Monday, April 9, 2018

Duke Ellington, album #6

"Ellington at Newport 1956" is the album of tonight, though it really started last night. The version I'm listening to is a combination of various versions. It seems his performance at the Newport Jazz festival was recorded but the recordings were somehow damaged and so the album that was released was actually a re-recording done in the studio with canned applause added. There was a re-release that used the original tapes, a radio broadcast and the re-recordings to make as close a version to the real one as possible. And does it shine. I do NOT like jazz. Never have. But this record is hot, sexy, slow, passionate and tight all at the same time. Of all the records I've listened to so far, this one is the most varied, the most standing out of the bunch. All but the Louvin Brothers, Fats Domino and Elvis were supposedly washed up, has beens that thought their careers were over. These albums proved that wrong. I can't imagine having been at that festival in 1956. An amazing record. And it's teaching me something about jazz. Maybe I finally understand it to some degree. Well worth the listen.

EDIT: At the end of this amazing album. I will be utterly AMAZED if any of the other entries from the 1950s even come close to the heights this album hits. It doesn't break new ground, it's not the foundation of things to come, it isn't a breakout of new talent but dear gods, this album is truly amazing. Easily my favorite so far. Kind of sorry that I'm going back to Sinatra for the next one.

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