In this article with news from the Ellington world, I cover the new issue of DESUK’s Blue Light, Ian Bradley’s Tone Parallel 5, the latest DESScafé and Uptown Lockdown and Storyville’s reissue of the 1988 LP “Ben Webster Plays Ellington”.
I should have written about many other things but I like to keep the length of the article to maximum 1000 words. I have left space for information about the Ellington Study Group Conference in Paris next year as soon as it become available yet.
New issue of Blue Light
The autumn 2022 issue of Blue Light will arrive in the mail and post boxes of the DESUK members any day. It is another expanded edition, this time with 50 pages of interesting reading plus a nice front cover and photo back cover. We should really be grateful to Gareth Evens for his hard work to put it together.
My summary of the content is available in a separate article.
Tone Parallel issue 5
The topic is once again the Ellington Week at the University of Wisconsin in July 1972. The major part of the article is built on an interview with record producer Chuck Nessa.
He founded Nessa Records in 1967 at the urging of Roscoe Mitchell and Lester Bowie. Tthe record label became an important vehicle for Art Ensemble of Chicago and similar group.
According to Bradley, Nessa became interested in Ellington at an early age and developed this over the years. He attended Ellington concerts when he could and when Ness produced an Randy Weston album, he “came into contact with Ellington’s sister Ruth”.
Apparently Duke Ellington also knew about Ness and one day at the eve of the UWIS festival, he called Ness and offered him tickets for the whole week. So NESS attended with his wife and in the article Bradley tells us what Ness told him.
The article is very nicely illustrated by images of news paper articles and photos in a scrap book that Ness (?) put together at one point in time.
There is also a part in the article about the strained relationship between Duke and Paul Gonsalves in the later years and the moving reconciliation between them at Ellington’s last lecture at UWIS.
The September DESScafé took place 17 October 2022 and its theme was Duke Ellington 1951-1955.
Under this title, Anders Asplund, Thomas Erikson, Rasmus Henriksen och Leif Jönsson demonstrated how the Duke Ellington Orchestra developed from the beginning to the middle of the 1950’s thanks to the recruitment of young and talented musicians with roots in modern jazz when older musicians left.
The music played in the meeting can be listened to in the DESScafé Jukebox
A new Uptown Lockdown podcast was posted on YouTube by Brian Priestley on 29 October. In it he talks to journalist-author-broadcaster-
New Ben Webster record
Within the framework of the celebration of its 70th anniversary, Storyville Records has reissued the 1988 LP “Ben Webster Plays Ellington” in its Storyville Vinyl Remasters series. Accordingly, the record has the original sleeve design and Brian Priestley’s liner notes with insightful comments and is a limited edition release pressed on 180 gram virgin vinyl.
Recently, It was also made available in digital format unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
Just to remind our readers, all versions of Ben Webster Plays Ellington (including the new one) have four quartet numbers and five with the Danish Radio Big Band (or its predecessor). Two of the quartet numbers are from the Pori Jazz Festival 14 July 1967 and two from a concert at the Odd Fellow Palace in Copenhagen 1969. The big band numbers were broadcasted by Danish Radio 22 November 1971, 10 October 1969 and 27 November 1969.
The CD version has two additional tracks from a concert in Sweden in 1972.
Author: Ulf Lundin