DESS Bulletin 2022-3

DESS members got the third issue of the Bulletin by postal mail or email in the beginning of August but because of the summer break, the website has not been able to report about it until now.

It is another issue with a lot of good and informative reading.

Bo Haufman really deserves to be thanked for all his work on the Bulletins. He has to come up with ideas to articles, finding writers for them or write them himself, work with the layout guy and finally put address labels and stamps on the envelops that will carry the new Bulletin to the DESS members.

This time, the lead article is about Jimmy Woode, Ellington’s bass player from 1955 to 1960 and important factor in the resurrection of the Ellington band in the mid 1950’s.

It is an interesting and well researched article. It starts with Woode’s father Jimmy Woode Sr, who spent most of his life in Sweden. He was a pianist and came to Sweden in 1947 with a band called The Harlem Madcaps for a short tour. When it ended, he and his wife decided to remain in Sweden and Woode Sr did so for the rest of his life. Woode was particularly active in the Swedish jazz life during the 1950s and was participating in many recordings both then and later.

Bo also tells us that Jimmy Woode Jr aimed to be a pianist as his father but switched to bass as a late teenager. He practiced hard and was apparently so good that George Wein in c. 1953 recruited him as bass chair in  the house band at Storyville in Boston and Woode also played “occasionally” at the Hi-Hat there.

One can hear Woode in many recordings from the two clubs but his first recording was made in Panama and on 9 August, 1951, he participated in a quintet recording in Los Angeles for Clef. The group also included Bill Harris, Flip Phiips and Lou Levy so Woode must have been well connected.

On 2 January, 1955, Woode joined the Duke Ellington band as a replacement for Wendell Marshall. He was to stay for “five years, four months, two weeks and two days.

Bo writes extensively about Woode’s time with Ellington and the music he discusses can be heard in a playlist on Spotify.

Woode left the Ellington orchestra in April 1960. Shortly thereafter. he moved to Sweden where he stayed for about 3 years participating in many record sessions and playing at dance restaurants with his father.

Woode must also have stayed in contact with American jazz musicians like Kenny Clarke living in Paris and other places in Europe. On 22 April 1961, he played at l’Olympia with a small group led by George Wein.

However, more important was that he participated in a recording by a Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland group for Blue Note in Cologne on 18-19 May, 1961. The recording was issued as The Golden Eight and was much acclaimed when it was issued. It was the beginning of what was to become the Kenny Clark/Francy Boland Big Band but this name was used the first time in 1963 and by that time is was a real big band.

Woode moved to continental Europe in 1963 and remained there until his return to the U.S.A. in 2001. The core of his work in Europe was the touring and recording with the Clark/Boland band until it was disbanded in 1973.  But he continued to be in demand and appeared at jazz festivals and clubs in different configuration. It seems that he in 1973-1974 also was a member of the ORF big band in Vienna.

Woode made his last recording in February 2005, It took place in Hannover even if he by that time lived in the U.S.A. He died two months later.

His discography of the years in Europe is impressive and has much good listening to offer. Explore it!

Personally, I am a big fan of the Kenny Clark/Francy Boland Big Band, in which Woode was an inportant component and also of the recordings by smaller groups from the band like the trio albums Out of the Background and Francy Boland Trio.

Bo’s full article gives more details on what I have said here and covers also other subjects. Read it!

The usual mini portrait of an Ellington artist is this time about the singer Dolores Parker – The Wildest Gal in Town as Bo headline the article about here. She was with the Ellington band for only six months from 27 August 1947 to February 1948. During this period, she took part in seven recording sessions and in them she revealed herself “as a lady who could sing” according to Eddie Lambert.

She started her jazz vocalist career in Fletcher Henderson’s orchestra in November 1941. She stayed with Henderson until 1945 and then joined Earl Hines’ orchestra together with her husband in 1946 after having given birth to a daughter.

She got her job with the Ellington orchestra through an audition. Billy Strayhorn was the judge of the panel and proposed her to Ellington after having heard her sing Lush Life.

The article in Bo’s long series about Ellington compositions is about Lady of the Lavender Mist. He gives a poetic description of the song. “When he composed the song, Duke Ellington probably thought of a beautiful woman who can be seen in a blue-violet lavender mist.” Lady of the Lavender Mist was originally  meant to be the first movement in a longer work to be called The French Suite.

It was recorded 14 August 1947 for Columbia with Jimmy Hamilton and Lawrence Brown as main soloist. It stayed in the repertoire in 1948 and was included in the program of the concert at Carnegie Hall on 13 November 1948. It was also played in the concert at Cornell University on 10 December 1948. Thereafter, the only entry of it in NDESOR is a dance date in March 1952.

The new Bulletin also have some other articles.

Bo Haufman has written a very good summary of the Duke Ellington Meeting 2022. It really tells what happened during the four days of this virtual conference.

There are also a reprint of an article that pianist Bobby Short wroye about his memories of Duke Ellington, reviews of recent new Ellington CDs and a remembrance of the Swedish pianist Nils Lindberg.

New CD

During the summer, Storyville Records issued a CD with Clark Terry and His Big Bad Band in Holland in 1979.

It is a studio recording from 6 September 1979 made for later radio broadcast. It is not known if the recording was broadcasted and if so when.

The songs on the CD are: A Toi; Rabdi; On the Trail; Don’t Speak Now; Blues All Day, Blues All Night; Carney; Rock Skippin’ at the Blue Note; Just Squeeze Me; Jeep’s Blues; Shell Game; Mumbles; Una Mas and Take the “A” Train.

In this version of the Big Bad Band, the only Ellingtonians besides Terry are Chuck Connors and Buster Cooper. The rest of the band is a talented group of younger musicians.

Here is Carney from the CD.

Almost two month before or 15 July to be exact, Terry and his Big Bad Band performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival. It played the same songs as in the studio recording but in a slightly different order.

Here is Jimmy Heath’s arrangement of Una Mas from this occasion.

It is quite likely that the band appeared at other jazz festivals in July and August but no details are known. If someone has information about this, please contact the web editor.

Duke Ellington Society

I end this article with the letter that the Board of the Duke Ellington Society of Southern California (DES) has sent to its members and other Ellington fans recently. “It is good news that it is still among us”, the Chairman of DESS, Bo Haufman, said in a mail to DESS’ members and we all hope that it will stay that way!


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