Tuesday, January 6, 2015

In the Cantaloupe...

A contributor to the Duke-LYM discussion group offered a quotation recently from Possibilities, the autobiography of Herbie Hancock:

“It’s not surprising that my mother, Winnie Griffin Hancock, was eager for me to have a piano. She was always anxious to instill an appreciation of culture in her children, even     
naming me- Herbert Jeffery Hancock- after an African American singer and actor, Herb Jefferies.”

And I discovered yesterday that, apparently, Herbie Hancock played a jam session with the Ellington band on 11 January, 1957 whilst a student at Grinnell College. The orchestra had played an engagement there the evening before. 

This nugget from a recent listing on Ebay. I have blogged about the Ellington LP, Fifteen Swing before. It is one of the rarest items in the Ellington discography. I am no nearer to ever owning a copy if the 'buy it now' price for the one currently listed on Ebay goes through: $797.00!

The vendor seems to know his stuff. He writes:

You collect the rarest jazz albums. You love Duke Ellington and his band. You know this is the HOLY GRAIL! 

How many of these LPs were pressed? 200, at most, I believe. Not many. 

Recorded Jan. 10, 1957, at Grinnell College in Iowa. Then pressed and released by the college. The next day, the band jammed with the young Herbie Hancock, a student at the college. 

This recording has NEVER been released outside of this VERY LIMITED pressing! This recording was discovered by Duke collectors in 1993 and has only appeared on eBay twice as far as I can tell, selling quickly as a Buy It Now in Jan. 2014. 

I've played this through once to check for skips or audio issues and it played wonderfully, despite some cosmetic imperfections on the actual LP. Some crackling but NO SKIPS! 

Have a different price in mind? Send me an offer...there isn't much in the "comparable" category to help price this. 

Because of the incredible rarity of this LP, no returns are accepted. 

Ships Priority Mail with insurance (domestic). International buyers are welcome. 

By bidding/buying, you agree that it's your responsibility to follow up with the post office should there be any issues with condition upon delivery (I'll gladly provide you with any information I have in order to assist in the unlikely case that an insurance claim becomes necessary). 

Original packaging/cover is in good condition with a signature in pen on the top of the reverse--see photo. I believe this is the signature of the original owner and *not* a signature from one of the performers. 

You love Duke Ellington, and this may be the only chance you ever have to own this album!

I love Duke Ellington indeed ('madly' in fact...)but if this is the 'only chance' I ever have to own this album, well... I'm not as mad as that (and my bank manager certainly isn't!). I'll write an update if and when the album is sold - and, if the information is available, the price it went for! In the absence of the artefact itself, here are some more pictures...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Something To Live For

Happy 2015 and the centennial anniversary of the birth of Billy Strayhorn.

To begin the celebrations, here are Alyce Claerbut, President of Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc. and Leslie Demus, President of the Billy Strayhorn Foundation, nieces both of Billy Strayhorn, on New York University's WNYU jazz radio show The Phoenix, broadcast originally 
2 December, 2014.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Serenade from 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.