Sunday, December 21, 2014

Serenade to Sweden

Here's a real rarity courtesy of the streaming music service Deezer. Whether you have to sign up to listen to it, or whether the embedded track works here, let me know.

This is a previously unissued recording from the session Alice Babs made with Duke Ellington in Paris, 1963. The issued album is as rare as the proverbial hen's teeth and has never been re-issued on CD. Things Ain't What They Used To Be comes from a six CD  boxed set issued recently by Vax Records in the late singer's home country of Sweden. Whether the record label may be prevailed upon to issue the whole of the Ellington album on CD (and there is a fund of unissued tracks and alternates from the Paris sessions)remains to be seen. Here, however, is the sole Ellington track included on this recent compilation. Full details of the box set may be found here.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Django All The Way

In a previous post some time ago, I wrote
about The Savory Collection.The custodian of these resources, Loren Schoenberg, has promised that a CD of Ellingtonian treasures is on its way. Perhaps amongst them will be this version of Honeysuckle Rose with Django Reinhardt which I discovered earlier today on Youtube. It will have to do until the real thing comes along...

For more of Django with the Ellington band, a couple of performances are included on The Great Concerts: Chicago, 1946 a recording
made, famously, by John Steiner.

The performance of Ride, Red, Ride is, unfortunately and inexplicably, edited on this release, however. the full version is available as a n mp3, though, here.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

... the place, man

This is the cover of the French edition of the Verve album Ella At Duke's Place, a much more satisfying and much less re-issued collection - to my mind - than the much more celebrated Ellington Songbook.

The cover to this French edition was commissioned specially from the artist Raymond Moretti. There is  particularly fascinating post about Moretti - which first alerted me to this edition of the album - at the always fascinating blog, London Jazz Collector. You can read about Moretti's work here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Duke's In Bed


I don't know where they keep finding these rare videos - salted away in private collections, I presume. Thank goodness they are uploaded to Youtube for all of us to enjoy.

The following video is dubbed entirely into Italian but nevertheless gives a fascinating insight into the life of Ellington. Filmed in 1966, mere months before his untimely death, there are particularly poignant glimpses of arranging and composing companion Billy Strayhorn.

Duke Ellington intervistato da Ruggero Orlando-1966

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Maple Leaf Rag

For sale on Ebay presently for $1000.00:

Autographs of Duke Ellington and Band at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, 1938

16 band members signed inside college student's chemist

Dated November 23rd. The book was owned by K.F. Box.
(Title of Book, An Introduction to Organic Chemistry, by Alexander Lowy and Benjamin Harron, John Wiley, New York, 1936, Owner's stamp inside front cover, Maroon covers are moderately scuffed with wear to the corners and edges, Binding is tight, Inside pages are clean apart from a number of pencil and use marks.)

Seller Notes:
In book, Owner's stamp inside front cover, Maroon covers are moderately scuffed with wear to the corners and edges, Binding is tight,Autographs are on a page that has some use marks.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Cutting Contest

With a street date of 9 December, 2014, a new  
200 gram vinyl pressing and an SACD of the album Masterpieces by Ellington are being released, mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound. Here is a little film about the audio engineer:

P.S: Flub you Madly...
The following exchange took place on Steve Hoffman's Music Forum with regard to an error made by vocalist 'Yvonne':

A: Masterpieces By Ellington was released only as a 12" LP back in the Spring of 1951.

There are two masterings of Side 1 of that LP:

The -1 cuttings for Side 1 has a vocal flub in Sophisticated Lady just as the female vocalist started singing. That vocal flub was edited out in the -2 cuttings for Side 1 and on subsequent reissues (on both LP and CD). In addition, the -2B/-1E cutting (cut back in the Fall of 1952 during the green label's final months) was used for several years, through the blue-label re-pressings of 1953-55 and into the 6-eye era.

B: Hmmmm. My green label is 1E for side 1 and 1B for side 2. I had never noticed a difference between that one and my CSP issue, but I'll have to listen closely again to the green label (I've listenened mostly to my needle-drop of the CSP). She really does rush the timing of the intro on Sophisticated Lady and then catches back up with the band by the third line or so. I wonder if the CSP uses the old cutting, or if that is the "fixed" version.

That music is so sensitive and delicate -- the amount of concentration required to pull it off live-in-the-studio with songs that long . . . the whole thing must've been pretty intense. And the recording is so accurate -- you can hear musicians shifting in their chairs and bumping their music stands. There's another technical issue with Sophisticated Lady as well. Duke takes a long solo in the middle of the song and at the end of it, the brass comes blasting in. Well, the recording engineers must've been sneaking the levels up for his solo and when that brass comes in you can hear the faders get pulled down in a panic!

They were flying by the seat of their pants back then. Makes the record all the more fun to listen to.

C: My recently purchased green-label copy is also 1E/1B - with the wacky-looking script numbers in the deadwax. However, my early 1955 blue-label copy and my 6-eye CL 825 reissue copy are both 2B for Side 1 and 1E for Side 2. The 2B side is of the "fixed" version.

 B: So after closer listening my green label does have the flub. Man, you learn so much from this forum

The full discussion thread is here...