| THE INTERNATIONAL|
DUKE ELLINGTON MUSIC SOCIETY
04/2 August-November 2004
FOUNDER: BENNY AASLAND
Voort 18b, 2328 Meerle, Belgium
Telephone: +32 3 315 75 83
A small problem
The future of DEMS.
Metropolitan Opera House, 21Jan51
The Auckland Concert of 10Feb70
Harry Rasky Interview
Leonard Feather Interview
Timme Rosenkrantz Interview
Maurice Peress. Dvorak to Duke Ellington.
Claire Gordon. My Unforgettable Jazz Friends.
Ellington orchestra in Trail, B.C., on 10Apr52.
An addition to Duke's Itinerary with a question-mark.
ON THE ROAD AND ON THE AIR
The Blanton/Webster Era, Part One
October 1939 to December 1940
20oct39 to 2Nov39, Club Caprice, Hotel Coronado, St. Louis, MO. (daily ads, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 19oct-2Nov39) Duke Ellington became the first black bandleader to land a gig at the Hotel Coronado, a choice downtown "location" with broadcasts. Local 15-minute radio broadcasts were aired twice every night at 7:30 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. on KXOK. (Radio listings, St. Louis Globe Democrat, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Star-Times, 20oct-2Nov39) KXOK was owned by the St. Louis Star-Times, which previewed of one the programs. "Duke Ellingtons original compositions, You Gave Me the Gate, Solid Old Man, and In a Mizz, will be heard on KXOK at 11:15 p.m. during Ellingtons broadcast from Club Caprice of Hotel Coronado in St. Louis." ("News From Radio Stations," St. Louis Star-Times, 30oct39, p16)
CBS carried national broadcasts on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. CST. (Harold Jovien, "Radio Raves," Gary American, 10Nov39, p5, and other African American newspapers) Late night radio listings in the St. Louis papers were incomplete, but list 11:30 p.m. CST broadcasts on 31oct and 2Nov39 on St. Louis CBS station, KMOX. The one surviving air check from Club Caprice is dated 2Nov39 from WJR, a CBS station in Detroit.
20oct39, Club 49, St. Louis, MO. (ad, St. Louis Argus, 20oct39, p12) Ellington recalled hearing Blanton for the first time "in a hot spot on the second floor of Jesse Johnsons restaurant." (Music is My Mistress, p164) Club 49, located "atop the Deluxe cafeteria [owned by Jesse Johnson]" (Ben Thomas, "Night After Night," St. Louis Argus, 10Jun38, p7), fits Ellingtons description. "Duke Ellington has been frequenting Club 49 these nites in town. We wonder if the maestro is planning to add Jimmie Blanton, bass fiddler with Fate Marables band, to his aggregation." (J. Von Chapman, "Town Chatter," St. Louis Argus, 27oct39, p7)
Blanton sent his mother a telegram indicating that he joined Duke Ellington and His Orchestra on 2Nov39, closing night at the Hotel Coronado. (Phil Schaap, WKCR radio, New York, 6Jan96)
3Nov39, Blackstone Hotel, Chicago. Suggested in the Igo Itinerary, no documentation given, no mention in Chicago papers. (Tribune, Daily News, Evening Herald-Examiner, Defender)
4Nov39, Huff Gym, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL. Homecoming dance, 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. ("S-A Homecoming Ball is Tonight," Daily Illinois, 4Nov39, p1)
10Nov39, Forum Rose Room, Wichita, KS. (ad, Wichita Eagle, 10Nov39, p10)
15Nov39, Roseland Ballroom, Kansas City, MO. ("Duke Ellington and Band Jive at Roseland Ballroom," Kansas City Call, city edition, 17Nov39, p8)
16Nov39, Castle Ballroom, St. Louis, MO. Dance in honor of State Teachers convention. (ad, St. Louis Argus, 10Nov39, p7)
19Nov39, Miramar Ballroom, Gary, IN. 8:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. "While jitterbug was the dance craze of the affair, many other couples could be seen gliding along the floor at a smooth and easy pace which seemed to enable them to enjoy the music much more." Tunes included Stompy Jones, Blue and Sentimental, What A Life, Im in Another World, and Sophisticated Lady; Herb Jeffrey on Whats New, Stairway to the Stars, Lilacs in the Rain, Star Dust, If I Knew Then, My Prayer; Ivie Anderson on Im Checking Out; You Can Count on Me; Aint What You Do; Jumpin Jive; Oh Babe, Maybe Someday. ("Crowd Packs Miramar to Hear Duke Ellington," Gary American, 24Nov39, p5)
20Nov39, Savoy Ballroom, Chicago. Federated Hotel Waiters Union ball. "Local 356 is composed of waiters from the leading loop hotels. The list of expected celebrities includes Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, John Kirby and Cab Calloway." ("Duke to Play for Hotel Waiters Union," Chicago Defender, 18Nov39, p8)
21Nov39, New Deal Tavern, Chicago.
5 a.m. breakfast party for Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington following waiters ball at Savoy. ("LaRue Will Honor Duke and King Cab," Chicago Defender, 18Nov39)
22Nov39, Vocalion recording session, Chicago, Barney Bigard; Columbia recording session, Duke Ellington and Jimmie Blanton duets.
22Nov39, Drake Hotel, Chicago. University of Chicago Intrafraternity Ball. (Chicago Daily Maroon, 8Nov39, p1)
24Nov39, "Young Man with a Band" broadcast, Chicago. "Young Man With a Band" originated from WBBM in Chicago and was heard at 9:30 p.m. CST Saturday nights, and was broadcast coast-to-coast overthe CBS network. Duke Ellingtons life story was portrayed with musical excerpts.
25 and 26Nov39, Palace Theater, Peoria, IL. Shows at 2:30, 5:00, 7:25, 9:55; with a movie. (Ads in Peoria Journal-Transcript, 24 and 25Nov39)
30Nov39, Municipal Auditorium, Birmingham, AL. (Birmingham News, 30Nov39, p1)
3Dec39, Sunset Terrace Indianapolis, IN. (ad, Indianapolis Recorder, 2Dec39, p12) "Jimmie Blanton really played the bass fiddle and was featured before the mike on that unforgettable Sophisticated Lady it was really unique and fascinating and spine-chilling for an encore Jimmie featured his fiddle on Liza ." Other tunes included: Blue Moon; Ivie Anderson on Im Satisfied, It Dont Mean A Thing, Solitude, and St. Louis Blues. (Ye Scribe, "In the Groove," Indianapolis Recorder, 9Dec39, p12)
9Dec39, Blackstone Hotel, Chicago. Supper dance sponsored by Julius Hoffman. (Adeline Fitzgerald, "Monday Memos," Chicago Herald-American, 11Dec39, p9)
10Dec39, Music Hall, Toppers Ballroom, Cincinnati, OH. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. (ad, Cincinnati Enquirer, 10Dec39, p5)
15Dec39, William Penn Hotel, Pittsburgh, PA. (Pittsburgh Courier, 23Dec39, p21)
16Dec39, Cotton Club, Indianapolis, IN. Members of the orchestra attend, and Jimmie Blanton jams with the house band including Eugene (Sox) Pope and Jimmie Hinsley. "It was interesting to hear Johnny [Hodges] tell me how he found Jimmie Blanton in St. Louis and how when Jimmie plays Body and Soul he plays more changes than any horn tooter." (Ye Scribe, "In the Groove," Indianapolis Recorder, 23Dec39, p12)
17Dec39, Pantheon Theater, Vincennes, IN. "Continuous shows" with a movie. (ad, Vincennes Sun-Commercial, 17Dec39, p2)
20Dec39, Eden Club, Chicago. Nightclub in suburban Chicago. ("Duke Ellington to the Eden," Chicago Herald-American, 16Dec39, p10; ad, Chicago Herald-American, 20Dec39, p10)
25Dec39, Union City High School Gym, Union City, TN. Christmas night dance,
9 p.m. to 1 a.m. (ad, Union City Messenger, 17Dec39)
26Dec39, New Sikeston Armory, Sikeston, MO. 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. ("Ellington Packs Armory 1200 Dancers Brave Snowstorm for Music of Famous Orchestra," Sikeston Standard, 29Dec39, p1)
29Dec39, Blackstone Hotel, Chicago. Debutante ball for the daughter of meatpacking baron Edwin Cudahy. (Jean [Bach], "Sara Peace, Sheila Cudahys Parties Are Todays High Spots for Young Set," Chicago Herald-Examiner, 29Dec39, p9)
31Dec39, "Meet the Band" broadcast, Chicago. WBBM 12:30 to 1 p.m. CST, and broadcast nationally over CBS, featured "a special arrangement of Ring Dem Bells." (Chicago Defender, 30Dec39)
31Dec39, Marigold Ballroom, Chicago. The Marigold Gardens, a boxing arena in the North End, was converted to a dance hall for New Years Eve. (ad, Chicago Herald-Examiner, 30Dec39, p11)
1Jan40, Hines Hospital, Maywood, IL. The band played for veterans. (Tempo, 8Jan40, p4)
4Jan40, Butler Theater, Butler, PA. Shows at 2:00, 4:15, 7:00, and 9:15; with a movie. (ads, Butler Eagle, 2Jan40 and 3Jan40)
5Jan40, Strand Theater, Cumberland, MD. Shows at 2:19, 4:24, 7:01, and 9:13; with a movie. (ads, Cumberland Evening Times, 1-5Jan40) Wilhelmina Gray of Pittsburgh filled in for Ivie Anderson at Butler and Cumberland. ("Sang in Ivys Place," Baltimore Afro-American, 20Jan40, p14)
7Jan40, Savoy Ballroom, New York. 3,000 attend performance of bands of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Erskine Hawkins. ("Scores on Hobby Lobby," New York Amsterdam News, 13Jan40, p21) "Practically every sepia ork leader who wasnt working turned out to pay homage to the Ellington crew. Saw Don Redman, Jimmy Mundy, and Count Basie in a group listening with both ears pinned back." (Nell Dodson, "This is Harlem," New York Amsterdam News, 13Jan40, p24)
8Jan to 20Jan40, Southland, Boston, MA. (ad, Boston Post, 8Jan40, p10) "Two revues at 7:30 and 11:30 p.m. Dinner $1.25 up." ("Where to Dine," Boston Herald, 9Jan40, p11) WBZ broadcast locally on Tuesdays (9&16Jan) and Fridays (12&19Jan) at 12:05 a.m. EST, and on Friday (12Jan) at 7:00 p.m. (radio listings, Boston Herald) These were carried nationally over WJZ New York/NBC Blue except the 12Jan midnight program. There was also a 15Jan40 broadcast at 11 p.m. on WJZ/NBC Blue. (NBC radio logs at the Library of Congress; radio listings, New York Times) Although Ben Webster is not heard on the air check from 9Jan, it is generally recognized that he joined the band during the Southland engagement. Boston papers do not indicate when (Boston Globe, Boston Post, Boston News, Guardian, Chronicle), but two different New York papers give a clue. "Ben Webster denies plans to switch from Teddy Wilson to Duke Ellington, but the grapevine has him making the change at the end of the Golden Gate [ballroom in New York] run." (Nell Dodson, "This is Harlem," New York Amsterdam News, 20Jan40, p24) "Teddy Wilson leaves for the road on January 11." (Bill Chase, "All Ears," New York Amsterdam News, 13Jan40)
21Jan40, RKO Boston, Boston, MA. (ad, Boston Herald, 21Jan40)
22Jan40, City Hall, Portland, ME. 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. "battle of music" with Tony Pastor. (Portland Press Herald, 22Jan40, p12)
2325Jan40, unidentified one-nighters. "Boston, Jan. 22. - Ben Webster, well known tenor sax man forrmerly with Teddy Wilson, has joined Duke Ellingtons orchestra, which is playing one-nighters around New England this week after packing them in at the Southland here. Bass player Billy Taylor, after four years with the band, is leaving. He had been playing side-by-side with Jimmie Blanton, Dukes new bass virtuoso, formerly with Fate Marable, for several weeks." (Jazz Information; 26Jan40; pp1, 6)
26Jan40, Roseland State Ballroom, Boston, MA. 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Dance sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Dining Car Union, Local 370. (C.V. Granville, "Duke Ellington Attracts Crowd," The Chronicle, 3Feb40, p8)
27Jan40, Recreation Ballroom, Lawrence, MA. (ad, Lawrence Evening Tribune, 26Jan40, p20)
28Jan40, Savoy Ballroom, New York. "Record crowd of 4,000" for Duke Ellington and Erskine Hawkins. ("Duke Ellington Wows Em At Harlems Famous Savoy," Pittsburgh Courier, 3Feb40, p20)
29Jan40, Clifton Theatre, Huntingdon, PA (ad, Huntingdon Daily News, 29Jan40)
1Feb40, Memorial Union, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. Junior Prom. (1940 Badger yearbook, p214)
2Feb to 8Feb40, State-Lake Theater, Chicago. Shows at 12:28, 3:37, 6:46, 9:48, featuring Danny and Edith, Bill Bailey, and the Two Zephyrs; with movie. (ads, Chicago Daily News, 2-8Feb40) Tunes included: Boy Meets Horn, Prelude in C Sharp Minor, Mood Indigo, St. Louis Blues. ("State-Lake, Chi," Variety, 7Feb40, p40); Lilacs in the Rain, All the Things You Are, Prelude in C Sharp Minor, Sunny Side of the Street. ("Vaudeville Reviews," Billboard, 10Feb40).
9Feb to 15Feb40, Regal Theater, Chicago. (ads, Chicago Herald-American, 9-15Feb40) "The same show presented at the loop theater ." ("Dukes Band Sensation at Regal," Chicago Defender, 10Feb40, p11)
14Feb40, Columbia recording session, Chicago. 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Vocalion recording session, Barney Bigard, 4:20 to 5:15 p.m.
15Feb40, Vocalion recording sessions, Chicago. Barney Bigard, 12:15 to 1:30 a.m.; Cootie Williams, 1:30 to 4:00 a.m.
16Feb40, Masonic Temple, Fountain Ballroom, Wayne University, Detroit, MI. 1,400 students attend. (Joan Calvin, "At the J-Hop," The Detroit Collegian, 19Feb40, p4)
17Feb40, Michigan Theatre, Muskegon, MI. (ad, Muskegon Chronicle, 17Feb40)
18Feb to 20Feb40, Keiths Theatre, Grand Rapids, MI. (ads, Grand Rapids Herald, 17-20Feb40) "Ellington directs in an unusual style playing a piano which is elevated so he may play while standing. Many of Ellingtons own hot compositions are featured, but ever-popular St. Louis Blues probably brought more applause than any other number." (Grand Rapids Herald, 19Feb40, p7)
23Feb and 24Feb40, Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, MI. Shows at 3:56, 7:10 and 9:25; with a movie. (ads, Ann Arbor News, 21-24Feb40)
25Feb to 28Feb40, Strand Theatre, Lansing, MI. Stage shows at 2:25, 4:40, 7:10 and 9:30; with a movie. (ads, State Journal, 24-28Feb40)
29Feb40, Palace Theater, South Bend, IN. Caravan, Prelude in C Sharp Minor, The Sergeant Was Shy, Boy Meets Horn are featured; along with Ivie Anderson on Jumpin' Jive and On the Sunny Side of the Street, and Herb Jeffries on All the Things You Are, Lilacs in the Rain and Its a Blue World. (Virginia Worden, "Duke Ellington Revue Pleases," South Bend Tribune, 1Mar40, p4)
1Mar40, Union Ballrooms, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. (Will Zimmerman, "Ellington Plays at Informal Tonight," Purdue Exponent, 1Mar40, p1)
3Mar to 5Mar40, Temple Theater, Saginaw, MI. Shows at 2:20, 4:40, 7:00, and 9:20 with a movie. (ads, Saginaw News, 1-5Mar40)
6 to 7Mar40, Victor recording session, Chicago. 6:55 p.m. to 12:40 a.m.
8Mar to 14Mar40, Colonial Theater, Detroit, MI. Shows at 3:30, 7:30, and 11:00 with a movie. (ads, Detroit Free Press, 7Mar-14Mar40)
15Mar40, Victor recording session, Chicago. 2:30 to 7:30 p.m.
16Mar40, Tune Town, St. Louis, MO. Local broadcasts from ballroom at 10:30 pm and 11:45 pm over KXOK (ad, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 16Mar40, p6C; and radio listing, p3C)
19Mar to 25Mar40, Denver Theatre, Denver, CO Shows at 1:09, 3:38, 6:37, 9:16; with a movie. (ads, Rocky Mountain News, 19-25Mar40) Tunes include: Cotton Club Stomp, Prelude in C Sharp Minor, The Sergeant Was Shy, Boy Meets Horn, St. Louis Blues. (James H. Briggs, "Duke Ellingtons Orchestra Takes Over Denvers Stage," Rocky Mountain News, 20Mar40, p4)
29Mar to 31Mar40, Century Ballroom, Tacoma, WA. The ballroom was decorated with thousands of daffodils for the Annual Daffodil Ball (29Mar), pictured on page 154 of Music is My Mistress. ("Ellington Due Here," Tacoma News Tribune, 29Mar40, p11)
1Apr to 14Apr40, Show Box, Seattle, WA. Night club with dancing and floor shows at 3:00, 8:00, and 11:00 p.m., featuring Marie Bryant, comedian Dudley Dickerson, Edwards and Pearson, and Gene King. Local half-hour broadcasts were carried over KIRO at 10:45 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. (ads and radio listings, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1-14Apr40)
8Apr40, Finnish Hall, Seattle, WA. Benefit for Musicians Local No. 493, A.F.M. Others playing at this benefit were Gene Coy, Gay Jones, and Palmer Johnson. (ad, Northwest Enterprise, 5Apr40, p4)
15Apr40, Forum, Vancouver, BC. 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. (ad, Vancouver Sun, 15Apr40, p7) "Upward of 4,000 people jittered and slithered, swayed their bodies, and clapped their hands to the rhythmic sounds of Duke Ellingtons band at the Forum Monday evening." (Stanley Bligh, "Ellington Band Wins Acclaim of Jitterbugs," Vancouver Sun, 16Apr40, p11)
15Apr40, Cave Supper Club, Vancouver, B.C. Duke Ellington was a guest at an after hours performance of the Harlem Trio, starring Marie Bryant and other dancers from the Seattle stage show. ("Ellington Guest at Cave Tonight," Vancouver Sun, 15Apr40, p9)
16Apr40, side trip to Victoria, British Columbia? According to Bea Ellis in letter to columnist. (Floyd G. Snelson, "Harlem," New York Age, 4May40, p4)
17Apr40, Uptown Ballroom, Portland, OR. Live broadcast 10:30 p.m. over KGW. (ad and radio listing, The Oregonian, 17Apr40)
19Apr40, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA ("Bands on tour Advance Dates, Billboard, 30Mar40, p13)
21 to 22Apr40, Sweets Ballroom, Oakland, CA. ("Bands on Tour Advance Dates," Billboard, 30Mar40, p13) Daily newspapers only list "tomorrow night." (ads, Oakland Tribune, Oakland Post-Enquirer, 20Apr40) Sweets had a policy of separate nights for whites and blacks. A boycott was attempted to protest higher admission prices for blacks on the second evening. (Jay Gould, "Globe News and Gossip," California Eagle, 2May40, p2B)
23Apr40, Club Alabam, Los Angeles, CA. "The band will not play but will be honored guests ." ("Duke Ellington To Be Honored," Los Angeles Sentinel, 18Apr40, p1)
24Apr to 30Apr40, Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles. (Ads in Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express, Los Angeles Times, 23-30Apr40) Jack the Bear added to stage show. Ellington was honored on his birthday (29Apr) with a "guest star night," with Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Rudy Vallee, and Paul Whiteman scheduled to appear. ("Star Guests at Orpheum," Los Angeles Daily News, 29Apr40) "Herb Jeffries has improved his technique marvellously. Reason: Dukes brilliant young arranger Billy Strayhorn has put all his fine art to work ." (Bill Smallwood, "Notes on a Scratchpad," California Eagle, 25Apr40, p9B)
1May40, Broadway Pier, San Diego, CA. "Dancing starts 8:30." (ad, San Diego Union, 1May40, p8A)
2May40, Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles. Private party. (Tempo, 15Apr40, p3)
2May40, Lincoln Park Roller Rink, Los Angeles. ("Duke Ellington Band Will Play Tonight," Los Angeles Sentinel, 2May40, p1) Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles gig ("Bands on Tour Advance Dates," Billboard, 13Apr40, p23) not mentioned in Los Angeles papers. (Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express, Los Angeles Daily News)
3May40, Civic Auditorium, Glendale, CA. ("Bands on Tour Advance Dates," Billboard, 13Apr40, p23) No mention in Los Angeles papers. (as 2May40) Unlikely event venue not listed in Glendale phone book.
4May40, Victor recording session, Hollywood. 1:45 to 5:15 p.m.
4May40, A "Central Avenue date." (Tempo, 15Apr40, p3)
6May40, White City ballroom, Ogden, Utah. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Local broadcast at 9:00 p.m. on KLO. (ad, Ogden Standard Examiner, 6May40, p8; radio listing, p10)
8May40, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO? Per Igo Itinerary, no source given, not mentioned in University of Missouri student paper or Columbia daily papers.
9May40, Civic Auditorium, Emporia, KS. To celebrate the opening of the new "$600,000" Civic Auditorium, Emporia held a five-day "Fiestaval." (W.L. White, "Emporia Greets Duke," Emporia Gazette, 10May40, p4)
10May40, Turnpike, Lincoln, NE. (ad, Lincoln Star, 10May40, p6)
11May40, Skylon Ballroom, Sioux City, IA. (ad, Sioux City Journal, 11May40, p2)
12May40, Chermot Ballroom, Omaha, NE. Local radio broadcast over WOW at 11:00 p.m. (ad, Omaha Sunday World-Herald, p9E; and radio listing, p8B) Local drummer Walter Herrod substituted for ailing Sonny Greer. (Jimmy Lazine, "Jivin with Jimmy," Omaha Star, 17May40, p6)
13May40, Oil Capital Club, Tulsa, OK. ("Duke to Play Oil Capital Nite Club," Pittsburgh Courier, 11May40, p21)
15May40, City Auditorium, Houston, TX. ("The Duke is Coming to Town," Houston Informer, 27Apr40, p7; "Ellington is Called Harlems Jazz Aristocrat," Houston Informer, 4May40, p7)
22May40, Arrived in Chicago. (Chicago Defender, 25May40, p13)
25May40, Burlington Memorial Auditorium, Burlington, IA. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. (ad, Burlington Hawkeye, 25May40, p3)
27May40, Skollers Swingland Cafe, Chicago. Duke Ellington and members of his band were honored guests. ("To Honor Duke," Chicago Defender, 25May40, p13)
28May40, Victor recording session, Chicago. 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.
30May40, LaBelle Resort, Gull Lake, MI. 9:00 p.m. to 1 a.m. (ad, Battle Creek Enquirer and News, 30May40, p4)
31May40, Buckeye Lake Pier Ballroom, Columbus, OH. (ad, Columbus Dispatch, 31May40, p2B)
1Jun40, WCHS Auditorium, Charleston, WV. "Welcome B.P.O.E. - 9:30 till 2:00." (ad, Charleston Gazette, 1Jun40, p7)
2Jun40, Howard Theater, Washington, DC. "Swing concerts" at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. (Bill Gottlieb, "Swing Sessions," Washington Post, 2Jun40, p8)
2Jun40, aboard Robert E. Lee, Cross Keys Nautical Cruise, Washington, DC. 8:30 until dawn. (ad in Ken Vail, Dukes Diary, no source given)
4Jun40, Boston, MA, (Igo Itinerary, no source given) Not found in Boston newspapers. (Boston Post, Boston Herald)
5Jun40, Old Orchard Pier, Old Orchard Beach, ME. (ad, Biddeford Daily Journal, 5Jun40, p6)
7Jun to 13Jun40, Apollo Theatre, New York. Continuous shows with Marie Bryant, Judy Carol, Conway and Parks, Jelli Smith, and Willie Jackson. (ads, New York Post, 7-13Jun40; New York Amsterdam News, 8Jun40, p17) "Ben Webster started out with Stardust and when the crowd yelled, Body and Soul, Ben, at first, demurred. Insistently, however, they demanded it and doggone if they didnt get it." (Dan Burley, "Backdoor Stuff," New York Amsterdam News, 15Jun40, p13)
10Jun40, "America Dances" broadcast. Recording for later broadcast on BBC. ("Duke on the Air," Melody Maker, 26Apr41)
12Jun40, "Radio Newsreel" program. Mutual. Not listed in New York Times radio listings.
13Jun40, Central Park Mall, New York. Ellington served as guest conductor of the New York Municipal Band. ("Ellington Fronts Municipal Band," Norfolk Journal and Guide, 15Jun40 p16)
14Jun40, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. (Cornell Sun, 14Jun40, p12)
15Jun40, Stambaugh Auditorium, Youngstown, OH. ("Interesting News for Colored Folks, Youngstown Vindicator, 10Jun40, p9) Prom sponsored by the Mystic Knight Club.
16Jun40, Side-trip to Chicago, orchestra in Dayton, Ohio? ("Duke Spends Sunday Visiting City," Chicago Defender, 22Jun40, p11) Ellington left the band and flew to Chicago to make arrangements for the American Negro Exposition.
17Jun40, Majestic Theater, Johnstown, PA. (ad, Johnstown Evening Tribune, 17Jun40, p15) Rocky Mount, N.C. ("Band Bookings," Variety, 22May40, p48) has been listed for this date, but seems unlikely. Count Basie was in Rocky Mount 17Jun40 for the annual June German Dance, a major African American social event. ("Basie Sent Bugs in Surprise Mood," Norfolk Journal and Guide, 29Jun40, p16)
21Jun40, Metropolitan Golden Ballroom, Philadelphia, PA. Avis Andrews from Cab Calloways orchestra was guest vocalist. ("Duke Ellington Dance Draws Jazz Lovers," Philadelphia Tribune, 27Jun40, p14)
22Jun40, Castle Garden, Dornay Park, Allentown, PA. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. (ad, Allentown Morning Call, 22Jun40)
23Jun40, Savoy Ballroom, New York. (Dan Burley, "Backdoor Stuff," New York Amsterdam News, 29Jun40)
24Jun40, Rocky Springs Park, Lancaster, PA. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. (ad, Philadelphia Afro-American, 15Jun40, p14)
27Jun40, Recreation Ballroom, Lawrence, MA. (Igo Itinerary, source not given) Not found in Boston papers. (Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Boston Post)
28Jun40, Palisades Amusement Park, Fort Lee, NJ. Appeared with Ina Ray Huttons orchestra. (ad, New York Post, 22Jun40, p6)
29Jun40, Casino, Bemus Point, NY. Open-air ballroom on Lake Chautauqua. (ad, Jamestown Evening Journal, 29Jun40, p5)
2Jul40, Vanns Warehouse, Abingdon, VA. "Seats sale at Pearl Roberts Home, and Abingdon Pharmacy, $1.00; at the door, $1.25. Limited space for white spectators; tickets at Cowan-Grant, 55c; at the door, 75c." (ad, Bristol News Bulletin, 1Jul40, p3)
3Jul40, Memorial Auditorium, Chattanooga, TN. Jimmie Blantons homecoming. Concert from 8:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. and dance from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. ("Ellington Here Tonight," Chattanooga Times, 3Jul40, p11; ad, Chattanooga Times, 2Jul40, p13)
4Jul40, Macon Auditorium, Macon, GA. Concert and dance. Creole Rhapsody, Creole Love Call, and Jumpin Jive performed. ("Ellington Concert Climaxes Home Coming Program Here," Macon Telegraph and News, 7Jul40, p17)
6Jul40, Armory, Charleston, WV. (ad, West Virginia Digest, 6Jul40, p6)
8Jul40, Armory, Mount Hope, WV. ("Band Bookings," Variety, 12Jun40, p35)
10Jul40, Joyland Casino, Lexington, KY. (ad, Lexington Herald, 10Jul40, p8)
12Jul40, Bayshore Pavilion, Buckroe Beach, VA. (E. Billingsworth, "Swinging on the Bandwagon," Norfolk Journal and Guide, 6Jul40, p17)
15Jul40, Frazier Park, Auburn, AL. ("Bands on Tour Advance Dates," Billboard, 29Jun40, p14)
16Jul40, Fairgrounds, Columbus, GA. ("Duke Ellington Orchestra to Play Tuesday Night," Columbus Ledger, 14Jul40, p22)
17Jul40, City Auditorium, Atlanta, GA. 9 p.m. (ad, Atlanta Daily World, 17Jul40) "Reserved section for white." (ad, Atlanta Constitution, 17Aug40, p4) The dance was for Negroes, but about 1,000 white people attended as spectators." ("Ellington Attracts Record 7,000 Dancers in Atlanta," Billboard, 17Aug40, p9)
18Jul40, Carolina Warehouse, Asheville, NC. (ad, Asheville Citizen Times, 18Jul40, p2) Not 16Jun40 as suggested for this date (DEMS Bulletin, 86/1)
19Jul40, Riverside Beach Park, Charleston, SC. ("Band Bookings," Variety, 10Jul40, p36) Not found in daily papers, African American paper, Lighthouse and Informer, not available. This gig has also been listed for 19Jun40 (Igo Itinerary, no source given). The 19Jul date seems more likely. "The pavilion was the only venue for black Charlestonians to see some of Americas finest musicians, legends such as Duke Ellington ." (Herb Frazier, Post and Courier, 12Aug2001, p1)
22Jul40, Victor recording session, New York. 2:15 to 6:15 p.m.
24Jul40, Victor recording session, New York. 10:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
25Jul40, Worlds Fair, New York. The bands of Duke Ellington and Charlie Barnet "appeared in a jam session" in "a case of teacher v. pupil and they both went to town." ("Dukes Charlie," Chicago Defender, 3Aug40, p11)
26Jul40 to 1Aug40, Eastwood Gardens, Detroit, MI. Nightly, with matinee on Sunday. (ads, Detroit Free Press, 26Jul40, p11, and 1Aug40, p11) Local, half-hour radio broadcasts on WWJ every night except Sunday (28Jul) at 11:30 p.m. EST. (Radio listings, Detroit Evening Times) The 29Jul and 31Jul broadcasts were carried nationally over NBC Red/WEAF New York. Tunes included Ko-Ko, Harlem Air Shaft, Rumpus in Richmond, and Jack the Bear, as well as The Sergeant was Shy and Im Checking Out. (NBC Logs at Library of Congress; radio listings, New York Times) "But you just cant play that [Tootin Through the Roof] forever," mused Duke between dance sets at Eastwood Gardens. "I felt long ago there was need for expressing more of the American Negros true feeling. So I wrote Boola in operatic form. Its orchestrated and ready for production probably in New York." ("Ellington Composes New Number," Detroit Evening Times, 30Jul40, p18)
2Aug40, Dayton, Ohio? "Leaving Detroit, the Duke Ellington Orchestra visits Dayton, Ohio; Virginia Beach; Washington, D.C; and New York . ("Duke Was Offered $100,000 by Sweden," Pittsburgh Courier, 10Aug40, p21) Dayton daily papers had no mention of Duke. (Dayton Daily News and Journal Herald)
4Aug to 10Aug40, Surf Beach Club, Virginia Beach, VA. Capacity crowds greeted the first black band to play this ocean front club. ("At Virginia Beach Surf Club," Norfolk Journal and Guide, 10Aug40, p16)
11Aug to 14Aug, Washington, D.C., New York? (See 02Aug40)
15Aug40, Kimballs Starlight Ballroom, South Lynnfield, MA. (ad, Boston Post, 15Aug40, p13)
16Aug and 17Aug40, Canobie Lake Park, Salem, NH. "Next Friday and Saturday." (Buddy Stewart, "Dance Music," Boston Post, 10Aug40, p6) Local broadcast, not listed in Boston papers, 17Aug40. The incorrect dating of this Canobie Lake Park broadcast as 19Aug has caused this to be listed as a four-day engagement. (DEMS Bulletin, 03/2-9)
20Aug40, Roseland State Ballroom, Boston, MA. Dance sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Dining Car Union, Local 370. (ad, Boston Post, 20Aug40, p11)
21Aug40, Roseland Ballroom, Claremont, NH. (ad, Claremont Daily Eagle, 21Aug40)
23Aug and 24Aug40, New Dance Pavilion, Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., and 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. ("Program Today at the C.N.E.," Toronto Evening Telegram, 23Aug40, p2, and 24Aug40, p2; ad, 23Aug40, p13; "Slow Music Wartime Fad Says Swing King Ellington," Toronto Evening Telegram, 24Aug40, p5)
26Aug40, Coliseum, Chicago. 4,000 attended the Miss Bronze America Contest of the American Negro Exposition. Duke Ellington and his Orchestra played for the contest and Ellington crowned contest winner Miriam Ali. ("Beauty Queen to Leave for New York on Sunday," Chicago Defender, 31Aug40 p2) Following the coronation ceremonies, Ellington played for dancing at the Tropical Gardens next door. (Chicago Tribune, 1Sep40, part6, p6)
27Aug40, Municipal Auditorium, St. Louis, MO. The Grand Ball of the Elks Convention lasted "until daylight." ("Elks Ball is Colorful; 5,000 Attend," St. Louis Argus, 30Aug40, p3)
31Aug40, Lake Shore Country Club, Glencoe, IL. ("Band Bookings," Variety, 28Aug40, p40) Private event - unable to verify through Chicago or Glencoe papers.
2Sep40, Forest Park Highlands, St. Louis, MO. ("Highland to End Season Tonight," with ad, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 2Sep40, p4C)
3Sep40, Club Trocadero, Henderson, KY. (ad, Henderson Morning Gleaner, 3Sep40, p3)
5Sep40, Victor recording session, Chicago. 2:10 to 6:10 p.m.
5Sep40, "In Chicago Tonight" broadcast, Chicago. WGN/Mutual 7:30 p.m. CDT. (radio listing, Chicago Tribune, 5Sep40)
6Sep40 to 17oct40, Panther Room, Hotel Sherman, Chicago. "A prize catch for any band because of its nightly airing ." ("Duke is Due," Chicago Defender, 27Jul40, p10) There were two local half-hour broadcasts every night, except Monday: WMAQ at 11:00 p.m. and WENR at 12:30 a.m. CDT. (Radio listings, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Daily News; "Radio Raves" column, Kansas City Call, 6Sep40, p12, and other African-American papers)
21 of these broadcasts (early broadcasts on Saturdays, Sundays, and Thursdays; and late broadcasts on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) were fed nationally over NBC Blue/WJZ New York and NBC Red/WEAF New York. (NBC Logs at Library of Congress; radio listings, New York Times)
"For the first time in years he switched his opening theme to a new composition, Sepia Panorama ." ("Duke Ellingtons Opening Triumphs," Chicago Defender, 14Sept40) Opening night "took on the aura of a musical event with a capital E." (Joseph Lawler, "Cafe Table Topics," Chicago Daily News, 11Sep40)
In addition to a new opening theme and closing theme (Warm Valley), Ellington gave his new music of 1940 plenty of airplay: Harlem Air Shaft, Conga Brava, Ko-Ko, Rumpus in Richmond, Bojangles, Concerto for Cootie, Blue Goose, Cottontail, and In a Mellow Tone. Earlier works The Mystery Song and Doin the Voom Voom were revived, along with a solo piano version of Black Beauty. Popular tunes included My Greatest Mistake, Orchids for Remembrance, Madame Will Drop Her Shawl. (NBC Logs at Library of Congress)
9Sep40, "Your Music IQ" broadcast, Chicago WGN/Mutual 8:30 p.m. (radio listing, Chicago Daily News, 9Sep40, p16)
12Sep40, Grand Terrace Cafe, Chicago. "Ellington and party" for club reopening. ("Chicago Hails Fullers Band," Chicago Defender, 21Sep40, p12)
15Sep40, Brass Rail, Chicago. "Brass Rail Runs Amuck with Gang Of Celebrities," Chicago Defender, 21Sep40, p12)
29Sep40, Squares Boulevard Cafe, Chicago. ("Duke Ellington Feted at Squares Boulevard Café," Chicago Defender, 28Sep40, p12)
1oct40, Victor recording session, Chicago. Duke Ellington and Jimmie Blanton duets. 1:00 to 5:30 p.m.
17oct40, Victor recording session, Chicago. 2:15 to 6:15 p.m.
18oct to 24oct40, Oriental Theater, Chicago. Stage shows with Marie Bryant, Bill Bailey, and the Jones Brothers, starting at 12:43, 3:40, 6:37, and 9:34; with a movie. (Ads and theater listings, Chicago Daily News, 18-24oct40)
25oct40, Danceland, Cedar Rapids, IA. ("Over 1,000 Crowd Danceland to Hear Ellingtons Band," Cedar Rapids Gazette, 26oct40) Vogels, Hammond, Indiana, has also been listed for this date (Igo Itinerary, no source given), but cant be confirmed. (Hammond Times)
26oct40, Miramar Ballroom, Gary IN. The entertainment press listed the location as the "Miramar." ("Orchestra Routes," Billboard, 26Oct40, p12; and "Band Bookings," Variety, 2Oct40, p49) "Club Dunbar" was the social organization sponsoring the dance. ("Duke Ellington Will be Guest of Club Dunbar Saturday Night," Gary American, 25oct40, p2)
28oct40, Victor recording session, Chicago. 11:45 to 3:45 p.m.
28oct40, Parkway Ballroom, Chicago. "14th Annual Scholarship Dance, Kentucky State Alumni, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m." (ad, Chicago Defender, 19oct40, p14)
28oct40, Grand Terrace Cafe, Chicago. Duke attended as a guest with Bea Ellis. ("Highlights at Chicago Defender Mayor of Bronzeville Ball," Chicago Defender, 2Nov40, p11) Ray Nance was announced as a new band member on this day, and a farewell party for Cootie Williams was suggested for this week, date and location unknown. ("Ray Nance Gets Spot in Ellingtons Band, Chicago Defender, 2Nov40)
29oct and 30oct40, Orpheum Theatre, Madison, WI. Stage shows at 2:35, 4:50, 7:45, and 9:40; with a movie. (ads, State Journal, 29oct40, p12, and 30oct40, p14)
31oct40, Columbus Auditorium, Columbus, OH. (ad, Columbus Dispatch, 30oct40, p5)
1Nov40, Muncie Fieldhouse, Muncie, IN. "Thousands packed the fieldhouse last night for the opening engagement of the Young Republicans Carnival of Swing, starring Duke Ellington and his orchestra. The dance was for colored persons and white audience." ("Jam Fieldhouse For Opening of Swing Carnival," Muncie Morning Star, 2Nov40, p2)
2Nov40, Bluebird recording sessions, Chicago. Johnny Hodges, 10:20 a.m. to 1:20 p.m; Rex Stewart, 1:30 to 5:25 p.m.
2Nov40, Hammond, Indiana? A radio broadcast was listed for WJOB, located in Hammond, at 10:30 p.m. (radio listings, Chicago Herald American, 2Nov40, p20) There was no mention of a gig in the Hammond Times.
4Nov40, Minneapolis, MN.? "The States ballroom was able to book the Ellington band for an open date between Minneapolis and Winnipeg engagements ." ("Duke Ellington Features Own Compositions," Grand Forks Herald, 3Nov40, p21) Not mentioned in Minneapolis papers (Minneapolis Star Journal, Minneapolis Tribune, Minneapolis Spokesman) or at University of Minnesota.
5Nov40, States Ballroom, East Grand Forks, MN. Reference to "18-piece dance band" seems incorrect. ("East Side Briefs," Grand Forks Herald, 6Nov40, p6)
6Nov40, Auditorium, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Ray Nance joins band. (DEMS Bulletin, 00/1, p11) "Jimmie Blanton heavily featured." (Tony Alla, "Dukes Band Slays Em," Winnipeg Tribune, 7Nov40, p12) Tunes included: The Flaming Sword, Harlem Speaks, Warm Valley, I Dont Mind, In a Mellow Tone, Rumpus in Richmond, Boy Meets Horn, and St. Louis Blues. (George Beattie, "Wizard Wows Dukes Jazz Heps Em Up as 3,400 Rock in Rhythm," Winnipeg Free Press, 7Nov40, p1.)
7Nov 40, Crystal Ballroom, Fargo, ND. 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. (ad, Fargo Forum, 7Nov40, p18) Local broadcast at 9:00 p.m. over KVOX. Recorded by Jack Towers and Dick Burris. (The Duke at Fargo 1940 Special 60th Anniversary Edition, Storyville CD STCD 8316/17)
8Nov40, Duluth Armory, Duluth, MN. 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. (ad, Duluth Herald, 8Nov40, p10)
11Nov40, Bluebird recording session, Chicago. Barney Bigard, 11:30 to 2:30.
15Nov to 21Nov40, Regal Theatre, Chicago. (ad, Chicago Defender, 15Nov40, p12; theater listings, Chicago Herald American, 15-21Nov40) "Ray Nance is fitting into the picture nicely. Not only is Nance a fine musician, but his vocalizing is proving a sensation. Ellington admitted to reporters this week that he has had reasons to smile over the surprise performance of the Chicago musician." ("Nance Wins Dukes O.K.," Chicago Defender, 16Nov40, p13)
25Nov40, Graystone Ballroom, Detroit, MI;
26Nov and 27Nov40, Cleveland, Ohio? "Monday the band plays a dance engagement at the Graystone Ballroom in Detroit and then sets sail for Cleveland for three engagements." ("Duke Ellington Ends Stay Here," Chicago Defender, 23Nov40, p10) Michigan Chronicle not available for this date. Cleveland dates could not be confirmed, either. (Cleveland Plain Dealer; Press; Cleveland Call and Post)
28Nov40 to 4Dec40, Flatbush Theatre, Brooklyn, NY. (ads, Brooklyn Eagle, 27Nov40-4Dec40) Stage show with Marie Bryant featured on I Like to Riff, comedians Stump and Stumpy, and dancer Bill Bailey. Show includes Cotton Tail, Whispering Grass, Boy Meets Horn; Ivie Anderson on Five OClock Whistle; Herb Jeffries on Call of the Canyon and Our Love Affair. ("Flatbush, Bkln," Variety, 4Dec40, p53)
5Dec to 11Dec40, Windsor Theatre, New York. (ads, New York Post, 5-11Dec40) Same stage show as previous week at the Flatbush.
6Dec40, Brooklyn Apollo, Brooklyn, NY. Midnight benefit show sponsored by the New York Amsterdam News. (St. Clair Bourne, "Brooklyn Benefit Show Draws Packed House, Top Notch Performers Appear," New York Amsterdam News, 14Dec40, p10)
12Dec40, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY. Concert as part of the universitys concert and lecture series. (Colgate Maroon, 13Dec40, p1)
13Dec to 19Dec40, Apollo Theatre, New York. With Cowan and Cowan, and Jerry Taps, dancers. (ad, New York Amsterdam News, 14Dec40, p21) 13Dec New York Amsterdam News benefit show along with Dinah Shore, Glenn Miller, Tony Pastor, Erskine Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others. ("Ladies and Gents, Our Midnight Show Was Tops," New York Amsterdam News, 21Dec40, p1)
20Dec to 22Dec40, State Theatre, Hartford, CT. Stage show with the Peters Sisters and Bill Bailey. ("Duke Ellington Exponent of Jazz State Headliner," Hartford Courant, 21Dec40, p12)
24Dec40, Savoy Ballroom, New York. "A record night with more than four thousand jitterbugs passing in and out during the affair which lasted until six in the morning. Others sharing musical honors with Duke were Ella Fitzgerald and Erskine Hawkins." (Isadora Smith, "Xmas Eve and Nite Jumped in Harlem, Pittsburgh Courier, 4Jan41, p21)
28Dec40, Victor recording session, Chicago. 1:30 to 5:15 p.m.
28Dec40, Savoy Ballroom, Chicago. Miriam Ali (Miss Bronze America) and Joe Louis presented Ellington with a trophy for winning the Chicago Defenders Number 1 band contest. (David W. Kellum, "Crowd Cheers as Ellington Gets Trophy," Chicago Defender, 4Jan41, p1)
30Dec40, Liberty Hall, El Paso, TX. As part of the annual Sun Carnival (with parade and Sun Bowl football game), Duke Ellington and His Orchestra played for Coronation Ball at 10:00 p.m. A local broadcast was carried over KROD at 11:00 p.m. (radio listing, El Paso Herald Post, 30Dec40, p8)
In the following chapter, the band continued their trip west, opening a six-week engagement at the Casa Mañana in Los Angeles on 3Jan41 with new music.
Compilation © 2004 Kenneth R. Steiner. All rights reserved.
Please feel free to contact me. DEMS will be happy to give you my email address.