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Django in Canada, November 1946

Keith MurchKeith Murch Ontario Canada and Naples Florida✭✭ Dupont MD50 and several archtops
edited August 2011 in History Posts: 49
I was thrilled to find a great deal of information recently on http://www.paulvernonchester.com regarding Django's North American tour with Duke Ellington in 1946. 

I live on the edge of Kitchener Ontario (Canada), which was one of the two Canadian cities in which Duke Ellington's orchestra performed during that tour. The Kitchener date was at the Auditorium Gardens on Queen Street East on November 5, 1946. The show (dance) went from 9:00 - 1:00 and tickets were $1.25. Kitchener is about 100 km from Toronto, which was where the second Canadian performance took place, the next day, before the band returned to the USA. 

I found it very interesting to read the quote on Paul's website from a Toronto jazz enthusiast, George Foley, who said he saw Django perform with the Duke Ellington Orchestra at the old Mutual Street Arena in Toronto on November 6,1946. That is not consistent with what I have always understood, so I decided to do some more research. In 1966, my father wrote a letter to Patrick Scott, who was the City Editor of the Toronto newspaper, the Globe and Mail, to ask Mr. Scott if he saw Django when the band came to Toronto. Mr. Scott, who was at the same concert as Mr. Foley, wrote back to my father and said that he stood right next to Django and watched the Ellington Band play, but Django didn't perform due to "some union red tape". I have a copy of that letter. Until now, I never realized the other date was right here in my home town, so I have spent a few hours in the local libraries trying to find out more about both dates. I have found the advertisements for both of the Canadian concerts as well as reviews of both concerts in the old archives from two newspapers. Unfortunately, Django wasn't mentioned in either the ads or the reviews.

I have always assumed that Django didn't perform in Toronto, based on the letter my father gave me. Mr. Foley's account makes me wonder what really took place, but I have to think that Patrick Scott would have been correct, because he was a journalist and was very clear in his account of the events in his letter, which was written only 20 years after the concert. I wish I could find out more about Django's stop here in Kitchener, but I haven't been able to come up with any more than these ads and newspaper articles, which provided no information about Django. I will keep on searching. 

If anyone has any additional information about Django's short visit to Canada, I would love to hear about it. 

Keith Murch

Comments

  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 743
    Hi!

    Very interesting infos on that famous Django tour with Ellington, thanks for that!

    I think that both informations can be true: Django only played in Ellington concerts but not when Duke was playing for dance events. Dregni in his book on Django indicates that the band played for dance at Toronto's Mutual Street Arena. So the canadian concert should have been Django's second concert with Ellington after Cleveland.

    There is the same situation (concert one day and dance the other day) in that tour when Django played at Pla-Mor.

    Can you send here the documents on Ellington concerts you have found?

    Best
  • Keith MurchKeith Murch Ontario Canada and Naples Florida✭✭ Dupont MD50 and several archtops
    Posts: 49
    I have attached a copy of the letter that my father received in 1966 from Patrick Scott (City Editor for the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper) regarding the November 6 1946 Duke Ellington Orchestra date in Toronto. Mr. Scott said he was at the concert, which took place at the Mutual Street Arena. He said he stood next to Django, but Django didn't perform due to some "union red tape".
    Keith Murch
  • Keith MurchKeith Murch Ontario Canada and Naples Florida✭✭ Dupont MD50 and several archtops
    Posts: 49
    Attached are a couple of scans related to the Duke Ellington Orchestra date in Kitchener, Ontario, CANADA on November 5, 1946. One is the advertisement that appeared in the Kitchener Daily Record prior to the concert, and the other is the review of the concert that appeared the next day. Unfortunately, Django wasn't mentioned in either. A friend of mine, who works at the local Musician's Union office, is going to look through their archives to see if he can find any more information for me, such as the contract, etc.
    Keith Murch
  • Keith MurchKeith Murch Ontario Canada and Naples Florida✭✭ Dupont MD50 and several archtops
    Posts: 49
    Attached, are two more files related to the Duke Ellington date in Toronto on November 6, 1946. They were both taken from the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper archives. One is the advertisement for the show and the other is a review that appeared afterwards. The quality of the review document is not very good, but you can make out what was said. Unfortunately, Django wasn't mentioned in either the ad or the review. Although some people claim that Django did perform that night in Toronto, I have letter my father received from Globe and Mail City Editor (Patrick Scott) in 1966, where Mr. Scott said that Django didn't perform that night. I posted that letter to this forum.
    Keith Murch
  • Keith MurchKeith Murch Ontario Canada and Naples Florida✭✭ Dupont MD50 and several archtops
    Posts: 49
    I forgot to mention in my previous posts that tickets for the November 5, 1946 Duke Ellington Orchestra concert/dance (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada) were only $1.25!
    Keith Murch
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 743
    Hi Keith!


    Many thanks for those very interesting documents. In fact according to them it really seems that Django didn't played in those concerts!

    Best

    Marc
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