Category: Ellington, Duke

Two Duke Ellington interviews by Les Tomkins

dukeEllingtonHere are two interviews with the one and only Duke Ellington originally from Les Tomkins and now hosted at the UK National Jazz Archive. Tomkins molded a number of different interviews and discussions conducted between 1964 and 1973 into these two pieces, which are written in monologue style. Ellington discusses everything from his early years to his arranging to performing at Westminster Abbey. From the interviews:

We’ve had a lot of wonderful people in the band, you know, from time to time—Ben Webster, Blanton, Shorty Baker, Clark Terry, Barney Bigard. Who else? So many wonderful guys. And even Bechet played with us in 1926. He and Bubber Miley used to have what we call cutting contests. One would go out and play ten choruses then the other would do the same. And while one was on the other would be back getting a little taste, to get himself together, and a few new ideas. It was really something. Too bad we don’t have all that on tape today.

Click here to read Interview One: Looks Back – and Forward

Click here to read Interview Two: On Sacred Music

—Peter Blasevick

Duke Ellington in exclusive interview from CBC’s Hot Air archive

More great jazz interviews this week from CBC-Radio Canada! The Bob Smith Hot Air archive is a treasure trove of approximately 50 interviews Smith recorded with some of the greatest stars of the day, from the world of jazz and beyond. Captured between 1950 and 1982, these interviews include conversations with Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Harry James, Oscar Peterson and Lena Horne, as well as Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Liza Minnelli and many others.

Here is a 1962 CBC-Radio Canada interview with the legendary Duke Ellington. Bob Smith had a lifelong fascination with Ellington and interviewed him no fewer than three times for the CBC. This featured conversation, perhaps Smith’s magnum opus as an interviewer, captures Ellington in a chatty and casual mood, with a surprise visit from the legend’s close collaborator, Billy Strayhorn.

Click here to listen to Duke Ellington in exclusive interview from CBC’s Hot Air archive.

Clip from On The Road With Duke Ellington

In this clip from the 1967 documentary On The Road With Duke Ellington directed by Robert Drew, Mr. Ellington talks about how his inspiration works.

Catch this whole documentary if you can, plenty of live performances and interview bits.

From Netflix: “One of the true masters of the jazz genre, Duke Ellington was an incredibly influential composer and performer, as well as a charming, engaging man. This compelling profile was filmed by Robert Drew in 1967, just 6 years before Ellington passed away. Drew’s camera follows Ellington through his days as he writes, performs and discusses his life and work. The stunning performance clips feature some of the legend’s most adored standards.”

Duke Ellington in Sweden

In this 1963 interview with Sven Lindahl for Swedish television channel SVT, the great composer discusses topics ranging from stage fright to the future of his music. In two parts on YouTube: