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Posted by on Aug 13, 2018 in Blog, Essays, Music and Concert Reviews | 1 comment

100 Essential Albums: #95 — Ellington at Newport by Duke Ellington (1956)



It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

— Duke Ellington


When Duke Ellington took the stage at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, he was viewed as a nostalgia act.  His music was considered outdated.  Big bands, so popular during the 1920’s and 1930’s, seemed to be a thing of the past.  Ellington didn’t even have a recording contract at the time.  More than a decade removed since his last commercially successful hit, Ellington and his struggling orchestra were at such a low point, they regularly played at ice skating rinks to pay the bills.  Ellington was 57-years-old.  His career was going nowhere.

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