This is the first live album from the list I recently go through and I hope it will be the last one. (I hate concerts so I also hate live albums). It was recorded during the Newport Jazzfestival in 1956.
After the downfall of the swing era Ellington loses much of his musicians and this album marks his giant comeback granting him enough money for the rest of his life.
Instruments on the album are: Piano, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, tenorsax, altsax, baritonsax, bass and drums.
The first annoying thing I notice is the talking at the beginning. Over one minute must passed until I finally can here some music.
The album starts with Festival junction, which is very easy at the beginning but becomes more dynamic as it progresses.
Blues to be there is pretty lame and can not hold on to the first track.
Newport blues with it´s dramatic part in the middle and the furious final pleases me much more. If you are in danger of a heart attack or have to high blood pressure and don´t want to die to an adrenalin overdose skip this track, there are still 997 albums to go. If you are pregnant and want a calm child you should also skip this track.
The follow-up Jeep blues attach perfectly to the end of Newport blues even if it´s more chilled. Sadly it´s stay this way through almost the whole song wich makes the middlepart a bit boring. Only the very end is a bit more out of the way. After that you hear a minute how the audience clapp their hands.
Diminuendo and Crescendo Blues dashes right forward from the start. At 3:40 it changes a bit to become more rhythmaccented with the focus on the bassline but it surrender this direction very fast for more explositivity. At the 10 minute mark the music mixes with the hand-clapping of the audience and their whistles, which lowers the quality.
Centralized I have to say a good album with weak parts. It would be also better if it was a studio release. But it´s defenitly worth a listen.