Yale University Library


OHAM: John Gensel on Ellington


John Gensel

With: Jeremy Orgel and Valerie Archer

New York, New York

December 14, 1979; January 10, 1980


Side A:                                                                                                            p. 2-16

[with Jeremy Orgel at New York City December 14, 1979]

Becoming involved with Jazz--Jazz in the church--first meeting Duke Ellington--Ellington’s spiritual feeling and his Sacred Concerts--First Sacred Concert--daughter’s poem as part of First Sacred Concert--Second Sacred Concert--preparations for Sacred Concerts--Alice Babs--religious inclinations of band members and bearing on the Sacred Concerts--Paul Gonsalves preaching at the Jazz Vespers--Third Sacred Concert at Westminster Abbey--Max Roach--Mary Lou Williams--Duke’s influence on many musicians--Billy Strayhorn--setting up Sacred Concerts in many areas--Ellington’s way of composing--Ruth Ellington and Tempo music--anecdotes and impressions of Ellington--Ellington’s artistic abilities and acceptance at Pratt--more anecdotes--Mercer Ellington.

Side B:                                                                                                           p. 16-27

Ellington’s Sacred Concerts, theology, religious leaders--John Coltrane--other musicians--works composed for the Jazz Vespers--compositions and the way band leaders and band members work together--philosophy--Mahalia Jackson--Ellington’s lack of political involvement--Ellington helping the Black movement--White House and Freedom Medal--Ellington’s feelings about direction of jazz--Ellington’s approach to music--Duke’s funeral--Duke in the hospital--anecdotes about Ellington.

Side C:                                                                                                           p. 28-39

[with Valerie Archer in New York City on Jan. 10, 19801

Becoming interested in jazz--involvement with jazz musicians--serving the jazz community--meeting Ruth Ellington and Duke--Sacred Concerts--talks about Duke--Second Sacred Concert--Duke’s religious ties--lack of political ties--White House 70th birthday party--Sacred Concerts--Duke hospitalized--Duke’s passing--continued celebration of Duke’s birthday.