DUKE ELLINGTON MUSIC SOCIETY
05/3 December 2005 - March 2006
Our 27th Year of Publication.
FOUNDER: BENNY AASLAND
HONORARY MEMBER: FATHER JOHN GARCIA GENSEL
EDITOR: SJEF HOEFSMIT
ASSISTED BY: ROGER BOYES
Voort 18b, 2328 Meerle, Belgium
Telephone: +32 3 315 75 83
- ADDITIONS - CORRECTIONS
DETS double CDs
See DEMS 05/2-27 & 28
A couple of things re the Treasury Shows.
1. After the discussions concerning the unfortunate sound quality of
Vol 10, you expressed your reluctance to publish criticism of that
volume. I don't think reluctance is necessary I think you do
both the reader, and the record company, a favor by publicizing the
flaw. In my case although I am tolerant of scratches, surface noise
and other background disturbances, I found the pumping sound that
others referred to as almost unlistenable for me. I made a note that
this would be my last volume (since rescinded as I now have Volume 11
on order). My point is that from the record company's point of view,
one bad experience can risk several future sales.
2. I haven't received Volume 11 yet, but I notice that it contains
more of the October 7, 1945 broadcasts from the New Zanzibar. That
would mean that portions of October 7 broadcasts are spread over four
volumes (nos. 2, 7, 11, and I think I saw that Emancipation
Celebration and Let the Zoomers Drool from volume 5 have
been assigned to this date as well).
3. Dick Zander's notes to Volume 5 refer to an outstanding solo by
Oscar Pettiford on Emancipation Celebration, and Volume 2
lists Sid Catlett on drums for this date, but neither are listed for
this date in the other volumes. Has this all been resolved?
4. Incidentally, since you inevitably pick up corrections in the
notes to the various volumes, why don't the authors just send you a
draft before they are published?
4. To start with the last point: that would be a good idea.
1. I did indeed express my reluctance, but I also published all the
remarks that were sent in, like yours this time. I have explained why
I am reluctant to criticise the producers of this series. I think
they deserve first of all praise for re-releasing the whole set of
Treasury broadcasts. I hope that when we will have again another more
sophisticated medium for listening to music after the 78 rpms, the
LPs and the CDs, there will be again a group of courageous people who
will make this series available to the Ellington community of that
next generation. It takes some guts to bring out the whole set after
the series had been released on LPs in the 1980s. Many potential
customers for the CDs already have the LPs in their collections,
bought by themselves or acquired from the collections of deceased
collectors. I think that those who can afford to should buy these CDs
to support the undertaking even if they have the LPs. By the way. I
am listening to Volume 12 just now. It sounds great!
2. The 7oct45 broadcast Magic Carpet # 131 was only on two sets.
Volume 2 and Volume 11. On Volume 5 was the 18Sep45 broadcast One
Night Stand #800, which was processed on 18Nov45 and can be found in
all discographies under that (later) date. See DEMS 02/1-19/2 and
02/2-6/2. (In DEMS 02/1-19/2 there was an error. The title of the
article refers to Vol. 2 and this should be corrected to Vol. 5.
Peter MacHare has corrected the web-edition of DEMS 02/1 but readers
should correct the paper edition too as was asked on page 28 of the
paper edition of 02/2.)
On Volume 7 was the 11oct45 broadcast together with the 7oct45
broadcast One Night Stand #764, which was processed on 24oct45 and
has been documented in all discographies on that (later) date. See
DEMS 02/2-6/2 and 03/2-23/1.
Emancipation Celebration and Let the Zoomers Drool were
recorded (according to Jerry Valburn in DEMS 02/1-19/2 and 02/1-26)
on 7oct45 and belong to the ONS broadcast # 764. Actually both
selections belong also to the ONS broadcast # 800 as was remarked by
Hans-Joachim Schmidt in DEMS 02/3-18/4. The question remains when
they were recorded, with ONS # 764 on 7oct45 or with ONS # 800 on
18Sep45. I prefer to accept the old dates in the discographies for
documenting and finding back these recordings. That means that I list
ONS # 764 including Emancipation Celebration and Let the
Zoomers Drool on 24oct45 and ONS # 800 without Emancipation
Celebration and Let the Zoomers Drool on 18Nov45.
3. Dick Zander has Emancipation Celebration apparently on
18Nov45. That would mean that Oscar Pettiford was on bass. I believe
however that Junior Raglin was on bass, and that is one more reason
for rejecting the date of 18Nov45 for this selection.
On the actual recordings of 7oct45, released on DETS Vol 2 and Vol
11, Sonny Greer and not Sid Catlett is on drums. There has been some
discussion about Sid Catlett's stay in the band, which was published
in earlier DEMS Bulletins. I think this is a good time to publish
these articles again. So here they are.
This appeared in DEMS 99/3-19/3:
"Big" Sid Catlett on DETS # 26
Last week I received Eddie Lamberts book. It is everything
I expected and more. It is well bound and beautifully set out. The
book has the delightful capacity to get you to listen again to those
records, which have been sitting on the shelf for some time past. I
was listening to the DETS series when his book arrived, and sure
enough, I found an item, which may need some clarification.
On pages 124, 125 and 128 Eddie discusses the fact that "Big" Sidney
Catlett appears in place of Sonny Greer on DETS # 26, recorded
13oct45. However, it is to be noted that Timner 4th
edition on page 82 and page 575 says that Greer was back in the
orchestra by that date and Catlett was out.
Stratemann on page 264 agrees with Timner that Catlett had left on
October 10th. So does Nielsen (page 60).
Yet when I listen to the LP, I am inclined to agree with Eddie that
there is a difference in the drumming from preceding DETS LPs on
which Greer is definitely present also that, from my knowledge of
Catletts big band drumming with Benny Goodman for example, it
does indeed sound like "Big Sid".
I have not been able to find any discussion about this matter.
You are right. Thank you so very much for this correction to the
existing discographies. I even doubt if the New DESOR has found this
error in the earlier edition.
I have compared 6 selections from DETS # 26 with recordings made
between 9Jun45 and 22Sep45 on which it is certain that the drummer
was Sonny Greer. There is no doubt. These are two distinctly
different drummers. I am not an expert on Sid Catlett, but I am
convinced that Sonny Greer was not the drummer on 13oct45.
I have also checked my poor quality recordings of 10 and 11oct45. I
have the strong impression that in these broadcasts too I hear Sid
Catlett on drums. The old Desor also identifies Sid as the drummer on
the broadcast of 10oct45.
Surprisingly the New DESOR has only the 8oct session with Sid
Catlett, but no longer the 10oct session. The 13oct session is still
with Greer. The 11oct session was not mentioned in the old Desor as
it was not yet discovered. In the New DESOR it too has Greer on
And in DEMS 99/4-14/1 appeared:
See DEMS 99/3-19/3.
Because we had no room for it in 99/3 we now print Loren
Schoenbergs message of 18Jan99 to the Duke-lym group. It
confirms the "discovery" by Bill Morton. Loren refers to DETS # 26
and the broadcast of 13oct45.
Do not forget the marvellous broadcast from late 45 (I am not home
and cannot find the date) which features an hour of Catlett with the
band, playing Sonny's drumset. It was issued as one volume of Jerry
Valburn's set years ago. There is a great Between the Devil and
the Deep Blue Sea with Catlett and Rex Stewart, and to hear
Catlett playing all those incredible arrangements is a revelation
it also reinforces Greer's primacy as the ultimate Ellington
drummer, because so much of that music was conceived for his "pongs"
as Duke put it.
In DEMS 2000/1-12/4 appeared:
"Big" Sid Catlett in October 1945
See DEMS 99/3-19/3.
You are possibly right about Sid Catlett being in the band on 10, 11
and 13oct45, but we are not absolutely sure.
Giovanni Volonté and Luciano Massagli
This ends my answers to Don Francis' questions in 05/3-22.
Paris, 1Mar63, Kenny Clarke or Peter Giger
We are conducting our annual jazz workshop in Darmstadt at the
moment, and one of this year's teachers is drummer / percussionist
Peter Giger from Switzerland. He just visited the Institut and we
talked a lot about different things, his stints with the Tremble Kids
band, his Frankfurt time with Albert Mangelsdorff (who died earlier
this week and whose funeral we will attend next Monday) and other
Looking through the archive, Peter asked me whether we had an
Ellington discography. He asked to have a look at the Ellington date
with Alice Babs from 1Mar63. He told me that Kenny Clarke was named
as drummer for that session, but in reality Kenny never played that
gig but Peter Giger did. 28Feb63: Christian Garros, 1Mar63: Peter
Giger for some of the tracks, Garros for some of the others.
Giger at that time played with Claude Bolling's band, and Claude
provided Duke with some of the musicians on that date.
Perhaps one should at least put a question mark next to that session
and Clarke's involvement with it.
Peter Giger was born 12Apr39, Zürich/Switzerland. He started his
career in the traditional band Tremble Kids (1958). In 1960 he moved
to Paris where he mostly worked with Claude Bolling, also recording
with Duke Ellington and Alice Babs (I made that note in my entry for
New Grove, but did not realize the discrepancies with the
discographies). In 1969 he returned to Switzerland to participate in
the band Four for Jazz. Giger was founding member of the Swiss Jazz
School in Bern (1969). In 1972 he moved to Frankfurt, working with
Albert Mangelsdorff as well as with his own percussion ensemble
Family of Percussion (since 1977). With the latter he toured the
world, at the same time realizing projects with musicians such as
Wolfgang Dauner, Michal Urbaniak, Sam Rivers, Max Roach and
Peter is a very good drummer who is at home in a variety of styles.
Our students are learning a lot from him during this week, and he is
full of stories from his various experiences.
On Wednesday 6Jul05, during the first day of the four day IAJRC
Convention in Copenhagen, Bjarne Busk made a presentation about Duke
Ellington's Stockpile, which was quite similar to his presentation
about the same subject at the Ellington Conference in Stockholm on
13May04. After Bjarne's presentation Ted O'Reilly mentioned that an
error was made with the titling of the selections on the Laserlight
CD 15782, containing four numbers of the 22Jun72 Toronto session for
which Ron Collier had provided arrangements and originals. As Ron
told us in his presentation on 22Jun96 in Toronto at the Ellington
Conference, the selection titled Vancouver Lights was actually
his composition Relaxin'. Vancouver Lights was not
released. (It appeared on the DEMS Cassette CA-22 at the end of 1997.
See also DEMS Bulletin 96/1-4) Ted O'Reilly also mentioned that
Mercer did not play. He had no chops that day. The trumpet player
Arnie Chycoski was brought in by Ron Collier. Arnie played in most of
the selections. There were only two trombones but there were six
reeds in that session.
I contacted Ted O'Reilly and asked him for more specific information.
I remember the session very well. Mercer was playing, but had no
chops that day, and after one or two takes, asked Ron Collier to get
another player. Collier called Arnie Chycoski, a great British
Columbia-born trumpeter, long a Toronto fixture (lead trumpet with
Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass) to come in. I don't remember what
was recorded with whom, but I know there were two Collier
compositions and I'm pretty sure Arnie is on both of them, at
I recall also that at the end of the session Mercer called Arnie
over, and tried to lay a couple of hundred dollars on him, and Arnie
was aghast, saying it was his privilege to do a session with Duke,
and wouldn't take the money... Ron Collier has died, but Arnold
Chycoski is still with us, living in BC again, and I could get
contact information for him if you wish.
I think that Tyree Glenn is the trombonist who wasn't there, and
Norris Turney played those trombone parts on tenor sax. Someone
who may have better evidence of the session is Bill Smith,
photographer and co-editor with John Norris of CODA magazine at the
time. Now, I recall that Ellington saw Bill's camera, and said
something like "Sorry, no photographs Duke doesn't feel pretty
today...". Bill said "of course", but may very well have taken shots
of the orchestra.
I hope this helps for certain, Arnie was on the
session, and Turney played trombone parts.
Thank you for looking into this...it may be 'small potatoes' in the
whole scheme of things, but I believe we should try to get it right.
I think Arnie's proud that he was able to record with Duke.
In a later message, Ted supplied me with more information. He gave
specifics about Ron Collier and I think Ron should be included in the
list of musicians in The New DESOR even though he did not play his
instrument on any of the Ellington recording sessions. However, he
conducted the orchestra in which Duke played the piano when the
recordings were made for the album "North of the Border" on 24Jul67
in Toronto. The following details were provided by Ted O'Reilly:
"Just for background Collier, Ron (Ronald
William). Composer, arranger, conductor, trombonist, teacher, born
Coleman, near Lethbridge, Alberta, 3 Jul 1930, died Toronto 22 Oct
2003." (See also DEMS Bulletin 03/3-3, which gives the date as
Ted continued: "I have just been on the phone with John Norris
(founder/editor/publisher of CODA for years I'm sure you know
him) and he, too remembers Arnie Chycoski coming in to replace
"By the way, in "Ellingtonia" 4th edition, WE Timner
incorrectly has "FSt" as being on the 22Jun72 session. "FSt"
means Freddie Stone (not Frank, as Timner has it). Freddie
(born Toronto 9Sep35, died Toronto 10Dec86) was the son of Archie
Stone, who was the leader of the house band at the Casino, a Toronto
location where the Ellington band used to play. Clark Terry remembers
giving young Freddie some lessons backstage at the Casino. Actual
Ellington band membership for Stone was for several months in 1970.
Duke wrote Aristocracy a la Jean Lafitte in the New Orleans
Suite for Fred. He appeared in the band and as soloist on the July 24
& 25, 1967 Toronto recordings with Duke and the Ron Collier
"I am pretty sure that Harold Ashby was featured [on 22Jun72] on a
version of Chinoiserie, and that may be the 'unidentified
track' referred to by WE Timner in "Ellingtonia". But then
again, he makes no reference at all to a second Collier original, and
I remember quite specifically them doing two of Ron's originals at
I asked Ted why they needed a replacement for Mercer. They had Cootie
Williams, John Coles and Money Johnson available.
Ted replied: "The arrangement was written for 4 trumpets, and Mercer
did not play once Arnie got there."
I asked for specifics for including Arnie Chycoski in the Musicians
chapter of the New DESOR.
"Arnie Chycoski is still with us, living in British Columbia again. I
called Arnie, and he remembers the session very well. He was born in
New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada on 7May36."
Since I had found a reference to an "Original, featuring Tyree Glenn"
in the listing that accompanied the Mercer donation to the Danish
Radio, I asked again for confirmation of Tyree Glenn's absence. It
should be noted however that this "Original" has not been found in
any of the tapes. Ted replied: "John Norris agrees with me that Glenn
was not there: 'I knew Tyree, and don't remember him at that
session'. Timner doesn't have him there either, but does have him on
the band the next night, when they did a concert at O'Keefe Centre,
Apparently Timner took the personnel listing in the liner-notes of
Laserlight 15782 for granted and consequently also left Paul
Gonsalves out of the 22Jun72 session.
After I mentioned the date of 23oct03 at being the date of Ron
Collier's death, according to the November Newsletter of the Toronto
Chapter of the Duke Ellington Society, Ted did send me a great number
of web-site addresses, all confirming the date of 22oct03 being the
correct one. He also added the message that Ron Collier was enrolled
in the Order of Canada as an officer. We proudly quote the following
(Ron was a paying DEMS member!):
"Ron Collier, O.C. Toronto, Ont. Officer of the
Order of Canada.
In the recording studio, on stage or in the classroom, Ron Collier
has consistently striven for excellence and inspired others to do the
same. A trombonist, composer and arranger, in the 1950s he helped to
introduce to Canada the third-stream movement, successfully
overlapping styles to create a fusion of classical music with
improvisational jazz. A founder of the Music Program at Humber
College, where he shared his gift for composition and orchestration
with students, he also led several stage bands to victory at national
A perspicacious reader of Coda magazine has written to suggest
that the actor identified as "Victor Grassman," who recited Hamlet's
soliloquy ("Essere non essere...") while Ellington played arpeggios
in his dressing room in Munich in 1966, is probably Vittorio Gassman
(1922-2000), the celebrated Italian actor who, among many other
accomplishments, produced and starred in the first Italian
performance of Hamlet in 1952. I bet he is right. What do you
This reader is right. It was Vittorio Gassman who recited Hamlet's
Monologue while Duke played Such Sweet Thunder on the piano.
This happened on 30Jan66 in the daytime on the empty stage of the
Theatro Lirico in Milano in the presence of a group of young fans,
guided by Vittorio Gassman. It was telecast by the RAI and the
programme went as follows:
Intro with Duke playing in the background Such Sweet Thunder
(just described) as background for Hamlet's Monologue (this was on
DEMS Azure cassette CA-6)
Interview with Ella Fitzgerald
Ella doing: I'm Just a Lucky So and So.
12Apr34 Tizol or Nanton?
On this date, Timner and Eddie Lambert have Juan Tizol missing from
the trombones. New DESOR has Tizol present and Joe Nanton missing. In
your corrections to the personnel on the CD Hep1069 (Ivie - 1) in
DEMS 00/4 p20, you agree with New DESOR and have Nanton missing. Has
this been cleared up since? (I apologize if I've overlooked a
No. I have made my comment in Bulletin 98/3 on page 6 of my comments
on Timner. I based my comment on the findings of the New DESOR. On
the recording report only two trombones are mentioned, but without
their names. One of them must have been Lawrence Brown (he can be
heard in several of the recordings). Luciano and Giovanni have
listened to the recordings and decided that Juan Tizol was present
and Joe Nanton was not. I think we should make up our minds after
having listened to the recordings. I have not found any other
evidence for either choice. Maybe the publication of your question
and my answer in this Bulletin will initiate some reactions from the
There was recently some discussion on the Duke-LYM list about Herb's
original name. The latest message (28Sep05) was by Ben Pubols who
quoted the oral history, conducted by Patricia Willard in Sep89. The
conclusion was that Herb's original name was Umberto Allesandro
His name and date of birth have been discussed several times in DEMS
Bulletin: 00/1-11/3; 00/2-19p1472 (quote from same oral history);
00/3-6/2 (showing Herb's own hand-written signature: Umberto
Alexandro Balentino); 03/2-29p1472; 03/3-20 (testimony by Steven
Lasker who asked Herb: Balentino!).
I believe that Herb, who also gave several different dates for his
birth (24Sep11; Nov11; 24Sep13; 24Sep16) couldn't resist giving us
different names as well. The most important thing however is that we
know who we are talking about and I quote one of his daughters who
wrote to DEMS (00/1-11/3):
"Throughout his long and illustrious career, my Dad has had a few
acceptable variations to his name, most especially in his earlier
years. However, as long as I've known him
.. and that would be
.. "Herb Jeffries" has been his name.
# 1 Daughter, Ferne"
See DEMS 05/2-2
To the question about Jimmy Woode's date of birth the family suggests
23Sep27. Or you can mention the Swedish tax department date from
1926. That is official anyway.
See DEMS 05/2-24
You mentioned in this article "Interviewed by Roger Ringo
(Storyville 46, Apr-May37, pages 124-33), Jenkins explained
why he left Ellington:". This should read of course: Storyville
46, Apr-May73, pages 124-33). The article is titled "Reminiscing
in tempo with Freddie Jenkins", and no writer is credited. Editor
Laurie Wright writes in his editorial: "We still do not know who
submitted it or how it even got to be here...". The writer's name
might have been revealed in a later issue of Storyville.
John or Johnny
Today I bought some autographs from 1939 in Stockholm from a friend.
One was by Duke, one by Lawrence Brown, one by Harry Carney, the next
one by Sonny Greer and at last one was by Johnny Hodges.
The reason for this mail is that Johnny Hodges wrote "John Hodges".
I remember that band-members using different spellings for their
names has been a topic some time ago. Why did he write "John" and not
"Johnny"? Any idea?
According to a signed photograph in the possession of Harry Owen,
Johnny signed his name in Liverpool (26Jun-1Jul33) as "Johnny".
See "A Cotton Club Miscellany," pages 21-22, also DEMS 02/2 p5 &
04/2-55 paragraph four.
From the 1933 Duke Ellington press book produced by Mills Artists:
"Arthur Whetsel, trumpet. Punta Gorda, Florida. Educated at public
schools in California and Washington, D.C., and Howard University,
Washington D.C. Studied music under his father and under Max
Schosberg. One of Duke Ellington's original band, and formerly with
Elmer Snowden, Claude Hopkins, the Al Jolson group in 'Big Boy,' the
New York Clef Club and Bobby Lee."
Three items are provided by Lawrence Gushee, whose 2005 book
"Pioneers of Jazz: The Story of the Creole Band" (which in 1914-18
introduced New Orleans jazz to much of America) sets a new standard
of excellence in jazz scholarship and is a great read besides (highly
The Pullman Porter's Review (vol. 3, no. 5), Oct15p43,
contains an account datelined Los Angeles, Aug 29 1915, of a party
given by Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Landry for the 18th birthday of their
sister, Miss Alferetta De-Roussell. The orchestra is listed as
comprising Alla M. Lawrence, Amanda Burton, Arthur P. Whetsel,
Prospare [sic] W. Landry. In the guest list is an M.
According to the California Eagle (24Jun16, p1): "L.G.
Eggleston and his Juvenile Orchestra Demonstrate Preparedness[.] Last
Tuesday Mr. Eggleston, director of the Juvenile orchestra and a
company of young boys, who have been under his training for the past
few months, appeared at Washington and Central hall in their initial
concert and highly pleased a large and attentive audience. Those who
compose the company and are so fortunate as to have the excellent
training that Mr. Egglleston is capable of giving" include "A.
Whetsel" and 17 others who are named in the article. "Since this was
the initial concert even greater results may be expected."
Gushee also reports that the 1920 census lists Whetsel as a 15
year-old mulatto, born in Florida of a Maryland-born father and a
Florida-born mother. No occupation is listed. (Whetsel was enumerated
as one of three boarders living with the Boyd Family in a house on U
Street. Carroll Boyd, the son, is mentioned on page 69 of Tucker's
"Duke Ellington: The Early Years"; in 1926, Boyd played piano behind
Alberta Jones on a Gennett record date.)
According to violinist Ellsworth Reynolds (Jazz Monthly,
Feb67p6)."We were able to open at the Cotton Club on December 7th
[recte 4Dec27] but two months later, feeling the need of another
trumpeter and not being able to enlarge the payroll, Duke replaced me
with his original 1st solo trumpeter Arthur Sheef Whetsol
[sic]." In an unpublished letter to Frank Driggs [n.d.],
Reynolds wrote: "After two months [at the Cotton Club], Arthur
'Sheef' Wetsel [sic]--Duke's original 1st sol [sic]
trumpet of the (6 Washingtonians)--replaced me + Duke decided to
conduct." To Peter Carr, Reynolds wrote: "In early Jan '28 I left the
band and before I left Barney Bigard tenor entered. I think he took
Rudy Jackson's place. Rudy was my roommate while travelling." In a
taped interview with Carter Harman (n.d.), Ellington recalled: "When
I cut out the fiddle, that's when I got the other trumpet." According
to a profile of Whetsel by Chester Nerges (1Aug31 Chicago
Defender city edition; reprinted in "A Cotton Club Miscellany"),
Whetsel rejoined in January 1928. (A probably unanswerable question
occurs: If Whetsel was a regular member of the band from January or
February 1928, why then is he absent from the ca. 8Mar28
Pathé/Cameo session? Apart from the rejected Victor trial date
of 26Jul23 by "Snowden's Nov. Orch.," Whetsel's first record date
with the band was held for Brunswick on 21Mar28. Reynolds never
recorded with the band.)
Writing in the Melody Maker (12Aug33p11), Dick De Pauw noted:
"Artie Whetsel, who has so often charmed our ears by his solo in
Mood Indigo, is a keen amateur yachtsman. He is a very
level-headed person, who takes his job very seriously. His delightful
personality has made him a host of friends wherever he visits. He
started to learn trumpet in the old-fashioned way, and it was later
in life that he took up the non-pressure method of blowing.
Consequently, he explained, with a twinkle of a smile, 'I sometimes
get guessing how to hit a top note.' But all those who have heard him
strike his first note in Black and Tan Fantasy will agree with
me that he hides his guesswork very well."
I had hoped to contact "Babe," to whom Whetsel was briefly married in
the 1920s, but her condition, according to Ray Butler, suffered a
decline in 2002 to the point where he didn't think an interview was
Per the Pittsburgh Courier, 11May40p21: ARTHUR WHETSOL
NEW YORK, May 9--Arthur Whetsol [sic], former Duke Ellington
trumpet player, was buried here Saturday at Woodlawn Cemetary. He was
ill for more than two years, which caused his retirement from the
profession he loved. Whetsol [sic] died Wednesday, May 1st,
the victim of a brain tumor.
Starting his musical career at an early age in Los Angeles,
Calif., he mastered the cornet while but eight years old. In the
young man stage, he played a prominent part in Al Jolson's "Big Boy"
show, later going to Europe with the Clef Club, after which he played
with Miller's combination band in Washington. He was a member of the
Hardy Brothers aggregation from which he dropped to go with Duke
Ellington, who was also a part of that outfit, upon the formation of
his own band in 1924. Remaining with the great Duke Ellington from
then on, Whetsol [sic] became quite an instrumentalist poser
in the world of jazz. [SL: This last paragraph contains some obvious
The 38-year old musician is mourned by his mother, two sisters, a
host of in-laws and friends. His wife, the former Margaret Howard,
whom he married in 1932, present in the observation ward at Medical
Center, has not been informed of his death at the time of the
funeral. Currently touring the coast, Ellington and his band sent
their condolences and a blanket of roses, and like the entire
profession, bowed their heads at the passing of another son of the
world of incandescent glare.
On 26oct05, I telephoned Woodlawn Cemetary in the Bronx and spoke to
Susan Olson of their staff who related the following details: His
headstone is marked "ARTHUR
WHETSEL HUSBAND 1905-1940." W.C.
Handy and King Oliver are buried nearby. Elsewhere in the cemetary
are Duke Ellington (also J.E., Daisy and Ruth), Sonny Greer, Cootie
Williams, Miles Davis and many other jazz greats. Records in the
cemetary's archive, which include the internment order for Whetsel
but not his death certificate, indicate that he died of encephalitis
on 1May40 in Central Islip (Long Island). While Whetsel's date of
birth doesn't appear anywhere in their records, he was reported to
have died at the age of 35 years, 1 month and 14 days, which means he
was born on or about 18Mar05.
Steven Lasker, 26oct05
Wilbur Sweatman's Gennett Record of
see DEMS 04/3-21, 05/1-25 and 05/2-22
Excerpts "From Len Kunstadt.. Record Research Supplement No. 29.. for
the exclusive membership of the RR Associates meeting of June 7, 1986
(Saturday) at the YMCA-Sloan House on West 34th Street in
NYC....Pioneering record research done on Wilbur Sweatman by Bob
Colton and yours truly with the explicit help of WILBUR SWEATMAN who
patiently auditioned and provided information about his recordings..
which was printed in the Discophile publication issues no 40, 42
(1955) and 52 (1957). [...] We note that [Brian] Rust [in his "Jazz
Records, 1897-1942, Fourth Edition, 1978] has [...] taken some
liberties as far as personnel indentification is concerned. [... As]
for the Gennett Battleship Kate session! Rust lists DUKE
ELLINGTON as piano with MIKE DANZI, banjo. Apparently this data comes
from Mike Danzi. In our notes given to us by Wilbur (which was way
before this Duke-Danzi identification) [Sweatman] vividly remarked
that Duke never recorded with him. He did recall however that a young
white kid came in for a session as a replacement on some recording
for some company--but he could not find or recall his name or
Duke Ellington Enigma Solved
This discussion started when I offered to make audio copies for
Maurice Peress of recordings he was looking for. He answered: what I
need are recordings of Non-Violent Integration.
I answered: I have only one single recording of Non-Violent
Integration. That's the one released on Reprise and recorded on
14Feb63. This composition was first performed as Grand Slam
Jam. This alternate title has been discussed on the Duke-LYM
list. I give you the relevant messages:
The score for Grand Slam Jam (copyright 1975, Schirmer)
indicates that Duke performed it with Shorty Baker, Tyree Glenn (on
vibes), and Jimmy Hamilton, all with jazz rhythm section (doesn't
mention the name of the bassist and drummer) and symphony orchestra.
It doesn't say whether the Duke Ellington Orchestra was involved,
although the score indicates the inclusion of a "dance band" with
Duke's standard late '50's instrumentation. Is this recorded?
Chuck Dotas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Non-Violent Integration was first titled Grand Slam
Jam. Non-Violent Integration has been recorded only once
on 14Feb63 by the Duke Ellington and Hamburg Symphony Orchestras, and
released on the album "The Symphonic Ellington." In this Shorty Baker
and Tyree Glenn did not participate in this session. The copyright
date for Non-Violent Integration is 1964 (Music Is My Mistress
page 516). Non-Violent Integration was written for the band
and the Philadelphia Orchestra as far back as 1949. (See Eddie
Lambert page 246). Shorty Baker and Tyree Glenn were in the band
together from 9Jul46 untilMar50.
I heard Grand Slam Jam a couple of weeks ago at the Ottawa
Jazz Festival. The piece was orchestrated by Maurice Peress and David
Amram conducted a symphony orchestra with a jazz quintet. They were
on the same stage but light years apart. Maybe it's better than it
sounds, but it seemed to be all technique without musicality
(reminded me of that expression "aircraft carrier swing"). Oscar
Peterson has written better stuff in his off days (-:
I had previously looked at the Symphonic Ellington LP for Grand
Slam Jam and couldn't find it; now it makes sense. Or does it? If
it was written as Grand Slam Jam in 1949 and recorded in 1963
as Non-Violent Integration why is the score copyrighted as
Grand Slam Jam in 1973? Surely the score would be based on the
1963 recording and hence logically be titled Non-Violent
Integration? The performance I heard recently was titled Grand
Slam Jam. If it is the same piece why hasn't the title
Non-Violent Integration stuck? Was Grand Slam Jam ever
I just listened to Non-Violent Integration and to my
non-musician ears it sounds like an entirely different piece to the
performance of Grand Slam Jam I heard. Some of the
musicologists on the list should have access to Maurice Peress' score
for Grand Slam Jam and can express a better opinion whether it
is indeed Non-Violent Integration.
Message 10Mar2000: We performed Grand Slam Jam last fall here
at James Madison University. It's not a substantial piece by any
means (at the request of the orchestra director, I scored two other
pieces, Come Sunday and Caravan, that segued out of
Grand Slam Jam in order to make this feel like the centrepiece
of the concert). It could be programmed as a stand-alone piece if the
open solo section is extended substantially (the program notes
included with the score indicate precisely what Ellington did on the
premiere to open up this section); the written orchestra/big band
parts are really just two choruses of the 32 bar head and a very
short coda (4 bars) to the requisite big last chord. One run-through
would be plenty for a group the calibre of the Minnesota Orchestra.
Grand Slam Jam is definitely pops-concert fare; personally I
found it much less interesting than other available Ellington pieces
for orchestra like "3 Black Kings" or "Night Creature". Feel free to
contact me off-list if you'd like further info.
Chuck Dotas, Director, James Madison University Jazz Ensemble
Grand Slam Jam is another title for Non-Violent
Integration. From the liner notes by Stanley Dance to the Reprise
LP "The Symphonic Ellington" I quote: "In 1949, thrilled at the
prospect of performing with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Robin Hood
Dell, Duke Ellington wrote what he called a 'little thing,' which he
hoped might interest the great musicians of that magnificent
orchestra. They obviously found it interesting, because they played
it with a warm enthusiasm which delighted him. His first experience
with that particular type of 'tonal hybrid,' gave inspiration for the
present-day title: Non Violent Integration."
I posted this earlier but it didn't get through. It might interest
some. Jim received it though and replied that G. Schirmer had no
documentation on this title or the arrangement. Jim, could you mail
or fax to me a few pages of the conductor score? Maybe I could
provide a bit more info to Schirmer. Thanks Sjef for getting us on
the right track.
Hi Sjef & Jim,
While not personally familiar with a recording of Grand Slam
Jam, I am familiar with the original manuscripts. Did you
purchase this score from Schirmer, Jim? Or have other list members?
The reason I ask is that Grand Slam Jam and Non-Violent
Integration are very different pieces on paper although they are
both orchestrated for a symphony orchestra with jazz band. Briefly
and amateurishly stated, Non-Violent Integration is notier and
flowing while Grand Slam Jam is to be played at a medium fast
tempo and is more punctuated and staccato. Luther Henderson
orchestrated Grand Slam Jam; copyist Joe Benjamin's stamp
dates this at 1949. Calvin Jackson orchestrated Non-Violent
Integration on an undetermined date. I'm guessing Schirmer is
selling Henderson's orchestration. Henderson orchestrated many
Ellington comps from this time period including Harlem and
New World a-Comin'. Henderson also contributed a few titles
some uncredited to the band book. For those who don't
know, Henderson also collaborated with Billy Strayhorn on
"Rose-Colored Glasses" and frequently worked with Mercer. (They grew
up in the same neighborhood.) Simply put, he was an integral part of
the Ellington Organization for many years. I place Jackson's
involvement with the Ellington Orchestra later in the 1960s.
Jackson wrote up the copyright sheet for Non-Violent
Integration which was not copyrighted until 1964. He contributed
many arrangements to the Orchestra at that time and his comps were
published by Tempo Music.
Thank you for your information about Grand Slam Jam being
different from Non-Violent Integration. I do not have a
recording of Grand Slam Jam (it seems that none exists) and so
couldn't compare them. Now I have read again Stanley Dance's liner
notes, I must admit that he didn't say in so many words that both
compositions were the same.
Our orchestra director at James Madison University rented the score
and parts to Grand Slam Jam from Schirmer last September, and
I conducted it. There was no mention of Non-Violent
Integration anywhere in the program notes; I seem to remember
that this was credited to Luther Henderson (Calvin Jackson's name
definitely did not appear on the score or in the notes). It is very
accurate to describe the parts for Grand Slam Jam as
punctuated and staccato rather than flowing or notey.
Chuck Dotas, Director, James Madison University Jazz Ensemble
Looking for something else in Stuart Nicholson's book "A Portrait of Duke
Ellington - Reminiscing In Tempo" I found on page 277 a highly
interesting statement: Duke mentions the Robin Hood Dell concert when
he did Non Violent Integration. If this is the concert of
25Jul49, which is suggested by the note by Stuart on the next page,
this could be a confirmation that Grand Slam Jam is indeed the
same as Non-Violent Integration. We have to keep in mind that
even Duke was wrong occasionally. His statement dates from Feb67. The
concert was mentioned in Down Beat of 29Jul49 (see Klaus Stratemann,
"Duke Ellington Day by Day and Film by Film", page 304). Is it
possible to check that review and see if anything about Grand Slam
Jam was mentioned?
Thanks for the additional info Sjef. I could ask a friend of mine at
the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University to check that
review for me. When I get back to work tomorrow, I'll check our
newspaper clippings also. Plus I need to compare the scores closely.
I only had time to glance at it before; they could share a melody but
be orchestrated in such different ways that the similarities don't
jump out at me.
What an interesting chase this has been. Thanks to those members who
provided information to set me off in the right direction. On the
manuscripts, I can now see the connection between Grand Slam
Jam and Non-Violent Integration. At the least they share
the repeating riff notated on the copyright sheet as D# (1/4 note),
EGA (triplet), B flat, G and played in various permutations. But the
opening melody line which Ellington states on piano in Non-Violent
Integration is not apparent in Grand Slam Jam. Before
Grand Slam Jam was performed at Robin Hood Dell, it was known
as Boogie Bop Blue aka Basso Mo Thundo. I have a
recording of this from 1947 with just the band and like Grand Slam
Jam it shares the same riff. However, the original Ellington
score of Boogie Bop Blue was composed as an orchestral piece
with woodwinds, strings, &c. and, in fact, was also orchestrated
for symphony by him an uncommon occurrence. In the original
Boogie Bop Blue manuscripts, the melody line prominent in
Non-Violent Integration is written for the woodwinds. The
parts were extracted on National Broadcasting Corporation paper. A
trombone part for Francis Williams narrows the date of the original
comp. I don't know how to make the explanation any clearer in text.
[As far as we know, Francis Williams played the trumpet].
Two other titbits from offline. Calvin Jackson was involved with
Ellington in the late 1940s and claimed to have worked on an
orchestration for Boogie Bop Blue to be performed at Robin
Hood Dell. Could be, his score doesn't have instrumentalists' names
noted so I can't date it. And the original title Boogie Bop
Blue was cut out and Non-Violent Integration taped over
it. Without a recording, we will most likely never know whether
Luther Henderson's or Jackson's orchestration was used in Philly. I
spoke to Luther and he remembers Grand Slam Jam but not the
title Boogie Bop Blue. He didn't attend the concert and is
going to look over the manuscript for me. I'll let you know if he can
provide additional insight. My interest level is directed at getting
proper documentation to G. Schirmer for future requests. Hopefully,
G. Schirmer or someone will send me a few pages of the score
currently offered as Grand Slam Jam, so I can tell them whose
arrangement they have.
Another interesting note from the program for the July 25, 1949
concert at Robin Hood Dell. The movements for "Symphomaniac" were
titled Part I, Symphonic Or Bust-1925 and Part II, A Sound
Thumping-1949. In my own defence, I consider myself easy-going
but when it comes to identification of manuscripts I tend to be what
some may call "anal-retentive." So Sjef, maybe this posting will also
help you understand that definition. Perhaps, we are the only ones
who give a hoot about nailing this down. But gee it's fun!
Stanley Dance's liner notes for The Symphonic Ellington (Discovery CD
71003) say that "in 1949, thrilled at the prospect of performing with
Philadelphia Orchestra in Robin Hood Dell, Duke Ellington wrote what
he called 'a little thing' which he hoped might interest the great
musicians of that magnificent orchestra". A letter to me from Jo Ann
E. Barry, archivist of Philadephia Orchestra, enclosed with a copy of
the concert program, apparently identifies the original title of that
'little thing' as Grand Slam Jam. Dance calls it Duke's 'first
experience' with the 'tonal hybrid' of symphony and Ellington
orchestras. Grand Slam Jam was performed by the Ellington band
with the Robin Hood Dell Orchestra under Russ Case. Ms Barry
carefully notes that although the Robin Hood Dell Orchestra was made
up principally of Philadelphia Orchestra members, it was not
technically Philadelphia Orchestra and so it would be 'incorrect then
to state that Ellington appeared with Philadelphia Orchestra at the
Dell in 1949'. However, as is well known by classical record
collectors, Philadelphia Orchestra was under contract to Columbia
Masterworks but did make records for RCA Victor. And, for what it's
worth, Russ Case was an RCA Victor recording artist. We often don't
see the historical significance of events until a lot of time passes.
So it was that night in July 1949. Played just ahead of Grand Slam
Jam after intermission was New World a-Comin' with Duke at
the piano with the Robin Hood Dell Orchestra conducted by Case. This
was, as far as 1 have been able to discover, the first performance by
a symphony orchestra of any Ellington extended work; it was
originally written for the band in 1945.
Luther Henderson told me he did the orchestrations for both Grand
Slam Jam and New World a-Comin'. To borrow baseball
language, Henderson Luther, not Ricky hit two home runs
in the same innings in Ellington 'firsts' on the night of 25 July
Back to my [Sjef] message to you [Maurice]:
I can make you a copy of the recording of Boogie Bop Blue as
it was made on 6oct47 for Columbia. Another title for Boogie Bop
Blue is Basso Profundo. It was recorded under that title
at Carnegie Hall on 26 and 27Dec47.
That's all I know about Non-Violent Integration.
Thank you for the Non-Violent Integration/Grand Slam Jam
material. I think I can piece together the sequence of events from
the various reports you provided me.
Duke had a jamming tune in the book, Boogie Bop Blue,
[copyrighted in 1947] really a riff or head followed by as many
choruses played by members of the band as "felt good" for the moment,
what we call "opening up" the arrangement to allow for solos. He gets
an invite to appear at a Robin Hood Dell concert [Jul49], the summer
home of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. So Luther Henderson
prepares a symphonic version of Duke's recent (1943) piano
concerto, New World a-Comin', for the occasion
I never knew when Mercer asked me to transcribe the 1943 Carnegie
Hall original for the Ellington Band and which I later orchestrated
for symphony! [Released on Musical Heritage Society CD #168303 and on
MusicMasters MMD 60176L as "Four Symphonic Works by Duke Ellington"
by the American Composers Orchestra under Maurice Peress, recorded
27Jun88.] But Ellington wanted to do more than a solo turn; he wanted
to "integrate" his band with the symphony orchestra. So he recycles
one of his tunes... a common practice of every great composer since
Bach ... he changes the name of Boogie Bop Blue accordingly,
to Non-Violent Integration (a sly metaphor, the Philadelphia
Symphony Orchestra being entirely white at the time!) and he and
Calvin Jackson scored up the head, the riff, for the woodwinds (and
strings) so that members of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra could
swing along between the solos; meanwhileunderpinned by the Ellington
rhythm section. This, or an equivalent, was recorded by the
Hamburg Symphony Orchestra and the Ellington band on 14Feb63.
At some later date ... possible in 1975 when Mercer "registered" the
copyright ... Luther re-scored (recycled yet again) the work as
Grand Slam Jam with "choruses" for the Symphony Orchestra as well
as the jazz soloists (Note: Joe Benjamin's Union Stamp, like mine,
was dated from when he became an official Union copyist! not when he
did the copying). This last version was what Mercer gave me to bring
to G. Schirmer. I simply edited it to make it useable by any
combination of jazz soloists. Yes Non-Violent Integration
or Grand Slam Jam is a "little thing" but in the hands of
an improvising genius like the Duke, who can dice and chop on the
spot, featuring the symphony winds or brass or what have you in "solo
choruses" one-by-one or together in various combinations, it can be
made into just what it says, a Grand Slam Jam and with
a big chord at the end!
You mention in DEMS 01/1-14/4 last paragraph on page 15 that you
compare two tracks by running them simultaneously through a pair of
headphones. While I assume I know how to alter the headphones, could
you explain to me how you synchronise two tape decks?
Indeed. The connection between your two players and your pair of
headphones is straightforward. What you need to make for yourself is
a lead that has two inlets (male) and one outlet (female). Your
inlets go in the phone connections on both players. Your outlet
should be used to plug in your stereo head-phones. Since single wire
leads are hard to find, you can join up the right and left channels
of a double wired lead. The result must be two wires, one from each
inlet. These two wires have to be combined in one single outlet as if
they were two different stereo channels. If you plug in your
head-phones to that outlet you have one player feeding your left ear
and one player feeding your right ear. Simple. I learned this from my
dear friend, the late Klaus Stratemann.
I have an open reel player and a cassette player, both of which give
me the option of slightly changing the speed. It can happen that I
have to make a copy (of a CD) first in order to be able to run it
through my cassette player. It can also happen that I have to make a
copy in between in which one player runs at maximum (or minimum)
speed and the other records at the opposite speed in order to
overcome a too significant speed difference between the two
If you listen in sync you can always tell with certainty when two
recordings are different (if they are) and you can almost always tell
with certainty when they are identical. If two recordings seem to be
identical, it still may happen that the speed of one source has to be
controlled in order to keep track with the other source. By doing so,
the pitch of one may slightly differ from the pitch of the other.
That's enough to say that they are different.
Hodges, Hamilton and Ellington almost always play differently every
time. If you concentrate on their solos you will find it easy to
reach a conclusion.
Palau de la Música de Barcelona, 14Nov71
See DEMS 05/2-14
J'aimerais faire quelques remarques sur l'émission par TVE des
concerts au Palau de la Musica Catalana du 14 novembre de 1971. Et
oui j'ai bien dit concerts, car ce sont deux concerts donnés
ce jour-là par Duke et son Orchestre. Le premier a eu lieu
à 18h30 et le deuxième à 22h30. Jusqu'à
ce moment je croyais que la musique avait sorti d'un des deux
concerts, mais après la vision du vidéo (en quatre
parties) je peux faire la composition partielle de chacun, ce qui
casse l'opinion que ce concert est complet. Je suis sûr de ce
que je vous indique à continuation car j'étais
présent au concert de 18h30 et Duke n'a pas changé de
veste, alors c'est facile de comprendre que des quatre parties
offertes, deux sont du concert de 18h30 et les deux autres de celui
de 22h30. Tout cela en voyant les vidéos, pendant le premier
concert Duke a une veste blanche avec des rayures et pendant le
deuxième il est habillé d'une veste obscure. Voici ce
qu'on a émis des deux concerts:
Translation: I would like to make some remarks about the telecast
through TVE (Spanish Television) of the concerts of 14Nov71 at Palau
de la Música Catelana. And yes, I said concerts, because Duke
and his Orchestra gave two concerts that day. The first concert
started at 18:30 and the second at 22:30. Until now I believed that
the music came from one of the two concerts, but after watching the
video (which is divided into four parts) I can reconstruct in part
each concert, which gives the lie to the view that everything came
from one complete concert.
I am quite sure about what I describe to you because I was present at
the 18:30 concert and Duke did not change his jacket during it. This
makes it easy to understand that of the four parts of the video, two
are from the first and the other two are from the second concert.
Watching the videos makes it clear that Duke had a white striped
jacket in the first concert and a dark jacket in the second.
Here is what was telecast from the two concerts:
18:30 Concert (46 min.):
Satin Doll (with Raymond Fol at the piano)
Things Ain't What They Used To Be
La Plus Belle Africaine
Come Off the Veldt
22:30 Concert (50 min.):
Kinda Dukish & Rockin' in Rhythm
Take the "A" Train
All Too Soon
Jordi Navas Ferrer
Thank you, Jordi Navas Ferrer for your highly interesting observations.
I have no problem in accepting that Duke played two concerts that
day. And it is also obvious that the four parts of the telecast were
not shown in the correct sequence. I am also willing to believe that
two parts (with Duke in his casual striped jacket) belong together to
the first concert, and that the two other segments with Duke in
tuxedo both belong to the second concert; but that is as far as I can
go. If you are right about the fact that Duke did not change his
jacket during the first concert, I am inclined to believe that the
whole first concert was performed in his tuxedo and the second
concert completely in his casual jacket. I am convinced that Duke
started the evening (or the concert) in tuxedo and changed his jacket
during the intermission or between the two concerts. That makes me
conclude that even if the recordings were made during two different
concerts, the sequence is still correct as I pointed it out in DEMS
05/2-14. In other words, if you witnessed the first concert at 18:30
and Duke had not changed his jacket, you must have seen him during
the whole of that concert in tuxedo. Am I right?
J'aimerais vous dire que le concert de 18h30 n'a pas eu
d'intermission, il a été fait d'un seul trait. Je ne
peux pas dire le même pour celui de 22h30, car je n'y
étais pas. Mais je vous assure que dans celui de 18h30 il n'a
pas changé de veste, alors par déduction, le concert
avec la veste foncée est le concert de 22h30.
J'aimerais aussi vous dire que Cootie Williams est venu avec
l'Orchestre mais il a dû rester a l'hôtel (Ritz
Hôtel) victime d'une affection intestinale. Ce qui nous a
déçu en grande manière, car Cootie c'est
beaucoup Cootie! Mais le solo de Take the A Train de Money Johnson
est d'une belle qualité.
Translation: I would like to tell you that the 18:30 concert did not
have an intermission, it was played in one set. I cannot say the same
thing about the 22:30 concert, because I wasn't there. But I assure
you that in the one of 18:30 there was no change of jacket, which
leads to the conclusion that the one with the tuxedo was the 22:30
I would also like to point out that Cootie Williams came with the
band, but that he had to stay in the hotel (Ritz Hotel) because of
stomach problems. That was for us quite a disappointment, because
there is only one Cootie! But the solo in Take the "A" Train
by Money Johnson was really nice.
Jordi Navas Ferrer**
Thanks again Jordi for your very specific information. I suggest that
we should make a note under the listing of the titles of 14Nov71
(correction-sheet 1072) indicating that the recordings 7180xa - 7180d
(C-Jam Blues - Harlem) were made during the 22:30 concert and
that the recordings 7180e - 7180k (Perdido - Medley) were made
at the 18:30 concert.
Éditions Nocturne, Duke Ellington
joue Billy Strayhorn
see DEMS 05/2-31
A propos des 2 CDs "Ellington plays Strayhorn" I made for Nocturne
with drawings by Jean-Claude Götting:
I agree with you that for CD1 track 9 and CD2 track 10 it could be
Duke on piano, in spite of Andrew Homzy's liner-notes for Storyville
8346 [see DEMS 03/3-21/2]. But in Orson (CD2 track16) I hear
Strayhorn (typical ascending runs at 0.49 and at 2.42. And in All
Day Long there is no piano at all (CD2 track 19).
Dusk on the Desert
See DEMS 05/2-25
I no longer have a copy of Duke's score for Dusk in the
Desert, but I have no recollection of Jamming and Jiving.
I do seem to recall the title on the first page saying Dusk in the
Desert. Perhaps Michael Kilpatrick [in DEMS 04/3-13, in two
contributions] was referring to a slightly earlier small group
I would like to add to the discussion about the brass soloist on
the first chorus of Dusk on The Desert (20Sept37 [M-651-2])
presented in DEMS Bulletin 05/2-25.
I support the conclusions of Steven Lasker and Kurt Dietrich that the
instrument is a trumpet, not a trombone.
The perfect pitch control, the full control of the instrument in all
registers, the highly controlled attack coming in "dead center" on
the pitch for each note, the sense of weighty power on open horn, and
the pattern of slight vibrato that comes in on held notes are all
characteristics of Cootie Williams on open trumpet and none of the
other Ellington trumpet players in the 1930s. Compare the attack,
smooth gliding note production, perfect pitch control in all
registers and pattern of vibrato for Cootie Williams' performance of
Black Beauty of 22Jun39 (WM-1045-A). This is the only other
brass solo I know of in all of Ellington's music that resembles the
feel and sound of the soloist on Dusk On The Desert and, since
Williams was the only brass instrumentalist on the 22Jun39 session it
is certain he played the Black Beauty solo. For comparative
purposes closer in time to the recording of Dusk on the
Desert, many aspects of Williams' note production are also
similar, although the musical approach and use of mutes are
appropriately very different, on Watchin' and I Can't Give
You Anything but Love both recorded 26oct37, only five weeks
after Dusk on the Desert. We should not forget how versatile a
trumpet player Cootie Williams was. As far as the other possibilities
are concerned: Rex Stewart's attack is always entirely different than
the soloist on Dusk on the Desert. This is clear from all his
solos on his record session of 7Jul37 (for comparison close to the
date of Dusk on the Desert). Also, Rex Stewart seldom kept his
pitch "dead center" from start to finish of each and every note as the
soloist does on Dusk on the Desert. Arthur Whetsel had a
beautiful tone, but he had a delicate sweetness, not the thicker rich
sound heard on Dusk on the Desert. Freddie Jenkins was only
intermittently used on studio recordings during his 1937-38 return to
the Ellington band. It would have been odd for him to be featured on
an exotic speciality such as Dusk on the Desert, especially
since Ellington had not featured him on exotica during the six years
he was a regular band member between late 1928 and late 1934. Jenkins
was generally featured on "flashy" or "peppy" pieces (such as
Happy as the Day Is Long as mentioned by Luciano Massagli).
Jenkins' tone was bright and clean and not as rich and full-bodied as
the soloist on Dusk on the Desert.
Sjef, you suggested in one of your comments in the discussion that
Williams should be considered as well as the other trumpet players of
the 1930s. I think Williams was the soloist in question. I hope these
observations are helpful.
It is definitely a trumpet or a cornet . I would say Rex (or Cootie.
My friend Jean Portier tells me to compare it with Cootie's recording
of Black Beauty.)
Would you please listen to Black Beauty from 22jun39 and then
compare Cootie's playing with Dusk on the Desert ?
Please let me know.
I would never say that Black Beauty could have been played by
a trombone, but for Dusk on the Desert I am not so sure that
it isn't one.
I am still convinced it is Lawrence Brown taking that solo! Listen to
one of his greatest admirers: Tommy Dorsey and his muted trombone in
the upper register on Song Of India.
I happen to agree with you. Listen to Lawrence's album "Slide
Trombone" LP CLEF Records MG C-602, later reissued (with two bonus
tracks) on CD Verve 314 599 930 (DEMS 00/1-20/1).
Have you been able to do have some results with your sound-spectogram?
"The Magic of Ella Fitzgerald"
I have just received a DVD of the "Ella Fitzgerald Show" [recorded
April 8-11, 1968]. My copy has Lush Life [6818f] before Oh!
Lady Be Good [6818e].
DESOR has them as Oh! Lady Be Good, then Lush Life. The
remainder of the tunes are as on page 496.
Is my copy a composite collection do you think?
No. Your copy is correct. I have the same sequence as you have on my
video and audio tapes. In order to group together the selections
which had the same personnel is probably the reason that the New
DESOR has changed the correct sequence. Have you noticed that Duke
did not actually play the piano in Lush Life ?
DE plays indeed in Lush Life, since, in the video, we can see
him seated at the piano as accompanist of Ella Fitzgerald.
This subject has been discussed in DEMS 98/2-23/1; 00/3-6/1;
00/4-14/3 and 01/1-14/3. My contribution in 00/3-6/1 contains all my
arguments for saying that Duke indeed (as he claimed many times)
never played Lush Life.
"I do not have the answer to the question, why Ellington did playback
his performance of Lush Life other than that he did not play
it in the first place. I have another question though. We can agree I
hope that almost the whole show was played back. It is obvious in
Things Ain't What They Used To Be and it is proven by the
presence of a tape in the Danish collection. The tape-box is marked
"Ella Fitzgerald Show", "Playback for Ella Fitzgerald?" and on the
tape is the music without vocal of the songs Sweet Georgia Brown,
Lover Man and Mack The Knife.
There are two selections in the show where I have doubts. These are
Don't Get Around Much Anymore and Oh! Lady Be Good,
sandwiching Lush Life, which is the subject of this
discussion. I believe that Duke played these 2 selections
during the shooting of the film. This part of the programme is the
only part where there are mikes in front of the bassist and the
drummer. (There is constantly a mike on the white piano.) This is my
question: if Duke played back all three numbers, why did he do such a
poor job with Lush Life while showing himself to be an expert
in miming his own playing on Don't Get Around Much Anymore and
Oh! Lady Be Good? If, as I believe, he played both numbers
(one and three) during the shooting, why would he have played back
his rendition of Lush Life? I believe that Jimmy Jones played
Lush Life. If it was recorded during filming, Jimmy could have
used the black piano we saw earlier in the show. [Not once can one
see Duke's hands touching the keys of his piano during Lush
Life in contrast to the filming of his piano playing during the
first selection: Don't Get Around Much Anymore.]
I am very reluctant to use arguments based on taste instead on facts.
I also like the piano part of Lush Life very much, but Jimmy
Jones was a heck of a piano-player himself. It does not sound like
Duke to me.
After I saw the picture again, I wondered why the New DESOR accepted
only those selections where Duke is visible on screen. The whole show
is played by the Ellington orchestra, sometimes with and sometimes
without a group of 6 violins, a harpist and a second
I also hear sometimes an invisible guitar.
In DEMS 00/4-14/3:
"The Lush Life we hear in the Ella Fitzgerald show (8-11Apr68)
is not played by Duke Ellington. I believe it is Jimmy Jones.
Another question about Ella Fitzgerald
I also got a DVD of 6616 (8Feb66 pre-recording at the Circus in
Stockholm for later telecast). Why do you think that our Italian
friends not mentioned that between 6616e and 6616f, and between 6616l
and 6616 m, Ella sang four respectively five songs with the Ellington
orchestra and her trio. They have mentioned often that this happened
in the second part of a concert.
Circus in Stockholm (8 Feb 66): we have not at our disposal this
complete session but only the Ellington portion and some titles of
Ella. For this reason we were not able to put in the note the actual
sequence of the pieces.
Another one from the "HUH?!" department:
At first glance, this looks like any copy of Brunswick (US)
6527...Duke's Drop Me Off in Harlem [17Feb33].
However, when turned over you see the same label. "Fine," you say,
"Label errors aren't unknown!" But, when you look closer, you note
that the same matrix number and take (B13081A) are stamped in the
run-out of both sides as well! I assume (haven't checked yet) that
both sides play the same song. The only difference in the two sides
is a tiny number stamped in the 3:00 position...which is "7" on one
side and "8" on the other (which makes sense if this is a stamper
So...why would Brunswick press records, apparently intentionally,
with the same song on both sides...in 1933?! Radio wasn't playing
much in the way of records, and jukeboxes had barely begun to
appear...so the two most likely reasons seem not to exist! Anybody
have any thoughts?
I am relatively new to DEMS although it has been long enough that I
received a few paper editions before the switch to electronics.
However I don't have the history of what has been discussed over the
In any case, I was listening to some of my favorite arrangements that
Gil Evans did for the Claude Thornhill Orchestra in the 1940s. As you
may know they were a major step along the way to the Birth of the Coolsessions
led by Miles Davis. One I had always skipped was the Arab
Dance since I have never been fond of using classical music in
jazz arrangements. Having ignored it for decades I listened to it
recently and was startled to hear about 25 seconds of Duke's
Ko-Ko transcribed into it complete with orchestral
arrangement of one of Blanton's riffs. I am not sure when the
arrangement itself was written, but Thornhill was playing it in
1947,8. It would be interesting to know how Evans even thought to
insert it. In the 1947 version in particular it certainly adds
intensity before it drops back to a sort of pop Tchaikovsky. Is this
something that has ever been discussed in DEMS?
And isn't it interesting that two records often mentioned as
candidates for the best all time jazz record have the same name
(Charlie Parker's KoKo, without the hyphen, is the other one),
but are otherwise dissimilar.
The Thornhill recording has never been discussed in DEMS. I would
like to publish your remark if you can explain the date 1947,8. Does
that mean 1947/1948? I checked it out and I found the recording date
for Arab Dance on 17Jul46 (Co 36526). Is that correct? If so I
would prefer to mention that date.
I have two versions of the Arab Dance. One is from a
transcription dated Apr48. I don't know the date of the other, but it
has the same soloists I believe (Folus and Polo). It is a bit more
robust and could be either 1946 or 1947 I suppose. The band still
played it in 1949 but the personnel had changed by then. Both
versions are a bit over 4:20 which probably rules out the Columbia
(which I don't know) due to length. The Ko-Ko insertion is at
approximately 3:35 in both and lasts a little over 20 seconds. The
band seems to enjoy it in what I think is the earlier one. In the
Apr48 version Thornhill himself inserts a lot of arpeggios and
embroidery against the Ko-Ko transcription which indicates to
me that he probably did not recognize where it came from (who would
knowingly embroider Duke?).
I checked my discography (Jepsen) and found that neither Mickey Folus
nor Danny Polo were involved in the Columbia recording. As releases
of this recording of 17Jul46 Columbia 55041 and Harmony HL7088 are
By coincidence I bought this summer a CBS CD, 466960 2, which
collects 16 Claude Thornhill recordings including a 4:21 Arab
Dance. The inlay booklet includes a most interesting background
essay on Thornhill by Will Friedwald, but unfortunately it has no
recording dates or personnel details (Im glad I didnt pay
much money for the CD). However, the essay does say that Thornhill
reorganized in April 1946, and as Friedwald also calls Arab
Dance Evans' 'first post-war masterpiece', it seems reasonable to
infer a 1946 recording date for this track. My CD is produced by
Michael Brooks and was made in Austria. The composer credit for
Arab Dance is said to be Pending. Eat your heart
A rather touching Ellington quote prefaces the essay. Duke says, of
Thornhill: 'I wonder if the world will ever know how much it had in
this beautiful man.' Thornhill died in 1965, nine years before
Ellington did, so it may be that Duke said this at that time.
It seems to me that the echoes of Ko-Ko are there from the
start in the insistent drumbeat which recurs from time to time
throughout the score, and which recalls Sonnys tomtom figure.
An arranger with Gil Evans' ears would have picked up this at
After saying that Arab Dance illustrates Evans' penchant for
the exotic as well as Thornhill's penchant for jazzing the classics,
Friedwald throws in a most curious (to my mind) comment on the
Ellington recasting of Arab Dance (which is the work of Billy,
we gather, though hes not mentioned). [It is indeed Billy's
work, see Walter van de Leur, p276.] Friedwald says that Evans'
arrangement is so effective that 'even Ellington made
his own Arab Dance the only throwaway in his later full-length
treatment of the Nutcracker Suite.' I suppose he means that
Arabesque Cookie is a casual effort because Gil Evans'
arrangement of Arab Dance was so good. What a strange thing to
say! Why should excellence provoke carelessness? Eddie Lambert
writes, of the Ellington-Strayhorn approach to Nutcracker,
that 'the scoring is among the most detailed and precise they ever
wrote for the band' (DE A Listener's Guide,
p218). I agree, and can find no reason to exclude Arabesque
Cookie from that assessment. Indeed, the idea of approaching it
casually goes against what Billy said to Stanley Dance about pop
songs, and tackling every piece with equal care: 'I put the same
effort into whatever I do. I try to do the best I can.' (The World
of Duke Ellington, Macmillan, 1971, p27). What do other
DEMS members think?
Trianon Ballroom, Southgate, 7May42
Can we be sure that New Desor 4205 from Trianon Ballroom at Southgate
7May42 survived and really exist? These last years we had
questions/discoveries/infos on various Southgate recordings; never
anything from 7May42.
Klaus Götting and Jean Portier
No we cannot be sure. The source for this information seems to be
Benny Aasland's 1978 WaxWorks, where the session is documented under
number 42-4. It seems to me that Benny's mention of the soloist is a
bit speculative. It seems very likely that it was indeed Ben Webster
who soloed in The Strollers, since he also did so on 15Jul42.
It is possible that Benny took the information that Ivie did I
Don't Want To Walk Without You, Baby from a review of the
broadcast and it is not difficult to predict that it must have been
Ray Nance who soloed in Just Fiddling Around. For I Don't
Mind only Ivie is credited. In the previous recording of 26Feb42
Ray Nance, Harry Carney and Lawrence Brown were also credited. For
John Hardy's Wife no soloists have been mentioned. I have no
idea how Benny knew that Johnny Hodges, Ray Nance and Lawrence Brown
soloed in Blue Again and that Ben Webster played in Body
and Soul. All in all, I am not convinced that Benny was ever able
to listen to the recording. I certainly have not and I do not know
anybody else who has. I believe that Luciano and Giovanni decided to
include this session, convinced as they were that it would pop up
some day (as many sessions claimed by Benny later did).
National Urban League broadcast 30Mar41
See DEMS 02/1-2 (NEW FINDS)
Further to Steven Laskers posting, a colleague has now listened
to the complete program at Library of Congress. Ellington also
performs Take the "A" Train, broadcast from Hollywood.
Take the "A" Train is on disc Part 4 on its own and
Flamingo is the second item on disc Part 5 (there is a comedy
Gems from "Blackbirds of 1928"
I apologise in advance for not having done a thorough job of
researching the subject matter of this message but feel compelled to
ask the questions presented. The subject is the recording date of
20Dec28 by Warren Mills and His Blue Serenaders. The two takes of
St. Louis Blues are both shown in Timner 4th Edition as
issued, and both are on Masters of Jazz, Volume 5, tracks 19 and 20,
among other recordings. The three takes of Gems from "Blackbirds
of 1928" from that same session are listed as "unissued" in
all of the sources I can find EXCEPT Benny's WaxWorks (1954) which
correctly lists (without giving a take number) issuance on 12" Victor
35962 with a recording date of 1Feb29 for both St. Louis Blues
and Blackbirds.Timner lists 20Dec28 for both. Klaus Stratemann
uses the 20Dec28 date on page 1 of "Day by Day and Film by Film."
Given the presence of the Hall Johnson Choir on both tracks, it would
seem logical that both recordings were made on the same date; to
assume otherwise would infer that the entire cast (choir; white
orchestra, DEO) was reassembled at a later date, which does not make
sense. In any event, I am in a position to acquire a nice copy
of Victor 35962. What is the real story about it?
This is one of the very few errors in Benny Aasland's WaxWorks. Benny
has combined under the date of 1Feb29 the recording of St. Louis
Blues, made on 20Dec28 with the recording of Blackbirds
made on 1Feb29. He heard the same large orchestra directed by Matty
Malneck, but that has not been confirmed.
On 20Dec28 the recordings were made by the complete Ellington band
(11 men) plus Matty Malneck conducting a white orchestra bringing the
total number of instrumentalists on 25. Also the Hall Johnson Choir
of 10 voices and Adelaide Hall were participating. From this Dec28
session three takes of St. Louis Blues were released. (The
third one on the RCA 24 CD box.) Three takes of Blackbirds
were not issued. The medley contained I Can't Give You Anything
but Love, Doin' the New Lowdown and I Must Have That Man.
The New DESOR states that the white orchestra was the Mills Hotsy
Totsy Gang. We believe that the correct name of the group was
Warren Mills and his Blue Serenaders. See also Klaus Stratemann page
1. It is another phoney name, invented by Irving Mills. Warren was
his son and in 1928 three years old.
On 1Feb29 matters were different. The Duke Ellington Orchestra was
not present. In spite of Benny Aasland's claim that he heard the band
and more specifically Barney Bigard, the musicians were MattyMalneck,
Tommy Dorsey, Eddie Lang and an unknown group of 14 pieces (a total
of 17). Also the choir was unknown but contained 9 singers plus
Adelaide Hall. St. Louis Blues was not recorded.
Blackbirds contained this time I Can't Give You Anything
but Love, Diga Diga Doo, I Must Have That Man, Magnolia's Wedding Day
and I Can't Give You Anything but Love. This time two
takes of Blackbirds were recorded, both have been issued. On
the LPs Raretone 23000 and on Jazz Archives-21 respectively. Timner
is wrong in assigning the five titles of the Feb29 Blackbirds
to the unissued recording of Dec28.
In doing further research, I reviewed the entry for 1Feb29 in my copy
of Tommy Dorsey on the Side by Robert L. Stockdale, published
as Studies in Jazz No. 19 by the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers
University, surely the definitive discography of Tommy Dorsey. The
entry for that date has a headnote which confirms your explanation
above and the entry in Timner for 20Dec28. The headnote is as
follows: "A December 20, 1928 medley of the show's [Blackbirds of
1928] hits directed by Matty Malneck with Duke Ellington's band
was rejected after three takes. It was remade without Ellington on
February 1st with a major TD solo on 'Diga Diga Doo,' mislabeled 'Dig
A Dig A Do' by Victor."
The orchestration listed in Stockdale for the 1Feb29 date is: Matty
Malneck (vn,dir), Mannie Klein, Leo McConville, unknown (tp), Tommy
Dorsey (tb), 2 unknown (as), unknown (ts), 4 unknown (vn), unknown
(p), Eddie Lang (g), 2 unknown (bb), unknown (d), Adelaide Hall and
six male chorus (vcl).
So, the results as I understand them are: (1) the medley of Gems
from Blackbirds of 1928 as issued on Victor 35962 and the LPs
cited is not an Ellington recording; and (2) the three
rejected takes of Gems from Blackbirds of 1928 in which DE
participated are lost, at least for the present.
You did your homework after all. Thanks. I made good note of your