irving, including one from long time Ellington horn player Harry Carney who mentions an interview "Irv" is going to conduct with Freddie Jenkins in the near future. All this combined with the location in which the tapes were found (near Palm Springs) seams to strongly imply these tapes belonged to early Ellington manager & discoverer Irving Mills, possibly given by friends as gifts over the years evidenced by the personal messages. I have not tested every tape nor do I wish to because, unfortunately, they are not in the best of shape. The Newport tapes in particular are in very rough shape, while the Ellington tapes seem to be better kept. I've listened through several Rainbow Grill tapes and they sound decent, possibly even good to very good. The few tapes tested all had the proper reels in their boxes, but as they are not all tested to confirm these are being sold AS-IS and to be used as music memorabilia or as reusable media.

I recorded samples of the few reels tested (including the Carney message) which can be provided as proof of authenticity if needed, as well as the remaining index photos as eBay only allows for 12 photos in a listing."

I must check what is known to exist elsewhere of the Ellington material before the auction ends. Hope these find a home among the Ellington fraternity. Happy bidding! 

Friday, 15 March 2019


From eBay...

A very rare and attractive large program (31 x 24 cm) for Duke Ellington's first tour to Scandinavia in 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. "

According to the Swedish Duke Ellington Society ( these were the dates he played - presumably the program was sold throughout the tour at the price of 1 Swedish Crown as indicated on the back:

Konserter 1939-1973

Below is a summary list of Ellington’s concerts and appearances in Sweden. 
It has been put together by the DESS-member Key Jigström. 
11/4 – Malmö, Tennisstadion
12/4 – Helsingborg, Konserthuset
(13/4 – Köpenhamn)
14/4 – Göteborg, Konserthuset
15/4 – Huskvarna, Idrottshuset
16/4 – Stockholm, Konserthuset
17/4 – Västerås, Biografen Grand
18/4 – Karlstad, Vänershov
(19/4 – Oslo)
21/4 – Örebro, Konserthuset
22/4 – Eskilstuna, Idrottshuset
23/4 – Storvik, Parkhallen
        – Uppsala, Nya tennishallen
24/4 – Stockholm, KungligaMusikaliska Akademin
25/4 – Växjö, Läroverkets aula
26/4 – Karlskrona, Konserthuset
27/4 – Linköping, Cirkuslokalen
28/4 – Norrköping, Arbetarföreningens teater
29/4 – Stockholm, Konserthuset
30/4 – Göteborg, Konserthuset
1/5   – Varberg, Nöjesparken

It is 78 years ago since Duke Ellington and his orchestra ended the 1939 tour of 
Sweden with a concert at the Stockholm Concert Hall. The concert was also part of the 
celebration  of Ellington’s 40th birthday – a celebration that started in the early morning.
During the tour, Ellington made three appearances in Stockholm – on April 16 and 29 at 
the Stockholm Concert Hall and on April 24 at the Royal Academy of Music.