Live albums are always a tricky proposition because the band are playing for the there-and-then, responding to a crowd and atmosphere which is often easily missed on the subsequent CD. The artists are also abandoning all of the perfectionism and multiple takes that go into studio records, but on 'Ellington at Newport', the duke of piano jazz came into his own.
This recording of their iconic set at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956 was a comeback for Ellington following the rise of bebop. Indeed, the festival crowd at first don't seem interested but then Paul Gonsalves breaks into saxophone solo that lasts a whopping 27 choruses, causing pandemonium that would not subside even after festival organisers tried to end the show. Ellington would later claim that he was "born at Newport". Listen and discover why.
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