Duke Ellington arrived at Malmö Airport from Paris on 3 March to start the Nordic leg of his 1963 Spring tour of Europe. In the same evening, he gave a concert in the Students Hall at the University of Lund. It was my second Ellington concert.

The next day, Ellington and the band went to Gothenburg (Göteborg) for an evening concert. There no recordings from the concerts in Lund and Gothenburg.

The next stop was Helsinki, the capitol of Finland where Ellington and the orchestra gave two concerts on 5 February. Luckily, both there were filmed and clips have been circulating among collectors for some years.

Two years ago, someone put up on YouTube a video of the second concert. It is not a true video but a soundtrack with a photo, i.e. it has all the music and Ellington’s presentations. It is no doubt that it is the full second concert contrary to claims in some quarters.

But before the video appeared on Facebook, both the first and second concerts were already available on Sugarmegs and DESS’ godismaster Anders Asplund was one of the few who discovered them there.

All this happened because at the end of 2018, the Finnish radio station YLE 1 begun a series of podcasts called Jazz Legends in Finland and the two with the Ellington concerts were among the first to be broadcasted.

I have compared the podcast originals with the streaming versions. As regards the first concert, they are identical except that in the streaming version, Ellington’s presentations during the concert have been suppressed.

As regards the second concert, there are other differences as well. The streaming version does not include Things Ain’t What It Used To Be,  which follows Tutti for Cootie in the concert. It is followed by a long version of Perdido in the actual 5 Februari concert on  but in the streaming version The Blues sung by Milt Grayson has been put before Perdido  and his version Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me comes after. This changes the atmosphere quite a lot.

The first concert is shorter than the second one – 59 minutes vs 1 hour 10 minutes. The difference is to a large extent explained by a long “encore” of Caravan in the second comcert.

Finally, the two concerts have quite different program. Only New Concerto for Cootie and Perdido with the long drum solo by Sam Woodyard are featured in both concerts.

In addition to them, the first concert has Asphalt Jungle Theme, Guitar Amour, Jam With Sam, Cop-out + Cop-out Extension, Star-Crossed Lovers and the Milt Grayson feature One More Once while the second concert has Afro Bossa, Kinda Dukish/Rockin’ In Rhythm, Caline-Silk Lace, The Eight Veil, Pyramid, Tutti For Cootie, Things Ain’t What They Used To Be, The Blues, Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me and Caravan.

NDESOR and Ellingtonia lists only one concert with all the music listed above.

After Helsinki, Ellington went to Stockholm, where he and the orchestra played two concerts on 6 February. According NDESOR and Ellingtonia, they had with minor differences the combined program of the TWO Helsinki  concerts. This makes them two hour long concerts. I would like to know when the two concerts started. Does anyone know?

Author: Ulf Lundin




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