Archive for the Duke Ellington Category

Duke Ellington in a truly colored world

Posted in clips, Duke Ellington, jazz with tags , , , on February 28, 2013 by crownpropeller

UPDATE: I have entered the correct date and added Lou Rawls’ name, thanks to Ehsan Khoshbakht and Ruth Gilson!

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It is usually said that Duke Ellington was a synaesthete –  in his case a person being able to hear colors (and see music as colors).

Among Otto Flückiger’s old VHS cassettes I recently found a six minute clip of Duke and his orchestra performing in a surrounding that must hurt people of that ability. This comes from a Lou Rawls Show  directed by Jörn Winther and produced in Canada in 1971 (Thanks, Ehsan!)

It seems like the only way for Duke  to protect his inner ear from the screaming colors of the studio furniture and walls was to fight them by wearing a bright orange-red jacket with a lilac shirt!

Duke and the band (unfortunately one does not see much of the orchestra) play “Satin Doll”, afer that Duke is joined by singer Lou Rawls (thanks again, Ehsan!)–  doing “Sophisticated Lady”.

Enjoy

Duke Ellington / Maurice Béjart: Such Sweet Thunder (1960)

Posted in clips, Duke Ellington, jazz with tags , , , , , , , on September 2, 2012 by crownpropeller

Benne Vischer, an old friend of Otto Flückiger, was so nice as to digitize dozens of VHS cassettes from the Otto Flückiger collection and send me a harddisk full of material – on which I found a rare and beautiful document today:

In 1960 Joachim-Ernst Berendt had heard Duke Ellington’s LP “Such Sweet Thunder”, a musical interpretation of William Shakespeare’s works – and tried – succesfully – to convince famous choreographer Maurice Béjart that the music would be ideal for being staged as a ballet.

From 1955 to 1974 Berendt several times a year presented jazz and related music in his series of “Jazz gehört und gesehen” (Jazz heard and seen) TV broadcasts for station Südwestfunk (go here for a complete list of broadcasts, I wish Südwestfunk would start to produce DVDs!). And Béjart’s interpretation was staged in the studios of Südwestfunk in Baden-Baden to be broadcasted in this series. It was brought to the public on September 12, 1960 and it was rebroadcasted at some time in the nineties, when Otto probably recorded it on VHS.

 Enjoy!

Cootie Williams with Cleanhead Vinson (1943)

Posted in clips, Cootie Williams, Duke Ellington, jazz with tags , , , , , , on January 20, 2012 by crownpropeller

Trumpeter Cootie Williams (July 10, 1911 – September 15, 1985) made his first recordings with pianist James P. Johnson in 1928. He rose to fame with Duke Ellington’s orchestra in which he played from 1929 to 1940. In the Ellington band Williams was renowned for his “jungle” style of playing with a lot of growls, he was also a master of the plunger mute. After a short stint with Benny Goodman, Williams formed his own band in 1941. This band that at different times had sideman like Bud Powell, Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, Eddie Lockjaw Davis and Eddie Johnson in its rank. From the mid fourties on his band turned more toward jump and  rhythm ‘n’ blues.

From Chicago Defender, July 17, 1943.
Taken from Franz Hoffmanns “Jazz Advertised”.
Note “Eddie Vincent”, who is of course
Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson.

On one of Otto Flückiger’s old VHS cassettes I found a six minute clip by Cootie and his Orchestra which I am presenting you here. It was filmed in New York, in mid June, 1943. Originally this was released as Columbia Pictures film “Film Vodvil” (series 1, release no. 2). According to Mark Cantor (via Tom Lord) the on-screen personnel is also heard on the soundtrack:

Cootie Williams, Louis Bacon, Ermit V. Perry, Frank “Fat Man” Humphries (tp) Ed Burke, Bob Horton (tb) prob. Jonas Walker (tb) Charles Holmes (as) Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson (as,vcl) Sam “The Man” Taylor, Lee Pope (ts) Greely Walton (bar) Fletcher Smith (p) Norman Keenan (b) George “Butch” Ballard (d) Laurel Watson (vcl) Douglas Brothers (tap dancing-1) Lindy Hoppers (dancing-2) [ Leon James (dancing-2) & Dottie Mae Johnson (dancing-2) , Russell Williams (dancing-2) & Connie Hill (dancing-2) ]

The band is playing:

• Let’s keep on jumping/Get hep
• unidentified tune (1)
• Giddap mule
• Let’s keep on jumping (2)

Enjoy!

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