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Norwegian Plans to Post All Ellingtonia on the Net

Fradley Garner By

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Its a huge project that will take the rest of my life. —Arne Neegaard
OSLO: Do you have any information about Duke Ellington? Any concert programs, posters, clippings, memorabilia, photos, private recordings? An ambitious Norwegian jazz researcher is burning to get hold of such items—as scanned images or sound files. No need to part with the originals.

Arne Neegaard has set himself a formidable goal: posting the details of every recording Ellington ever made, every gig and tour and jam session he ever took part in—there were many thousands of these—on the Net for everyone's benefit. "It's a huge project, a labor of love that will take me the rest of my life and be handed on to others, Neegaard said. "But it's worth it, who could deny that?

Neegaard, a retired businessman, also disclosed that he has bought the license from NRK TV, the Norwegian worldwide radio and television network, to release the last Duke Ellington Orchestra concert, held in Oslo in 1971, on DVD. "I am awaiting the final go from the copyright owner, CMG Worldwide, he said. The video recording would be offered for general sale with proceeds, after costs are met, to support the online project.

"So far it has entailed a $7,000 investment, he said. "I need to sell 200 copies to break even. But hell! I'll make it back somehow. Neegaard said he would try to have the DVD, which would include some Ellington radio interviews, ready for the 20th International Duke Ellington Conference in London, May 22-26, 2008.

The jazz historian will build his Web site on his and other researchers' work, particularly the information available in four "very expensive publications: W. E. Timner, Ellingtonia: The Recorded Music of Duke Ellington and His Sidemen, 5th Edition; Luciano Massaglio and Giovanni Volonte, The New Desor: Duke Ellington Story on Records, a two-volume discography of more than 1,600 pages; Kurt Vail, Duke's Diary, a two-volume collage of newspaper articles, posters and photographs accompanying a narrative diary text; and Klaus Stratemann, Duke Ellington, Day by Day and Film by Film (786 pp.).

Neegaard is a contributor to the Duke Ellington Music Society's DEMS Bulletin. He has been credited for his findings in several recent books and articles. Readers are invited to contact him at neegaar@online.no (the "d at the end of his name is omitted).


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