Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Listen Or Die? #6 - Ellington At Newport 1956...

Listen Or Die? Our weekly examination of the albums listed in the book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Must you hear them? We'll be the judge of that...

by Duke Ellington (1956)
Running Time: 44:00

1. Festival Junction
2. Blues to Be There
3. Newport Up
4. Jeep's Blues
5. Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue

Who's ready to hear some 50s jazz?! Anyone? How you answer that question will go a long way in determining your own reasoning for giving Duke Ellington's Ellington At Newport 1956 a listen. We could talk and talk about how talented Ellington's merry band of instrumentalists is, but the only way you're going to get through over forty minutes of uninterrupted jazz music is if you're a genuine fan of the genre.

Out of the five original album tracks, only the closing number 'Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue' left a lasting impression. It powers along, building to a 'get up offa that thing' conclusion; saxophonist Paul Gonsalves stealing the show with a solo that just keeps on going, never losing steam. An album can't rest on the laurels of one song though and everything else on Ellington At Newport 1956 is ultimately forgettable to this non-jazz aficionado.


Like I said towards the start, there's no denying how talented the performers are, but strict jazz - no singers, no words, extensive and exhausting solos - it's a niche market these days. In the 50s it was all the rage, but it isn't the 50s anymore (can I get a "hell yeah?"). If you're a fan of jazz, you'll love this. If, like me, your dabbles into instrumental albums tend to sound a little something like Pirates of The Caribbean soundtracks, you're going to live a happy life and DIE without ever needing to hear Mr Ellington's opus.

The tally...

DIE - 4  

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