DUKE ELLINGTON MUSIC SOCIETY
09/3 December 2009 - March 2010
Our 31st Year of Publication
FOUNDER: BENNY AASLAND
Voort 18b, 2328 Meerle, Belgium
Telephone: +32 3 315 75 83
DISCUSSIONS - ADDITIONS - CORRECTIONS
The last Treasury Show (in 1946)
Treasury Broadcast No 48 (acc. to Vail; 47 acc. to Stratemann) of 5oct46 is much shorter than usual. Is it known why this is so? Also, Stratemann and New DESOR say it originated at the Aquarium, whereas Vail says it was recorded at Radio City. Who is right?
The Treasury Show #47 was the last one in the series. There was no #48. The reason why #47 is so short is not known to me. The spoken introduction makes me guess that there was not enough time left after the football matches were on the air. Aasland mentioned in his announcement of the LP DETS 46 (DEMS 89/3-4) that the Treasury Department already in Jun43 recorded three 15 minutes shows, titled "Treasury Star Parade" (No’s 231, 232 and 233) in which the bond promo's were read by the announcer Jimmy Wallington. Jerry Valburn combined the Treasury Show #47 with these three 1943 shows on the LP DETS 46. Jerry told me that the show #47 was not recorded for the AFRS. In my files the location is ABC studio 6B. At the end of the short broadcast the speaker announced another ABC program the following Saturday afternoon, but there was no mention of the Treasury Department. Klaus Stratemann did not specifically say that the recording was made at the Aquarium Restaurant. On the other hand Ken Vail is wrong when he writes that this was a NBC (Blue) network broadcast. It was clearly announced as an ABC broadcast.
The Musicraft session of 23oct46
I notice that the Ole Nielsen and Timner (4th Edition) discographies list four takes each for Diminuendo In Blue and Magenta Haze, whereas New DESOR lists only one, in each case, take 4 (the issued take).
Is anything known about the other three?
No. Nothing has ever popped up. I guess that the mention of the takes -1, -2 and -3 is caused by Willie Timner's belief thaat if there is a take -4, there must have been three previous takes. The New DESOR only mentions recordings that actually do exist and which the authors have been able to listen to (and describe in Volume 2). I am surprised that Nielsen followed Timner's example.
It is possible that there were four takes in total, but only take -4 has ever been found. It is also possible that take -4 was the only take that could be used. The others mentioned by number but without being followed by any music, or being rejected because they were rehearsals or false starts. Timner's philosophy is that if there is even a slight possibility that a recording has ever existed, it should be documented. Insofar as a discography is written to help collectors to build up their collections, it makes no sense and is even confusing to include recordings, the existence of which is not confirmed. Timner's philosophy is again demonstrated by his answer to the queries by Luciano Massagli and Giovanni Volonté, elsewhere in this Bulletin (09/3-6).
Who is the trumpet soloist?
Although the two New DESOR volumes represent an enormous and marvellous achievement by the authors (and I use these books frequently and find them invaluable) I have to say that they are unreliable regarding the identification of trumpet soloists. I only have a very small proportion of the music listed in The New DESOR but nevertheless, from what I’ve heard; I list here 25 wrong identifications.
The results of this are particularly regrettable when other writers accept the mistakes as correct and repeat them. I shall give two examples. In the new Treasury Series Volume 8 annotator Frank Rutter credits Ray Nance with the solo on In a Mellotone (4539r). Why does he do this? Presumably because The New DESOR says it’s Nance. If you listen for yourself you will agree that it is obviously Rex Stewart. The same thing happens on the recent Volume 13. Lance Travis’s notes say Nance solos in Stompy Jones (4568b - 2nd chorus). Once again your ears will tell you that it’s Rex Stewart (and the same mistake had been made already in the series). For any newcomer to Ellington’s music who is trying to become familiar with the musicians’ styles this sort of thing is very confusing. These two examples are of course included in my following list. If anyone disagrees with my identifications I am prepared to go into aural and verbal detail to defend them!
DESOR Title Date DESOR Correct soloist
4530r In a Mellotone 12May45 Nance Stewart
4539b Indiana 16Jun45 Stewart Anderson
4539o Let the Zoomers 16Jun45 Anderson Stewart (ch 3)
4540s Stompy Jones 23Jun45 Nance Stewart (ch 2)
4546e Bugle Breaks 14Jul45 Stewart Jordan (ch 8 & 9)
4556p Bugle Breaks 18Aug45 Stewart Jordan (ch 8 & 9)
4558p Indiana 25Aug45 Stewart Anderson
4559b On the Alamo 1Sep45 Anderson Stewart
4559e Stop, Look 1Sep45 Nance Anderson (ch 4,last 4 brs)
4568b Stompy Jones 24Sep45 Nance Stewart (ch 2)
4569e Stompy Jones 26Sep45 Nance Stewart (ch 2)
4585f How Deep 28oct45 Stewart Jordan
4592b Just a-Sittin’ Nov45 Stewart Jordan (ch 3)
5109a Ting-a-Ling 24May51 Nance N.Williams
5113b Midriff 7Jun51 Nance N.Williams
5208f Ballin’ the Blues 29Apr52 Terry Anderson (ch 2)
5208j Ting-a-Ling 29Apr52 Nance Terry
5216a Tulip or Turnip 13Aug52 Cook Anderson (ch 3/bridge)
5216c Ting-a-Ling 13Aug52 Nance Terry
5221c How High the Moon 14Nov52 RN/CT/WC RN/WC/CT (chase ch 6 & 7)
5405c How High the Moon 29Apr54 RN/CT/WC RN/WC/CT (chase ch 6 & 7)
5407s Tulip or Turnip 29Apr54 Cook Anderson (ch 3/bridge)
5613o Tulip or Turnip 7Jul56 Cook Anderson (ch 3/bridge)
6534f Mood Indigo 18May65 Anderson C.Williams*
* Stanley Dance identified Anderson as the soloist in the notes but in a later letter to Jazz Journal he agreed with a correspondent that the soloist is Cootie.
Hoefsmit wrote to Michael Kilpatrick:
I have a difficult question raised by Graham Colombé for the next DEMS Bulletin. I wonder if you might be able to shed some light on these identifications. In the question with Blue Serge, we found the name written on the score. Maybe that is also the case with other scores. See DEMS 01/3-5&7&9.
I can certainly confirm that Nance is indicated as the soloist on the scores and parts for Blue Serge. At the moment I'm not sure if I can go through all of that list [from Graham Colombé] you presented to check to see if I agree!
As for the various pieces from around 1945, isn't it true that at that time the trumpet section changed quite a bit - any pieces of music inherited from before 1943, written for just three trumpeters, were then being played by a band with four trumpet players, so I wouldn't be surprised if the soloist for a particular piece changed from year to year, adding to the confusion over the issue.
It doesn't surprise me that a number of mistakes appear in DESOR in this respect, and sometimes it may be harder to identify a trumpeter than a saxophonist. For example, I can tell after only two or three notes whether I am listening to Paul Gonsalves, Webster, Sears or Hamilton on tenor. For the trumpeters I have to listen a bit more carefully sometimes, so it is more time-consuming work.
Any interest in fine 78s?
This is not intended for publication in DEMS, but I am wondering if that publication has ever addressed the matter of disposing of large collections of Duke 78s. There is obviously an aging demographic, and many members are avid collectors, but age must be taking a toll. I had a good friend who recently passed on who had a complete collection of Duke 78s including V-Discs all in near pristine condition. His wife has asked me for suggestions what to do with it. If there are any discussion groups you could guide me to I would appreciate it.
See DEMS 92/4-4
The identity of the trumpet player who solos in the 30oct28 recording session on take one of No Papa No, and who plays in the "Hot Five" behind Ozie Ware on Santa Claus, Bring My Man Back to Me and I Done Caught You Blues has variously been identified as Freddie Jenkins, ?Freddy Jenkins, or unknown. I've always had difficulty in accepting his identity as Jenkins, because to my ears, he sounded little like the Jenkins heard on Ellington's later recordings. Even Jenkins wasn't sure: Brooks Kerr tells me that in 1974, he played the three sides in question to Jenkins, who couldn't confirm it was he. (He stated that his first record with the band was Hottentot from c. 30Nov28--although he can be heard playing behind Mills's vocal on the band's 10Nov28 version of I Can't Give You Anything but Love.)
According to the standard discographies, Jenkins recorded only once prior to joining Ellington, backing Clara Smith on a 23May28 session for Columbia. The identities of the three instrumentalists on the date are noted in Columbia's files (according to Dan Mahony's "Columbia 13/14000-D Series Numerical Listing): Freddie Jenkins, trumpet; John Anderson, trombone; Porter Grainger, piano. I'd never heard the record (Columbia 14334-D, Steamboat Man Blues/Sobbin' Sister Blues) until this past weekend, when I found a mint copy of the 78 in a local used record store. On listening to the record, it was instantly obvious to me that the mystery trumpet player on the 30oct28 is indeed Jenkins, and my doubts on this score are completely dispelled.
Did Duke ever play Lush Life?
I saw recently on You Tube the video recording of Ella Fitzgerald singing Lush Life with Duke at the piano in April 1968; (youtube.com/watch?v=06NSTNeM_h0). I cannot understand how you came to the conclusion that Duke did not play the piano. You have repeatedly claimed that he mimed and that someone else (you suggested Jimmy Jones) actually played the piano. It is obvious that Duke played in this sequence. See your claims in DEMS 003-6/1; 00/4-14/3; 01/1-14/3; 05/3-38 and 06/3-25.
What you saw on You Tube is a shortened version of the original recording. The time length on You Tube is 2:01. The original is 3:29. The first part (the verse) of 1:28 is missing. It shows why I came to my conclusion. I have seen the original color version on the DVD, described by Klaus Götting in 06/3-25, but it was already visible on the old black and white videotape in my collection, where also the full version was also shown.
I see that you are using a Duke Ellington caricature as your logo. Maybe it is of interest to you to know that this caricature (or "cartoon" as he called it) was done by Dutchman Boy ten Hove in about 1940. It can be found in my book about Ten Hove on p. 94, in a group of 8 of Ten Hove's Ellington portraits. Ellington clearly was Ten Hove's favourite subject.
My book has more than 200 drawings by Ten Hove, of about 100 artists. Louis Armstrong comes second after Ellington with a total of 7 drawings.
The book was quite favourably reviewed in the Journal of the IAJRC of August 2007.
Here is a press release about my book:
Ate van Delden
Barend “Boy” ten Hove (1909-1969) belonged to a circle of Dutch friends who were insiders in the pre-war jazz scene. He was a highly talented graphic artist and designer for several major Dutch periodicals and a pioneer of comic strips. Jazz was Boy’s hobby. His great opportunity came when one of his friends, Henk Niesen started to write articles about various aspects of jazz music in Algemeen Handelsblad, a Dutch newspaper. These articles appeared from 1935 till a few months after the German invasion into The Netherlands in 1940. Boy ten Hove produced drawings of the artists of whom Niesen would write. Also in the UK and the USA his drawings were becoming popular. The war ended this happy period and Ten Hove withdrew from the jazz scene. It took until the 1970s before the interest in his jazz drawings started to reappear. A new public saw them for the first time on the covers of Doctor Jazz magazine, a Dutch jazz periodical, and in the form of an exhibition, during the annual Breda jazz festival. With the help of several older generation collectors, editor Ate van Delden built a comprehensive collection of Ten Hove’s drawings which forms the basis for this book. The Ten Hove family generously provided biographical information about the artist.
Ate van Delden (b. Groningen, The Netherlands, 1941) has a university degree in electronics and spent his professional years in marketing. He is the chairman of the Doctor Jazz Foundation, a Dutch organization for the promotion of traditional jazz styles. He has been writing articles about early jazz for over 40 years, both for Doctor Jazz magazine and for other periodicals. Also he has written liner notes for several LPs and CDs in the area of early jazz. His interest in the artist Boy ten Hove goes back more than twenty years. He is married and has two sons.
Title: Boy ten Hove’s caricatures
ISBN: 90 5994 124 1
author: Ate van Delden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
price: € 24,50
size: 17,5 x 24,6 cm – hard cover
Indeed. The famous Ellington caricature has been on the first page of all our DEMS Bulletins since 1979. It was the well known dean of discographers, Benny Aasland, who made that choice.
In the meantime I found in a booklet dedicated to the show "Jump for Joy" written by Patricia Willard the name of Covarrubias as the one who made this caricature which was used for the programme notes of the show.
Although the dates: yours of "about 1940" does not conflict with the date of the opening night of the show on 10Jul41, I wonder how the people in the USA were so quickly capable of including this design in their programme. These were war years!
Are you sure about Boy ten Hove being the creator?
Yes, Sjef, it is by Ten Hove. See the attached copy from my book. Sorry for the poor scan. I would like to know how the name Covarrubias got in. He had a totally different style as far as I know.
I suggest that you publish this somewhere in your DEMS magazine, including the fact that it features several more Ellington caricatures.
The book is sold out at the publisher's but I have a few copies left here.
Ate van Delden
Stichting Doctor Jazz
We forwarded this correspondence to Patricia Willard and asked her opinion.
I just don't know. That entry on page 12 of my Jump For Joy liner notes: "The four views of Ellington include Covarrubias's famous caricature" was added by Smithsonian Recordings (presumably Martin Williams). I did not know the origin. As you know, I'm sure, the caricature is reproduced from the Jump For Joy souvenir program's inside front cover. I did supply photos of the entire souvenir program for reproduction in the liner note booklet. You also probably know that the original souvenir program offered no artist's credit for the caricature. My first encounter with the caricature was on the cover of the RCA Victor 78 rpm album "A Duke Ellington Panorama--A Victor Musical Smart Set," which I purchased in the late 1940s. The four records it contains were recorded between 1927 and 1940. I have no idea when the album was released because it carries neither an issue date nor any credit for the cover art. The liner notes (before they were called liner notes, I think) are by John D. Reid. Although there are also both drawings and photos of the musicians and of the entire band on the inside front and back covers, the only credit given is on the inside back cover for a photo of Bubber Miley: "Courtesy of Elmer Snowden & Music and Rhythm Magazine." [see note]
I wrote the Jump For Joy notes in 1980 but the first time I encountered the Covarrubias credit for the caricature was in 1988 when the Jump For Joy package finally was released and I became Historical Consultant to the Duke Ellington Collection at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution. There, at the Archives Center, the image was identified as the work of Covarrubias, and I accepted the Smithsonian's authority on the subject.
It certainly appears that the caricature is the work of Ten Hove. Once again, the Smithsonian is in error. I'll e-mail Reuben Jackson tomorrow and ask if he knows the Smithsonian source although the credit to Covarrubias pre-dated his arrival at the Archives Center.
Note: An approximate release date is easily pinned down - Ken Vail I p238 has Down Beat’s review of the DE Panorama album dated to issue 1Jul43.
I have tried to find the date and place of the first publication of each of the caricatures/drawings. For this caricature this date is Jun39 when it was published in an edition of the Dutch Jazz Magazine “De Jazzwereld”, as can be found in my book. Ten Hove’s first Ellington caricature appeared on 19oct35 in the “Algemeen Handelsblad”.
Ate van Delden
Interestingly this issue of De Jazzwereld came immediately after the ones covering the band’s 1939 visit to the Netherlands. See the forthcoming (at 22nov09) Blue Light 16/4.
As promised I did e-mail Reuben Jackson at the Archives Center with the question. He is travelling on Smithsonian business and has responded from the road that he will investigate when he returns to his office on Friday [2oct].
Reuben Jackson finally got back to me today [2Nov] and he could find no corroboration for the Covarrubias credit. Therefore, your correspondent most likely is correct about the origin of the caricature. Source of the Covarrubias credit remains a mystery.
The same caricature has been published in “The Cotton Club” by Jim Haskins on page 48. No credits but mentioned is the location: “Museum of the City of New York”.
Half Past Midnight Jump
I got a little EP from France. Super 45 Tours, LDP 5013. Duke Ellington Joue a New-York.
Titles: side 1, Bugle Breaks, Stomp Caprice and side 2, Half Past Midnight Jump, Partie 1 and 2.
Now to the question: The title cannot be found in DESOR, but the music is One O´Clock Jump (Count Basie). I can see in DESOR on page 1061 (4611j) a recording from Howard Theatre, Washington, 20Apr46, which seems to me to be the same recording as on my EP.
So we have a new title on the list with different names on the same recording.
There is little doubt that what you found on one side of the Parade EP LDP 5013 are the recordings of Bugle Break and Stomp Caprice, both recorded 3Dec41. What is on the other side is a recording of One O'Clock Jump, but which one? If the time length is a bit more than 7 minutes, it must be from 9Jul47, but if (what I guess) the time length is not more than 5 minutes, it must be from 20Apr46. Both recordings have the same structure, but in 1946 it was Taft Jordan on trumpet and a year later it was Ray Nance. If you cannot hear the difference, you can base your decision on the length and the "tempo" of the piece. In 1946 the tempo was fast and in 1947 the tempo was slow, to the extent that exactly the same score was played over a much longer time. The sub-title of One O'Clock Jump being Half Past Midnight Jump is confirmed on the jacket of the LP Family SFR-DP 641 and also in Timner (5th) on page 593. We assume that it is an example of Ducal wordplay.
Sjef Hoefsmit and Roger Boyes
You are right about the time question. It is 4.15 minutes. I hear that Taft Jordan is playing, not Ray Nance. So it must be from 20Apr46.
Sorry I didn't look in Timner. I only look in Timner about Ellingtonia.
Pictures of “A Drum Is a Woman”
By clicking on the links below, you will find several dozens (!) of pictures of scenes from “A Drum Is a Woman”. I didn't know they existed. I just happened to stumble across them. Enjoy!
Just in case you haven't seen them.
Put “ellington drum source:life” into google images and you will get a large number of Life photos of A Drum is a Woman in production. The images are all hi quality.
These beautiful pictures give a good impression of how splendidly this show was dressed and put together. It is however good to know that these pictures are so called stills, not scenes copied from the telecast itself. The only recording of the telecast was made with a camera in front of the television. This Kinescope is interesting but the quality is awful.
Again: Who subbed for Louie when he married Pearl Bailey?
I have gone thru only some of the DEMS Bulletins so don't know all the info that is covered. I have tracked down a few itinerary dates that are not in either of the massive itinerary books on Duke. One concerns drummer Jerry McKenzie subbing for Louie Bellson in 1952 when he went on his honeymoon with Pearl Bailey. Let me know if this fact is not covered anywhere and I'll provide more details.
Steven Harris - Pasadena, CA, jazz archivist-author-historian
Benny Aasland was convinced that Louie Bellson was replaced by Ed Shaughnessy when Louie married on 19Nov52 in London with Pearl Bailey.
I do recall hearing that Shaughnessy subbed but don't know for how long. In a 1994 interview for my book “The Kenton Kronicles” (published in 2000), Jerry McKenzie confirms that he was called at the last minute to sub at a nightclub in Coldwater Lake, Michigan (not listed in any of the Ellington itineraries that I know of). He stated that at the time a band member told him that Panama Francis had been hired temporarily but had missed his plane (Jerry was then a mere 17). I imagine this would be the first half of Dec. 1952, but could be one of the 3 gigs in November not covered. I can email you the exact quote in my book if you wish.
I have tracked down 2 more Ellington appearances not covered in the Stratemann "Day by Day - Film by Film" book or in the Diary book by Vail:
28Jul55 Stadium Bowl -Fairfield University, CT (a "Jazz Under the Stars" benefit)
12Dec55 The Forum - Hamilton, Ont. Canada.
Hope this info will add 3 more missing links to the D.E. history. If these are still new discoveries for DEMS and you do share them in the Bulletin, please give me proper credit. With all of my research at various libraries I'm bound to find more.
Steven Harris, jazz historian email@example.com
More interesting than the quote would be the date that Jerry subbed for Louie. Without a date it is impossible to add the gig to the Ellington Itinerary. The recordings of 20, 22, 24 and 28Nov give me the strong impression that Louie was back in time. It may be that the New Yorker of 22Nov52, which contained a review of the Birdland Silver Jubilee engagement, mentions names of the musicians.
Dinah or Dinah’s in a Jam
Carl Hällström has sent to some people the test print of the booklet that belongs to his double CD in the making “Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club” (see DEMS 05/1-34).
Reading the booklet has sent me to the Cotton Club recordings I have. I was listening to Dinah and went to the booklet to check the vocal trio but there is no listing of it, only two versions of Dinah’s in a Jam. According to Timner, Dinah was recorded on the 24Mar38, so track #9 of Disc 1 is improperly labeled as Dinah’s in a Jam.
The confusion is explicable. What you actually hear on track #9 of CD 1 and also on track 16 of the same CD is Dinah’s in a Jam. On the jacket of the Jazz Archives LP and on the cover of the Archives of Jazz CD the title of the 24Mar38 recording is given as Dinah. The same error was made by Timner, by myself in DEMS 05/1-34 and even by Andrew Homzy in his liner-notes. The list of selections in the booklet is now correct. Dinah’s in a Jam is based on the theme of Dinah as it was recorded only once on 9Feb32.
Wouldn't the insertion of the Dinah vocal into Dinah's in a Jam technically necessitate having it listed as Dinah/Dinah's in a Jam?
In my opinion there is more similarity between the four different recordings of Dinah's in a Jam (1938-1943) than there is between any of these four and the original recording of Dinah in 1932, in spite of the fact that there were two recordings of Dinah's in a Jam with vocal (1938 and 1943).
I haven't heard the 1943 version from the Hurricane. Is the recording complete unlike the Cotton Club vocal version? Does the vocal come in the middle of the arrangement or at the beginning? I've been comparing the three versions I have and the biggest difference I hear between them is the slower tempo, most likely to accommodate the vocal. Other than that the arrangement is taken from Dinah's in a Jam.
No the recording is very much like those of the Cotton club. The original lyrics are sung by Ray Nance this time. The vocal is in the second chorus (there are five in all).
I can accept it if you put all the Dinah recordings together as being one and the same tune, but if you want to divide the group into two different versions, you should only single out the original one of 9Feb32 and keep the other four recordings together. They all have something (a kind of riff) that is not found in the first recording.
We had the dedication ceremony for the Duke Ellington historical marker last Friday, 9oct09, and then a concert by the present day Duke Ellington Orchestra at the Sturges-Young Auditorium. I am sending you this page from our newsletter and want to express our appreciation for your donation towards the cost of the state historical marker, again. It has been three and a half years since we started this project and I am thrilled to see it completed! I hope that you are pleased with it. It is truly an impressive memorial
Linda Winkens, President of the Sturgis Historical Society
What a pity that my dear friend Gordon Ewing couldn’t see this.
I would like to get in touch with the person who is conducting the Publications of Duke Ellington history as is ....
By accident I found the article on the net ..... [DEMS 09/1-34]
The reason is that I am one of the people mentioned in the article..... the singer Aura Rully.
I would very much like to hear from you, I would also like to know how you got all this information ... from whom ......
Of course I would like to congratulate you for saluting the MAGICAL Duke Ellington & all his music.
Best regards. Aura Rully
What a pleasure to receive your e-mail. All the sources of information have been mentioned in the article itself. If you could give us more details of your encounter with Duke, we would be very happy to put it in a future Bulletin.
Bill Robinson a true Ellingtonian!
See DEMS 97/1-10; 02/2-26p11; 03/2-28p11 and 03/3-9
Shortly after Bill "Bojangles" Robinson died penniless, on 25Nov49, Columbia released two red-label 78s in commemoration, which I recently won at auction:
Columbia 30183: Doin' the New Low Down (B19524-1)/Keep a Song in Your Soul (B19525-1)
Columbia 30184: Just a Crazy Song (Hi-Hi-Hi) (B19526-1)/[with Don Redman and his Orchestra] Hi-Ho! Doin' the New Low Down (B12810A)
Of the four sides, only matrix B12810A was master-pressed. It was recorded 29Dec32 and first released in 1933 on Brunswick 6520, part of Brunswick's "Blackbirds of 1928" album (although it could also be purchased separately).
The other three sides are dubs, and bear stamper numbers that correspond to two silver-label Brunswick 78s from 1936 that reissued earlier Bill Robinson couplings:
Brunswick 7705: Keep a Song in Your Soul (B19525-1)/Just a Crazy Song (Hi-Hi-Hi) (B19526-1)
Brunswick 7706: Doin’ the New Low Down (B19524-1)/Ain't Misbehavin' (B19529-2)
These four sides were originally released on:
Brunswick 4535: Ain't Misbehavin' (E30526)/Doin' the New Low Down (E30527)
Brunswick 6134: Keep a Song in Your Soul (E36833A)/Just a Crazy Song (Hi-Hi-Hi) (E36834A)
Brunswick 4535 was recorded 13Sep29 and released 3oct29; Brunswick 6134 was recorded 27May31 and released circa Jul31.
The two red-label Columbia 78s, 30183 and 30184, are somewhat scarce and the thought occurs that they were likely withdrawn from sale after Columbia Records was apprised that the three masters from 1929 and 1931 weren't theirs at all, but rather Decca's, that label having purchased rights to the pre-3Dec31 Brunswick/Vocalion catalog from Warner Bros. Pictures in 1941!
On the 1929 sides, Robinson is backed by Ellingtonians, that at least being the opinion of just about every Ellington specialist I've spoken with (the sole exceptions being the two members of The New DESOR team). The label credit on Brunswick 4345 is to "Bill Robinson Accompanied by Irving Mills and his Hotsy Totsy Gang."
Lest anyone doubt that Robinson and Ellington recorded together, give a listen to the 10May47 "Saturday Night Swing Session" radio broadcast entitled "Twentieth Anniversary Salute to Duke Ellington" (and thanks to Patricia Willard and Jack Towers for making me aware of the program), wherein host Art Ford asked Robinson and Ellington, who were both present, "I understand you two made a record years ago. Is that right?" Ellington's reply--"Well, oh, yes!"--was nearly drowned by Robinson's: "Well I'd like to say one thing. I'm very proud to be with Duke, I'll tell you why. The first tap dancing record that was ever made in America [tap dance records had earlier appeared in England] was made by Duke Ellington and Bill Robinson and I'm proud to say that I made the first dancing record with the master." "Thank you very much," responded Ellington.
A Brunswick recording card for "Bill Robinson accompanied by Irving Mills and his Hotsy Totsy Gang" (reproduced in the album notes to GRP/Decca Jazz GRD-3-640) shows two additional titles by these artists, recorded 18Dec30 and rejected: Sweet Mama (E31728) and Black Beauty (E31729). These titles do sound vaguely Ellingtonian, yes?
It was first noted that "Steven Lasker found take -B of Jive Stomp from 15Aug33 (B13801B)" in DEMS Bulletin 05/2-12; after I played the take at the Duke Ellington Conference 2008 in London, Sjef (in DEMS 08/2-6) noted "On the label both the -A and the -B are visible. It is in any case much faster than the well-known release." I'm afraid that Sjef may have misunderstood the remarks I made when I introduced the take to conference attendees, and I'd like to take this opportunity to straighten the matter out. In actuality: The matrix number and take data isn't found on the label at all, but instead is visible stamped in the run-out area. Interestingly, the take letter "B" is stamped over the letter "A" on my shellac test of B13801B--no vinyls of this take are known to me, so I suppose my test of this take is likely unique--and I have an early pressing of Jive Stomp B13801A on Brunswick 6638 which bears the letter "A" stamped over the letter "B." (According to ARC's recording ledger sheet for this master number, only A and B takes were made.) Thus the "A" and "B" take designations were reversed shortly before the master was released to the public.
I acquired the test in trade with the English record dealer Mark Berresford in 2005. (For those who wonder what I gave up: a 1940s-vintage shellac test pairing two unissued-on-78 takes by The Bucktown Five, and a mint copy of Victor 20961, Skad-o-Lee/Florida Rhythm by Ross De Luxe Syncopators.)
“Stars on Parade” / Gotham Session revisited
See DEMS 02/1-8/2; 02/3-12/1&2 and 09/1-24
In DEMS 09/1-24 Steven Lasker explains why we should reject the date of 19Aug51 for this session. I think I can suggest another date. I also have detected the Gotham release, titled "Happy Greetings from Gotham Recording Corporation". On Side A the only two Ellington items: Duet and Threesome. The remaining portion of this LP contains non Ellington recordings. Side A caries the numbers GRC -2873-A and on the opposite side of the circle L 3990; the B side has the numbers GRC-2873-B and L 3991. It is the LP 0407 as documented in The New DESOR on page 1362. The numbers L-3990/3991 have been corrected into GRC-2873 (Correction-sheet 5006 with the corrections made for December 2002, see DEMS 02/3-27). I assume that Giovanni Volonté and Luciano Massagli did not have the inlay of the LP which contains the following information: “Cuts No. 1 and No. 2 - Duke Ellington's Duet and Threesome/b> - Recorded in Gotham's Studio, W-1, Narrated by Freddie Robbins and Duke Ellington, and performed on June 28, 1951, by Ellington's new twenty-three piece orchestra.”