Ellington at Newport

Artist: Duke Ellington

Year: 1956

Genre: Bebop

Grade: A

Ellington at Newport, a comeback album of sorts, is one of the most famous of all jazz LPs. Recorded on July 7, 1956, this is one of the most legendary performances in the genre’s history. The air was charged that night — who knows why — translated perfectly to record. When you listen, it’s like you are part of the crowd, losing yourself to the music on a night in Rhode Island over 60 years ago.

But the main draw — what it all comes down to in the end — is Paul Gonsalves’ epic tenor sax solo in the show-stopping “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue.”For seven minutes, he reaches a higher plane of existence that usually can only be attained when dying or on DMT. It is the greatest solo of all time, regardless of genre. You can hear the audience realize that they are a part of something special — the crowd was dancing in the aisles, practically on the verge of orgy, by the time Gonsalves was finished.

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