Latest News & Developments

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Developments in the world of Florence Mills lore may not happen at the frenetic pace of the modern media but there are plenty of things happening from time to time so I hope to update this page regularly.
The previous editions of news can be seen still at Archive No. 1No. 2 , No.3 , No.4 , No.5 , No.6 , No.7No.8 , NO.9No.10No.11No.12 , No.13 

Fans of Florence Mills and Duke Ellington will be aware of the great mystery surrounding finding clear proof that Duke did have Florence in mind when in 1928, shortly after her death,  he wrote Black Beauty, and later titled it " A Portrait of Florence Mills." In my book I presented the powerful circumstantial evidence that I believe convincingly supports this view.

At the recent Duke Ellington Conference held at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, noted musicologist 


Marcello Piras
 presented a remarkable session, titled "Black Beauty, or: How to Paint a Portrait in Sound" in which he used the technique of Motivic Analysis to demonstrate that the composition itself contained powerful evidence that it was related to Florence Mills' own songs and performances.  This is probably as close as we are ever going to get to producing documentary evidence of the connection. Marcello's presentation was enthusiastically applauded by the learned audience at the Conference.

Another highlight of the conference for many was the brilliant performance of Ellington's composition "Black, Brown and Beige Suite" by David Berger and a group of talented Amsterdam Conservatory music students, with only four days rehearsal. 

A personal highlight for me was getting to meet Duke Ellington's grand-daughetr , Mercedes Ellington, and his nephew Stephen James - here I am, with these members of Ellington royalty (note Florence Mills peeping out from myjacket)


  That's all for now, folks

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