The autumn issue of Blue Light (Volume 30:2) reached the DESUK members in mid October. It is another very good issue by Gareth Evans.
It is dominated by a ten page article by the American writer and Ellington fan Danny Caine about Ellington’s My People. It is one of the “must reads” in the new issue! I guess that the article is developed from an even longer article full of photos and memorablia from the performance of the musical at the Centry of Negro Progress Exposition in Chicago and Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, which Caine has published on his blog. The address to the blog article is http://dancai.blogspot.com/search?q=my+people
The second long article is by Gareth himself. It is part three of his series In Duplicate: Duke and Dylan. Perhaps it is the best part of the series because of the common dimensions of the two artists Gareth focuses on – religion and a never-ending urge to create music.
“Christianity and religious belief played central roles in their lives and music” is Gareth opening line of the section With God on their side. “In Ellington’s case his Christianity seems to have remained a fundamental part of his world view from the outset; Dylan, born a Jew, briefly became a Born Again Christian in middle age whilst he had reconnected with his Jewish roots at various other times in his adult life.”
As regards the music dimension, “perhaps the most remarkable thing that these two artists share in common is their longevity” says Gareth and gives the reader examples and reflections on this in the second part of the article. It is of course also a article that should be read by all Blue Light subscribers.
Another article by Gareth that I recommend is Drop Me Off In Northington. It is a report from The Grange Festival that takes place at The Grange – a country estate near Northington in Hampshire – since 2017. This year, the program included a special Ellington event – Ellington: From Stride to Strings – which seems to have been very interesting. Space does not allow to give details here but there but read Gareth’s article to get them.
Another musical event which seems to have been very interesting is something called Harlem Renaissance that the Guildhall School of Music and Drama organised in May. Quentin Bryar reports on it in the new Blue Light.
Fred Glueckstein‘s contribution to Blue Light is this time an article about James P. Johnson and his influences on Ellington. Also an article not to miss.
Another excellent article is Ian Bradley’s report from the Ellington Conference in Paris in April. Other reports from it is Bo Haufman’s in the DESS Bulletin and my own on the Ellington Galaxy website.
To summarise: What more can you ask for? Make sure to renew your DESUK membership and get Blue Light also next year.
Author: Ulf Lundin