Welcome to DESUK
The Duke Ellington Society UK’s purpose is to further the study, appreciation and dissemination of the music of Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington.
We meet regularly in London to listen and socialise, and new arrivals are always welcome.
Our house publication Blue Light is released quarterly. The content is wide ranging and we are fortunate to have amongst our members jazz authors, journalists and critics, and equally fortunate to have many enthusiastic members who, because of their own deep interest, have become expert in particular niches of Ellingtonia.
DESUK Live Broadcast: Uptown Lockdown
We’re doing live broadcasts on Wednesday afternoons, 17:00 London time. We will be discussing matters Ellington and Strayhorn, playing tracks as well as a bit of live versions of their music. You can catch up at any time later.
More details on how to view and participate are on the Uptown Lockdown page.
The DESUK Annual General Meeting had been scheduled for Saturday, 2 May 2020. In view of the current health uncertainty this meeting will not take place, nor can we give any indication of an alternative time.
As selection of a new Committee would normally have taken place at the AGM, all current committee members have indicated their willingness to continue in office until such time as normal business can be resumed, In this way we anticipate that DESUK features such as Blue Light can appear in the normal manner.
Please refer to the DESUK website for current information.
— Mike Coates, DESUK Chairman
Got a gig coming up with an Ellington element? Pop us an email and we can publicise via our website.
Our own Frank Griffith has numerous upcoming gigs, often with an Ellingtonian twist.
Date/Time: September 8, 2020. 8.30PM
Location: Wilmslow Conservative Club. 15 Grove, Wilmslow, SK9 5EG
Featuring: Frank Griffith Nonet 01625 528336
Date: 2 October 2020
Location: Sefton Park Cricket Club, L17 1AA
Featuring: The Frank Griffith Nonet
More on Frank’s website.
To keep in touch with our membership in between issues of Blue Light, and to share news between issues, we have started an email mailing list. We will provide updates about mailings of Blue Light and other society events as and when they occur, and promise not to bombard our membership with excessive spam. The list is open to paid subscribers and the general public alike, and you can unsubscribe at any time. More details on the mailing list page.
Matthias Heyman has launched a new site devoted to seminal bassist and Ellingtonian Jimmie Blanton at https://www.mattheyman.com/pitter-panter-chatter featuring
… regular posts with tidbits, little-known facts, and deep dives on jazz bassist Jimmie Blanton (1918– 1942), best known for his tenure with composer and big band leader Duke Ellington between 1939 and 1941.
While we’re here, don’t forget to listen in to our Paul Gonsalves 100th Anniversary special Uptown Lockdown at https://www.pscp.tv/AP64740207/1YqKDpOWYXAKV.
Running out of Ellington (or Jazz in general) to listen to? Here are a few suggestions from around the web:
- First and foremost, catch up with our Uptown Lockdown broadcasts at https://www.pscp.tv/AP64740207/ - not to be missed!
- Jazz Times: 10 Very late Ellington Albums
- Terry Teachout’s two lists of Ellingtonia: the first a sort of greatest hits, the second less well known tracks that deserve a bit more listening.
- Duke appearing on What’s My Line in 1953
- A rather haunting version of Lush Life with Ella Fitzgerald
- A Soundie of It Don’t Mean A Thing
- Good Queen Bess (largely because it’s stuck in your webmaster’s head)
- The Jazz Centre UK has been publishing general interest Jazz playlists, one per decade from the 20s onwards, as well as their own Ellington playlist here.
- Ellington Live has collated the videos of Art Baron in conversation on Ellington. Ellington Live is well worth a general browse for all sorts of gems.
Got any more suggetions? Post them in our Discord chatroom at https://discord.gg/efQNUMa
All About Jazz recently published an extensive interview with Edward Green, Professor at Manhattan School of Music and the editor of the Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington.
Ellington’s… masterpieces are vibrant evidence that opposite aspects of ourselves are meant to work together. And when they do, the result is beauty. – Edward Green
Enjoy it here.
Oxford University Press presents Con Chapman’s new biography of the great saxophonist and Ellington frontman Johnny Hodges.
As the first ever biography on Johnny Hodges, Rabbit’s Blues details his place as one of the premier artists of the alto sax in jazz history, and his role as co-composer with Ellington.
The estimated release date is early November; look out for a review in a future Blue Light.
CBS ran this tribute to Duke Ellington in 1974. Featuring interviews with Sonny Greer, Russell Procope, Billy Taylor and Ella Fitzgerald and preceded by an advert for a film by the other Duke (John Wayne), and to be enjoyed not only for its footage of the maestro but for the very best in mid-1970s TV advertising.