Monday, December 5, 2011

Duke Ellington in the Middle East

Duke Ellington here makes one think of Mozart. I don't know whether the jazz fan will appreciate the significance  of such a comparison, but I feel safe in making it because this  composition deserves to be considered not merely as a specimen of jazz,  which is only one kind of music, but as a specimen of music, period. --  André Hodeir

Set List:
Afro-Bossa; Stompin' at the Savoy; Guitar Amour; Perdido; Honeysuckle Rose; Tootie for Cootie; Kinda Dukish & Rockin' in Rhythm; I Got It Bad; Things Ain't What They Used To Be; The Eighth Veil; Medley (Satin Doll + Solitude + Don't Get Around Much Anymore + Mood Indigo + I'm Beginning To See the Light + Sophisticated Lady + Caravan + Do Nothin 'Till You Hear from Me + I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart + Don't Get Around Much Anymore); Diminuendo in Blue & Wailing Interval; Lush Life & Take the "A" Train.

About this concert: At Duke's Panorama Anders Asplund writes: "I am convinced this is from the Middle East tour in 1963, and by comparing the programme with those of other venues, I believe it must be from November."
And now the interesting comment comes from Sjef Hoefsmit:
"This must have been a live telecast. There were two live telecasts according to Klaus Stratemann page 680. One on 5 November 1963 from Tehran and one on 14 November at the Khuld Hall in Baghdad. Ken Vail helps us out. He writes on page 230 of the second volume of his Duke's Diary that the 5 November 1963 live telecast came from the ballroom of the Royal Tehran Hotel. He does not give details of the second live telecast on 14 November 1963. It is obvious that it was not played in a ballroom but on the stage of a large theatre. That makes us conclude that the date was 14 November 1963."
Smoking Shisha in Iraq, 1963

Though I'm not totally convinced by his argument (guessing from size of the theatre when there are entertainment venues in old Hotels of Tehran, suitable for a concert like this. Also many hotels in Tehran have amphitheaters), I wish we could find more information about this broadcast, and if it is really from Baghdad, then spend the rest of our lives in quest of the holy grail: Duke Ellington concert footage of November 1963 in Tehran!

Watched it over and over again, now I'm sure it's not Tehran. It is whether Lebanon or Iraq. This is definitely broadcasted from a Lebanese TV (Al-Mashregh), but could be originally recorded in Baghdad as Hoefsmit argues.


  1. Thank you for posting this. I am a big jazz fan (and philosopher) from the US. I look forward to watching this film soon. I have a jazz blog that you can find under my name on Google.

  2. Here is my blog: Jazz Notes:

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Where and when was this photo taken? Who are other two guys?