July 7, 1956. That’s a date that is important in the world of jazz. That’s the date of Duke Ellington and his orchestra’s performance at Newport Jazz Festival. It’s a date that brought Ellington back to the forefront of the jazz world…not that he ever really left, but his star was not shining as brightly around that time as the jazz tastemakers had moved on to more of the post-bop sounds by then and the big band scene was starting to falter a little more.
So what made this show so famous? Well, it was because of one solo by one man, tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves. He tore the place down with a strong urging from the Duke himself. The crowd went wild.
HOWEVER! It’s not just that moment that should be remembered. Listen to the solos on Black and Tan Fantasy, Johnny Hodges on I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good), and so many other stellar moments.
So this week we celebrate a moment in the history of jazz with none other than Duke Ellington. It’s only fitting that we start with this album and this jazz giant as Duke is a personal favorite of both Rich and Matthew.
Enjoy and stay tuned for more!