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Project-#3

July 3, 2008

Album #3-Live: at Newport

Artist-Duke Ellington

Release:1956

I was a trumpet player for 8 years, an alto saxophone player for 4, and a piano player before that. Now, I’m not going to pretend that makes me a jazz expert, but It does give me a true appreciation for the magnitude of the skill and sheer talent that goes into a recording such as this. Frankly, some of those notes the trumpeters hit make my lips hurt to think about it. To put it simply, the Duke found the best of the best musicians for this album. I don’t really know what else to say. Everything was just as you would expect it to be-challenging songs, a tight band, and a clean, expressive performance. I’ve listened to some jazz artists who try too hard to impress, with lots of complicated runs and riffs, high, deafening notes, and squeals that make you just want to cover your ears and run away, who aren’t fun to listen to.  their Duke never makes this mistake, his music has a great balance of being impressive, but still enjoyable for even a casual listener.

Each song is upbeat and fun to listen to, or perhaps dance to. I think its happy music. Most of them one already knows–Sophisticated Lady and Mood Indigo are still universally recognized classics today. The only downside to this record is that some of the songs aren’t actually live performances…it seems like disc 2 are “faked” in a studio. Thats ok though, I don’t really care. Finally, a spoken introduction is interjected between each song. Thats slightly irritating, but overall not that big of a deal, as they are usually pretty short and easily ignored.

Is there any downside to a record like this? probably not. That is why classic albums are so hard to review critically. They’ve already established themselves as being the best of the best, and 99.9% of the time they don’t fail to live up to your highest expectations. Duke at Newport is one of those albums. If you love Jazz music (or even if you’re not sure if you like Jazz, but are interested in giving it a try) this record certainly belongs in your collection.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. dan permalink
    December 15, 2008 11:20 pm

    Duke was in a big slump before Newport, check out Ken Burn’s Jazz DVD set for the details…Duke says himself he was reborn at Newport…Duke is probably the greatest American songwriter of the 20th Century, most people can just understand his ‘hits”, the rest is pretty deep & obscure & takes more effort to listen to than the average person can expend…including myself !! the great Steely Dan covered one of his songs in tribute…

  2. Michael permalink
    January 27, 2010 8:01 pm

    My favorite song by him is Take the “A” Train. Billy Straygorn helped him write it

  3. Michael permalink
    January 27, 2010 8:02 pm

    sorry, Strayhorn

  4. May 28, 2010 12:26 pm

    lolz

  5. February 17, 2011 10:07 am

    Duke’s music made me wanna cry but he was a good man I love him for that he will always be in my heart.

  6. February 22, 2011 10:36 pm

    DUKE ELLINGTON IS A TRUMPET PLAYING HE WAS THE BEST TRMPET PLAYING I NO IN THE HALEM RESSIDENTS THATS MY COMMENT……….THATS ALL I GOT TO SAY………THATS SEE WHAT YOU HAVE TO REPLY ON…………. BYE BYE….LOL

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