Ellington at Newport – Duke Ellington (1956)

Album no. 6/1001

Duke Ellington was an old-school jazz dude. He was playing professionally as early as 1917, which seems pretty insane.

This album is said to have revitalised his career, which is a pretty cool thing to happen when you’ve been playing for 39 years. Surely he’d be ready to wind things down a bit? Not Duke. He’s just getting started.

Have you listened to this album before?

CL: No I haven’t. And when I saw that the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ was the FIRST SONG, I was not looking forward to this listening experience. In my opinion, very little can be done to improve that song.

NK: Sure haven’t! Also I don’t think I heard ‘Star Spangled Banner’ on this anywhere? Have we listened to different albums?

Standout track?

CL: Can I include the MC’s interludes? No? Ok then, I suppose it’d have to be……..nope. Can’t do it.

NK: To be totally honest, I don’t really know where each song starts and finishes, and I certainly don’t remember what they were called. I actually don’t mind this, but the songs are pretty long. There are a lot of solos, which can sort of lose their impact after a while. There’s a bit maybe 20 minutes in (?) where the sax and trumpet are properly jamming out together. Near the end of a song. I liked that a lot.

When would be the best time to listen to this ?

CL: Probably when you want to pretend you’re at a jazz concert. When they say live, they mean live. I’d say about half of this album is filled with the MC shooting his mouth off. He spends a solid 5 minutes introducing each member of the band. So if you’re feeling particularly lonely one Saturday night, put this on and just pretend you’re there.  

NK: I didn’t get any of that! I reckon we listened to different albums! What a couple of pelicans. Stick this on when you’re cooking dinner. Have a glass of wine and chop some onions. Ideal.

Why has this album been included on the list?

CL: There are some pretty wicked sounds coming out of those trumpets. That must’ve been pretty new and fandangled back then – it certainly sounds pretty contemporary.

NK: OK so I know approximately fuck all about jazz, but what I can’t get over is the energy and loudness of the jazz records so far compared to all the others. Admittedly they’ve both been live, but the energy still makes everything else seem like it’s just going through the motions. I can see why people would get out to the jazz clubs for a dance, for sure.

Will you be listening again?

CL: I don’t really like concert albums much – so already that turned me off a bit. I also have to be completely honest, I may have fallen asleep while listening to this album, and not in a good way. I woke up startled a while later with a squealing trumpet in my ear. Not great. Too long. Too jazzy.

NK: Yeah I will I reckon. It’s pretty jamming. The horns are really good, and the energy is so high. What’s not to like? Also we should talk about this at some point because I reckon we’ve heard different things.

CL: Typical.

Rating

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Out of context youtube comment

06 - Ellington at Newport 1956

Listen to Ellington at Newport on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.  

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