Duke Ellington Orchestra British Tour – July 1933 009
Pages 16 and 17 of a Duke Ellington concert programme, for Ellington's tour of the United Kingdom presented by Melody Maker, 1933. Page 17 continues "Mike's" profile of each of Ellington's songs to be played at the concert, with an advert for Triebert instruments on sale from Alex Burns LTD.
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positions, having been written only a few months ago. In spite of its title, however, there is very little of the â every man for himselfâ type of playing in Evâry Tub. In the introduction and coda a great deal is made of the use of timpani.âH.
8. Lac^y Rhapsody (1932), developed from an accompaniment to When Itâs Sleepy Time Down South ; perhaps one in every million people has ever noticed it. Actually, there can be no talk of plagiarism on Dukeâs part, but rather should he be praised for having so successfully produced an entirely new and original rabbit out of an old and battered hat. âH.
9. Blue Tune represents an Ellington experiment in harmony and melody : a simple
tune against a delicately-scored moving harmonic background. The music of Blue Tune is perhaps Dukeâs most â modern â essay so far ; but although there is more than a suggestion of the influence of Delius, there is no feeling that the melody has in any way been deliberately â harmonised â to a few unusual chords so that music will sound impressively â modern,â as is the way with other Delius-conscious Jazz composers. The harmony and the melody of Blue Tune are essential to each other.
10. Four months ago I went to the Columbia studios in New York and Duke Ellington was recording a number entitled the Ace of Spades. A little later when Duke returned to the Cotton Club the same number was broadcast as the new Cotton Club Shim Sham ; a week after it was called 142/7^ Street
and Lenox Avenue (the address of the Cotton Club). When I got back to England I bought a new Ellington record and the same tune was called Merry Go Round. Merry Go Round, therefore, seems to be the final and official title for this number which Duke wrote at the beginning of the year.âH.
ix. There was a great deal of discussion at the time of the release of the record of The Mystery Song in 1931, as to whether the brass were placed very close or very far away from the microphone to produce the â mystery â effect. It has transpired that I was not far wrong when I wrote in The Melody Maker that the brass were very closely muted and played the opening passages of The Mystery Song very near to the microphone.
12. Ring Dem Bells was also written, like Old Man Blues, for the Amos ânâ Andy picture â Check and Double Check â in 1930. Apart from being an opportunity for singing by â Cooty â Williams, Ring Dem Bells started a vogue among arrangers of dance music for the use of the tubular bellâ commonly called the â Ellington bell,â for the reason that nobody has yet thought to play any other rhythm on this instrument than the one which Ellington employs in this number.
13. At the time of going to press it is not known whether Ellington is going to play the short, or ten-inch, version of Creole Rhapsody (1931), or whether the long, twelve-inch, and by far less homogeneous version will be included in this programme.
14. In playing Sirocco Duke Ellington is paying a graceful gesture, for this piece is the only one in the programme to have been composed by a European. The composer describes Sirocco as ââa piece of music indirectly about Norman Douglasâ book â South Wind â ; the effect of the sirocco, the south wind which comes across the Mediterranean from the African desert, upon the minds and passions of those upon whom it blows.â
15. Swing Low was written in the last days of 1932 by Duke Ellington upon a theme supplied by Freddy Jenkins, the trumpet player.
16. Black and Tan Fantasy dates from 1927, the era of some of Ellingtonâs most powerful and moving works in his â lowdown â manner.
17. Ellingtonâs arrangement of Twelfth Street Rag is, I believe, unknown to European audiences. In essence this version is the same as that recorded in 1931, with the difference that the band is now stronger by two men than in those days, and the scoring has been augmented accordingly. As a technical achievement in the â swing â manner Twelfth Street Rag is surpassed only by Dukeâs famous version of Tiger Rag. âH.
18. Three years ago Duke Ellington and his band accompanied the back-chat of a couple of black-faced comedians, and out of the quiet, inconsequent ramblings of the band was evolved the theme of Rockânâ in Rhythm. The first recording of this was in 1930.
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