Paul Gonsalves Day

July 12, 1920 – May 15, 1974

Blow by Blow

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Tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves was born on July 12, 1920 in Brockton, Massachusetts.

Gonsalves’ interest in music began as a young child, when his Cape Verdean parents encouraged him to learn the African island’s folk music on guitar.

Gonsalves eventually played tenor sax with the big bands of Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, and Duke Ellington.

He is best known for his legendary 27-chorus solo on Ellington’s “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue,” which can be heard on the classic LP Ellington At Newport.

Gonsalves is credited for single handedly reviving Ellington’s career with his incredible performance at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, captured for the ages on the album “Ellington at Newport.”

Ellington would affectionately nickname Gonsalves “The Strolling Violins” for his habit of leaving the bandstand and walking through the crowd during his solos.

Paul Gonsalves died in London in May of 1974 just weeks prior to Duke Ellington.

The Duke Ellington Orchestra performs in 1962 featuring Paul Gonsalves.


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