DESScafé is a virtual meeting place for DESS members andf others to meet and discuss Duke Ellington’s music and musicians.
It takes place on ZOOM. Each meeting has a theme and two-three presenters/animators select and introduce the music linked to it. The meetings last about one hour and a half.
Desscafé opened the first time in October 2020 and since then the café visitors have discussed and listened to interpretations of Ellington music by many Ellingtonians.
So far this year, the themes in the DESScafé has been Ellingtonians in small groups play Ellington in the 1960’s (January), Shorty Baker (February), Essentially Ellington Competion (March), Perdido (April) and Ellington’s last English tours (May).
The next DESScafé will take place on 12 september and will for the first time be in English. The theme is The Young Ben Webster 1932-1939 and the idea is to discuss his stylistic development. Thomas Erikson and myself will be the presenters/animators.
The Zoom link for the meeting is available at https://ellingtongalaxy.org/desscafe/.
As reported in Ellington News 2022-2, at the end of May, DESUK’s Uptown Lockdown got a new and interesting format with Brian Priestley interviewing a guest. He does it once a month and the interviews are uploaded to the Uptown Lockdown channel on YouTube.
The first one was with the musician, jazz historian and author of many books on jazz, Alyn Shipton. Brian Priestley’s Ellington-oriented conversation with him is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LJ5zYBFAUQ
The next one was with bassist Dave Green, who “enthused about Ellington, Jimmie Blanton and playing frequently with Ben Webster. The interview can be seen and heard at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbRBTGcNnoc
The third interview was with the saxophonist, clarinettist and Ellington aficionado Alan Barnes. It can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70efqBYML34
Priestley’s latest interview was with trumpeter and arranger Guy Barker. “Learn all about his early interest in Rex Stewart and Cootie Williams and about his mentoring by Clark Terry as well as hearing some great Ellington/Strayhorn music, says Brian. Here is the link to the interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fuaHwEKBdA&t=3s
The Ellington Effect
Last week, I learned from David Bergerthe the first volume in this ambitious and amazing project is still a couple of years away. Pity but we have to respect that it is a complicated project for which it is not easy to find a publisher.
Until we have the books, there are the monthly Ellington Effect workshops.
They are monthly ZOOM meetings where David “dives into a single composition each time analyzing it musically line by line and answering questionsfrom the attendees”. They last for more than two hours and sometimes they are hard to follow for a “non-expert”. But since one has to have a subscription to attend the works, one can listen to them over again and discover more aspect each time.
So far there have been 18 workshops. The most recent one was about Blasck Beauty and David gave a fascinating presentation. The next one, which will be about Harlem Speaks, takes place on 25 September.
The full list of workshops are at https://courses.suchsweetthundermusic.com/products/home.
Canada Lee broadcast
Thank you to Brian Koller and Charlie Dyson for telling us that the full half-hour version of the Canada Lee from 9 June, 1941 is available on the Internet.
There is one on YouTube as part of a 3 hours and 42 minutes of a collage of radio programs from 9 June 1941 in the World War Two Old Time Radio channel. The Canada Lee broadcast is towards the end of the program. The full program is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5_4_Z0YDfU.
Another one is available on Past Daily and the article there has both the radio program and an extensive article about Canada Lee and the background to the program. It was apparently a celebration of the Broadway opening for the Charles Wright play Native Son, in which Canada Lee had the “starring role”.
The Ellington aspects of the broadcast is that “Duke, Jeffries and Ivie Anderson are mentioned at the start of it. Ellington has a scripted dialogue with Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, then accompanies Jeffries on “Brown-Skin Gal”. It seems that Ellington intended to accompany Ivie Anderson on “Chocolate Shake” but she is a no-show, which obligates Ellington to turn the number into a piano solo” (quote from Brian Koller).
Recently, a video version of the interview was put on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZC4Xn9VMT4
Radio Jazz Copenhagen
The website has written about this radio station a couple of times. It is an amazing one, which broadcasts 24/24 hours a day and have many thematic interesting broadcasts.
One of them is Lördagskonserten (the Saturday Concert) which often features our friend and DESS member Bjarne Busk.
For the moment, the theme is recordings from jazz clubs in New York and the program on 17 September had recordings by Count Basie at Café Society in 1941.
Radio Jazz has also a special program about Ellington. It is called The Wonderful World of Duke Ellington and brings together the Ellington expert Henrik Wolsgaard-Iversen and two of his friends to play and talk about Ellington music. The latest episode was n:o 151 in the series and others will soon follow.
Like Lördagskonserten, the most recent The Wonderful World of Duke Ellington programs are available in the blog on the website.
But there is much more in the blog like some episodes of series on Ben Webster and the four program about the Swedish singer Nannie Porres.
Unfortunately, everything on Radio Jazz is broadcasted in Danish so it can be enjoyed only by those who understand this language.
Hot Jazz Saturday Night
In his program on 13 August, Rob Bamberger gave the listeners two hours of music from the period when he had left Ellington. He gave us a good and varied selection and often came back to Con Chapman’s book on Hodges, Rabbit’s Blues.
For a limited period, the program will be available to DESS member in the restricted Rob Bamberger area on the website https://ellingtongalaxy.org/ellington-arkivet/radioprogram/rob-bamberger/. The password is the same as for other restricted areas.