Backstory in Blue: Ellington at Newport '56
It may be that the song most baby boomers identify from July 1956 is a simple twelve-bar blues, hyped on national television by a twenty-one-year-old Elvis Presley and his handlers. But it is a very different song, with its elongated fourteen-bar choruses of rhythm and dissonance, played on the night of July 7, 1956, by a fifty-seven-year-old Duke Ellington and his big band that got everybody on their feet and moving as one. More than fifty years later, "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue," recorded at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, still makes a profound statement about postwar America-how we got there and where it all went. Backstory in Blue is a behind-the-scenes look at this epic moment in American cultural history. It is the story of who and what made Ellington's composition so compelling and how one piece of music reflected the feelings and shaped the sensibilities of the postwar generation. As John Fass Morton explains, it was music expressed as much by those who performed offstage as by those who performed on. Written from the point of view of the audience, this unique account draws on interviews with fans and music professionals of all kinds who were there and whose lives were touched, and in some cases changed, by the experience. Included are profiles of George Avakian, who recorded and produced Ellington at Newport 1956; Paul Gonsalves, the tenor sax player responsible for the legendary twenty-seven choruses that enabled the rebirth of Ellington's career; and the "Bedford Blonde," Elaine Anderson, whose dance ignited both the band and the crowd. Duke Ellington once remarked, "I was born at Newport." Here we learn that Newport was much more than the turning point for Ellington's career. It was the tipping point for a generation and a musical genre.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
African American album artists audience backstage bandleader beat Bedford began big band Bob Parent Boston broadcast Brubeck Cape Verdean Clark Terry classical Club Columbia Records concert Crescendo in Blue crowd dance dancer Diminuendo and Crescendo Don Hunstein drummer drums Duke Ellington Duke’s early Elaine Anderson Elaine Lorillard Elaine’s Ellington at Newport Ellington band fans ﬁeld ﬁfties ﬁlm ﬁnally ﬁnd ﬁnished ﬁrst ﬁve Freebody Park George Avakian George Wein Granz Harlem Hoefﬂer Institute of Jazz interview Jazz Studies Jimmy Jo Jones John Hammond Johnny Hodges Jones label later listeners Lorillard Louis Lorillard Michael James mike Monteiro moved musicians Newport 56 Newport Jazz Festival night onstage orchestra Paul Gonsalves performance photographer pianist piano played radio recalled reﬂected release returned rock and roll Sanders saxophonist solo soloist song stage star Strayhorn studio swing tape tenor tour trombonist trumpet wanted Woodyard wrote York young Zeitz