Duke Ellington, lot of two, consists of a rare, SIGNED, British Revue Card and a vintage Original Concert Program, both from the Ellington Orchestra's first European Tour of 1933:
1) Duke Ellington, Original Revue Program, May Fair Hotel, Punch's Club, June 20, 1933, SIGNED by Duke Ellington and the entire Ellington Orchestra: trumpeters Charlie [Cootie] Williams, Fred Jenkins, Arthur Whetsol; reeds, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Otto Hardwicke and Barney Bigard; trombonists Joe ['Tricky Sam'] Nanton, Juan Tizol and Lawrence Brown; bassist Welman Braud, drummer Sonny Greer, guitarist Fred Guy, vocalist Ivie Anderson and by the Duke himself. Additionally SIGNED by the other members of the Ellington tour revue, 'shake' dancer Bessie Dudley, tap dancers Bill Bailey and Derby Wilson. Also SIGNED by, the sponsor of Ellington's first European Tour , British band leader Jack Hylton, and by Dick Le Pain (?) who identifies himself as "Mus. Dir. Cavalcade" - Cavalcade written by Noel Coward, was a huge theatrical hit in London in the early thirties, and in fact was made into an Oscar winning film in 1933. The program is a single, pictorial folded sheet, heavy card stock, 8" by 5", light spotting, soiling, else very good+, signatures are near fine in black ink and pencil without loss or fading.
By 1933 Duke Ellington was at the peak of his early success, but the Depression had decimated the record industry, compelling him to devote even more time to his personal appearances. After a triumphant return to the Cotton Club earlier in the year, on June 5, 1933, the Ellington Orchestra began its first European tour in London, with a 55 day concert tour of England, Holland and France. It would be hard to overstate the excitement and anticipation that news of this tour had aroused in European audiences; the band's first performances at the London Palladium were sold out, breaking all previous box-office records and Ellington was to say later that the rapturous response of the audience "scared the devil out of the band…the applause was…terrifying…applause beyond applause". After successful tours of other major English cities, the band returned to London where they played this one-night engagement at London's elite May Fair Hotel, booked opposite a British stage revue, "Hors D'Oeuvre", whose cast included the acclaimed actress Beatrice Lillie, with lyrics and music by the currently popular English songwriting team of William Walker and Robert Nesbitt (possibly the 'Good Boy', 'Bad Boy' signees to the program).
2) Original, Vintage Concert Program, dated June 25 1933, for Ellington's concert appearance at the Trocadero Cinema in London. We know the specifics because of the survival of the original, very fragile glassine wraps on which the date and venue are stamped. Original concert program, 9" by 12", 24 pp, b & w photos, staple bound, glassine wraps are intact, but separated from the stapled wraps, with edge chipping and closed tear to foot of the spine and bottom edge of rear wrap. The program itself is in about near fine condition, pages are clean, crisp, unmarked, staples lightly rusted, mild age toning to wraps; a handsome production in pictorial card wraps, includes an essay by Spike Hughes, b & w photographs and bios of the band's section members, chronological list of Ellington's compositions and a red printed period advert sheet laid in for Lawrence Wright Music Co., announcing the newly acquired UK publishing rights for the Duke's smash hit, Mood Indigo.
The program was produced for a concert on Sunday, June 25 1933, just a few days after the May Fair Hotel show, when the band was booked for London's Trocadero Cinema, the largest theatre in Europe, seating 4000, where Ellington played to a capacity house, with an additional 1000 standees! Under the auspices of Melody Maker magazine, this special performance was organized by Spike Hughes, a British musician "who hated commercial compromise", so the concert was deliberately conceived to present Ellington and the orchestra in a serious context without some of the commercial trappings that were part of the revues staged at the Palladium and other venues. Ellington biographer John Hasse makes particular mention of this concert program as an "elaborate twenty-four page program…presenting the musicians as serious artists, Ellington as a serious composer and his compositions as true works of art. Nothing like this had ever been done for Ellington in the United States. Even when he would finally be invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in the 1940's the program booklets were not nearly as elaborate."
Two rare pieces of jazz ephemera from Duke Ellington's historic first tour of Europe; a very scarce and significant, early concert program and a vintage, rare signed revue card, with the autographs of the complete Ellington touring revue, including all the musicians who constituted his first major orchestra. J1712