Duke Ellington – Ellington At Newport 1956!

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© Charlotte Emily Murray

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This post is the eleventh post of my new series based on the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery.

In this series, I’m going to be looking through the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and commenting on the albums featured, telling you about albums I think should have been featured, artists that should have been featured too and just anything else I feel like commenting on!

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Image © Charlotte Emily Murray

This isn’t a sponsored series but if you’d like to read the book with me I’ll put a link at the bottom of this post to where you can buy it. This series is just something I wanted to do because I’d been reading the book and found that I had a lot of opinions!

Every Tuesday and Thursday I’m going to take one album from the front of the book starting in 1950s and one album from the back of the book starting in 2000’s, I’ll give you a bit of the albums history, the track list and of course my thoughts on the album!

In this post, we’re going to be talking about Duke Ellington – Ellington At Newport 1956!

As this album is available on Spotify I’ll put a player below this paragraph so that if you’d like to listen along whilst you read the rest of this post you can!

I do have this album in my collection but despite the albums popularity I don’t think it’s my favourite Duke Ellington album!

Ellington At Newport 1956 was released in 1956 on Columbia, the run time is 44:00 it was produced by George Avakian and the art director is uncredited!

Duke Ellington was a composer, pianist and bandleader of a Jazz Orchestra which he fronted from 1923 throughout his career which spanned for 50 years right up until his death in 1974!

 This album was responsible for reviving Duke Ellington’s career, it wasn’t his fault though that his career needed reviving, swing bands had just mostly gone out of fashion by 1956.

On July 7th 1956 at The Newport Jazz Festival Duke Ellington played what was arguably the best show of his career, the show was so good that Columbia jumped all over it and wanted to rush it out as a record.

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Image Source: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ellington-At-Newport-1956-COMPLETE/dp/B00000IMYA

However, the actual concert recording was severely flawed and so it couldn’t be used, not wanting to miss out on the chance to make money though record execs sent Ellington into a studio to re-record the set immediately and so the album Ellington At Newport was in fact, not live at Newport at all, it was a combination of studio sessions, canned applause and live recordings from other events!

In 1999 the album was reissued and the record was finally set straight, on the 1999 reissue there is of course the version I’ve just talked about but there was also thanks to some incredibly talented people, a talented piece of post-production work using the original masters and a long-lost radio recording of the actual Ellington At Newport concert!

As the book has featured the 1956 version and not the 1999 version here is the original track list only.

Track One: Festival Junction

Track Two: Blues To Be There

Track Three: Newport Up

Track Four: Jeep’s Blues

Track Five: Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue

I don’t know about you, but I’m personally a little confused about how an album that was supposed to be of a recording of one of the best live shows of someone’s career but was in fact studio sessions, canned applause and other live events that person had played can go on to revive a career but from the research that I’ve done it seems that really is exactly what happened with this album!

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I guess the question I have to answer now is whether or not I think this album deserves its place on the list of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die…

My answer is No, I don’t think it does, sure it revived Ellington’s career and it is a great album although as I said above it’s not my favourite album of his I just think that you can go through life without hearing an album with a false title and canned applause and do just fine!

That’s it for this post from my new series based on the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die! As I said at the beginning of this post this isn’t in anyway a sponsored series but if you’d like to buy the book so you can read along with me then click here for the link to purchase from Waterstones if you live in the UK and click here for the Amazon link if you’re in the rest of the world.

Those aren’t affiliate links; I just want to make sure you guys know where to buy the book if you want to read along too!

If you’d like to read other posts from this series then please click here to be redirected to the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die section of my blog.

Here is the audio version of this post on SoundCloud.

If you have enjoyed this post then don’t forget that you can find others like it by using the tags at the bottom of this post!

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Stick ‘n’ Step, The Alzheimer’s Society or Save The Children 

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Take care,

Charlotte xo

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