Duke Ellington – Ellington At Newport (1956)

Ellington at Newport is a 1956 live jazz album by Duke Ellington and his band of their 1956 concert at the Newport Jazz Festival, a concert which revitalized Ellington’s flagging career. Jazz promoter George Wein describes the 1956 concert as “the greatest performance of [Ellington’s] career… It stood for everything that jazz had been and could be.” Many big bands folded by the mid-1950s, but Ellington kept his band working, occasionally doing shows in ice-skating rinks to stay busy. The Duke Ellington Orchestra did European tours during the early 1950s, and Ellington was chiefly supporting the band himself through royalties earned on his popular compositions of the 1920s to the 1940s. At the time of the festival, the band did not even have a record deal.

Track Listing

Original 1956 LP: Ellington at Newport
Side A

“Festival Junction” – 10:08
“Blues to Be There” – 8:04
“Newport Up” – 5:33
Side B

“Jeep’s Blues” – 5:12
“Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue” – 14:56

Remastered 1999 CD: Ellington at Newport (Complete)

Disc one

“The Star Spangled Banner” – 1:10
Father Norman O’Connor Introduces Duke & the Orchestra / Duke Introduces Tune & Anderson, Jackson & Procope – 3:36
“Black and Tan Fantasy” – 6:21
Duke Introduces Cook & Tune – 0:26
“Tea for Two” – 3:34
Duke & Band Leave Stage / Father Norman Talks About The Festival – 2:30
“Take the ‘A’ Train” – 4:27
Duke Announces Strayhorn’s A Train & Nance / Duke Introduces Festival Suite, Part I & Hamilton – 0:41
“Part I – Festival Junction” – 8:10
Duke Announces Soloists; Introduces Part II – 0:38
“Part II – Blues to Be There” – 7:09
Duke Announces Nance & Procope; Introduces Part III – 0:19
“Part III – Newport Up” – 5:33
Duke Announces Hamilton, Gonsalves & Terry / Duke Introduces Carney & Tune – 0:25
“Sophisticated Lady” – 3:52
Duke Announces Grissom & Tune – 0:17
“Day In, Day Out” – 3:50
Duke Introduces Tune(s) and Paul Gonsalves Interludes – 0:23
“Diminuendo In Blue and Crescendo In Blue” – 14:20
Announcements, Pandemonium – 0:44
Pause Track – 0:06
Disc two

Duke Introduces Johnny Hodges – 0:18
“I Got It Bad (and That Ain’t Good)” – 3:38
“Jeep’s Blues” – 4:36
Duke Calms Crowd; Introduces Nance & Tune – 0:42
“Tulip or Turnip” – 2:49
Riot Prevention – 1:08
“Skin Deep” – 9:13
“Mood Indigo” – 1:30
Studio Concert (Excerpts) – 4:01
Father Norman O’Connor Introduces Duke Ellington / Duke Introduces New Work, Part I & Hamilton – 1:02
“Part I – Festival Junction” – 8:46
Duke Announces Soloists; Introduces Part II – 0:32
“Part II – Blues To Be There” – 7:48
Duke Announces Nance & Procope; Introduces Part III” – 0:16
“Part III – Newport Up” – 5:20
Duke Announces Hamilton, Gonsalves & Terry / Pause / Duke Introduces Johnny Hodges – 0:41
“I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)” – 3:47
“Jeep’s Blues” – 4:31
Pause Track – 0:06
Tracks 9-19 on CD2 were not part of the original performance.

Review: For anyone that likes Jazz, this album is a must have. The complete show is a 2+ hour education in how to play Jazz and Big Band. The version of “Take The A Train” they played was essentially perfect. When they played “Festival Junction”, it was brand new and didn’t even have a name yet. Additionally, the Tenor Sax Solos by Paul Gonsalves are some of the best you’ll ever hear

Schill Score: 9/10

Listen to The Album on Spotify

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