Duke Ellington – Ellington At Newport (1956)

Duke Ellington’s “Ellington at Newport” is a landmark live album that captures the essence of one of the greatest jazz bandleaders of all time in his element. Recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956, the album showcases Ellington’s masterful arrangements, brilliant musicianship, and dynamic stage presence. Here is a track listing and review of the album:

Festival Junction: This opening track sets the tone for the entire album, with its explosive energy and dynamic interplay between the members of the band. Ellington’s piano playing is particularly impressive, and the arrangement features some incredible solo work from saxophonist Paul Gonsalves.

Blues To Be There: This bluesy number is a perfect showcase for Ellington’s distinctive piano playing, as well as the virtuoso talents of trumpeter Cat Anderson.

Newport Up: This uptempo tune features some playful interplay between the members of the band, as well as some impressive solos from saxophonists Johnny Hodges and Harry Carney.

Jeep’s Blues: One of Ellington’s signature tunes, this bluesy number features some of the most inspired solo work on the entire album, particularly from saxophonist Paul Gonsalves.

Diminuendo In Blue and Crescendo In Blue: The highlight of the album, this epic 27-minute performance builds gradually from a quiet, subdued beginning to an explosive finale that nearly brought down the house at the Newport Jazz Festival. Gonsalves’ extended solo is particularly impressive, and the band’s interplay is nothing short of electrifying.

The Tattooed Bride: This upbeat tune features some of the album’s most playful interplay between the members of the band, as well as some impressive solo work from Ellington himself.

Newport Jazz Festival Suite: This three-part suite features some of Ellington’s most adventurous and innovative arrangements, showcasing the full range of his talents as a composer and bandleader.

Overall, “Ellington at Newport” is a must-have album for any jazz fan, showcasing Duke Ellington and his orchestra at the peak of their powers. The album captures the energy and excitement of a live performance, while also showcasing the band’s incredible musicianship and Ellington’s masterful arrangements. The standout moments of the album are undoubtedly the explosive performances of “Diminuendo In Blue and Crescendo In Blue,” which remains one of the most thrilling live performances in jazz history.


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