It has just been printed and is on its way to the DESUK members in the U.K. and the rest of the world. It comes together with the DESUK version of the CD with Hotel Sherman broadcasts which members of DESS has already received. The content is the same but the cover and the liner notes are different.
The Ellington community is very fortunate to have Blue Light and the DESS Bulletin coming their way four times a year. They gives us more than 150 pages every year to learn more about Ellington and to provide a platform for Ellington scholars. Bo Haufman and Ian Bradley (as well as their predecessors) really deserves our gratitude for their dedication to Ellington and for their fantastic job.
The Winter issue of Blue Light has a lot to read. It has two major five-page articles, six pages of reviews of new Ellington-related CDs and DVDs and more.
Perhaps, the highlight is an article by the Italian musicologist and Ellington scholar Luca Bragalini titled “Harlem: Sounds From The Big Court”. It is an adaptation from the presentation he gave at 23rd Ellington Study Group Conference at Reed College in Portland, Oregon in November 2015.
Having as his starting point, the commission Ellington got in 1950 from the NBC Symphony Orchestra to write the Harlem part of what was meant to be a six-part Portrait Of New York, Bragalini guides us through Ellington’s many efforts in songs and longer works to paint his picture and vision of Harlem but also gives the wider framework in which this happens. As a true scholar, Bragalina brings us new perspectives for reflection.
The second main article is by Lisa Barg, Associate Professor, Music History/Musicology at McGill University and deals with Billy Strayhorn. Its title is “Invisibility Blues: Searching For Strayhorn In The 21st Century” and it digs into the paradox of Strayhorn being a simultaneously canonized and marginalized figure in jazz history. Also this article emanates from a presentation at the 23rd Ellington Study Group Conference.
In the article, she explores this “invisibility issue” using three interviews with Strayhorn. Barg is currently finishing a book on Strayhorn called “Day Dream: Billy Strayhorn, Queer History and Midcentury Jazz” and got a Philip Brett Award in 2014 for her article “Queer Encounters in the Music of Billy Strayhorn”.
In the CD and DVD review, one finds of course the most recent Storyville CD issues but also of the world premiere soundtrack release for Assault On A Queen issued by the “Dragon’s Domain Records”. But there are also reviews of a new CD by the “Echoes of Ellington” orchestra, of a Blu-Ray British Film Institute issue of “Paris Blues and of several more CDs and DVDs.