Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue – 1956

Duke Ellington

Ellington’s historic performance is matched by footage from the era

Click here to Support Jazz on the Tube

It was one of the most famous live performances in jazz history.

At the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, Duke Ellington (who had struggled a bit a few years earlier to keep his band together despite still making great music) made international headlines with his orchestra’s performance of “Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue.”

“Diminuendo In Blue” and “Crescendo In Blue” were originally recorded by Ellington in 1937 but were rather obscure when he decided to perform them at Newport, joined together by a 27-chorus tenor solo by Paul Gonsalves.

The performance, which was topped off by Cat Anderson’s screaming trumpet, drove the crowd wild and made it certain that Ellington would be able to lead and tour worldwide with his big band during his remaining 18 years.

The Newport concert was recorded but was not filmed; however Ron Murvihill expertly pieced together footage from other Ellington concerts of the period and put together this impressive video.

The music is from the historic Newport concert and, even though the footage is taken from other occasions, most of the time it fits perfectly, adding to the excitement of the performance.

See for yourself.

-Scott Yanow


Click here to Support Jazz on the Tube