DIMINUENDO & CRESCENDO IN BLUE 1937, 1946, 1953, 1956 & 1958 — The Genesis of a Dukish Masterpiece

– Yesterday’s post has inspired me to do what I have planned a long time ago:Gotting-TheCompleteDE-Vol09CBS88210

All significant versions of “Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue” compiled in one post, and in chronological order (for the rest, see yesterday’s updated post).

We start the bluesy proceedings with parts #1 & #2, the initial studio recording for ARC-Brunswick, from September 20, 1937 with Arthur Whetsol, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart, Freddie Jenkins (tp) Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol (tb) Barney Bigard (cl, ts) Johnny Hodges (ss, as) Otto Hardwicke (cl, as) Harry Carney (cl, as, bar) Duke Ellington (p) Fred Guy (g) Billy Taylor (b) Sonny Greer (d, ch):

“Diminuendo In Blue”.

The soloists are Cootie Williams, Harry Carney & Barney Bigard. — Duke’s piano and Billy Taylor’s bass play an interlude before you had to turn the disc around for the 2nd part of the piece:

“Crescendo In Blue”.

DE4645a-DiminuendoInBlue-Musicraft511(5765)The next version is incomplete, ’cause there was only time for the “Diminuendo” part at the Musicraft recording session on October 23, 1946, featuring the following line-up:

Shelton Hemphill, Taft Jordan, Francis Williams, Harold Baker (tp) Ray Nance (tp, vl, voc) Lawrence Brown, Wilbur De Paris, Claude Jones (tb) Jimmy Hamilton (cl, ts) Russell Procope (cl, as) Johnny Hodges (as) Al Sears (ts) Harry Carney (cl, as, bar) Duke Ellington (p) Fred Guy (g) Oscar Pettiford (b) Sonny Greer (d, ch).

The two parts of the blues have found their ways in Ellington concerts and dance dates on numerous occasions; and from 1945 on, eitherKayDavis_DukeEllington_1948 “Rocks In My Bed”, “Carnegie Blues”, “I Got It Bad”, or, before Paul Gonsalves took charge, Duke’s impressionistic “Transblucency” with Kay Davis’ siren soprano served as interludes between the two parts.

Duke+Ellington+-+The+1953+Pasadena+Concert+-+LP+RECORD-590387The very first version with Paul’s “wailing interval” can be heard in yesterday’s post where he played already 23 chorusses (Birdland, NYC, June 30, 1951).

At this next complete rendition of “Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue” he certainly wasn’t in the mood for more than the seven, though quite hot-blooded chorusses he delivered here:

Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, CA, March 30, 1953, featuring Willie Cook, Cat Anderson, Clark Terry (tp) Ray Nance (tp, vl,voc) Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson,Juan Tizol (tb) Jimmy Hamilton (cl,ts) Russell Procope (cl, ss, as) Rick Henderson (as) Paul Gonsalves (ts) Harry Carney (cl, as, bar) Duke Ellington (p) Wendell Marshall (b) Butch Ballard (d) Jimmy Grissom (voc).

The above rhythm section obviously wasn’t tight enough for Señor Gonsalves’ most famous, though not longest ride of 27 chorusses at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 7, 1956:

“Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue”.

With the incomparable, indestructible, relentless beat of the mighty Sam Woodyard behind him, Paul could fly as far, and as long as he wanted.


The very last ‘live’ version of “Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue”, presented here, stems from the concert at the Théâtre de l’Alhambra, Paris, on October 28, 1958.at-the-alhambra-paris-1958

Clark Terry, Harold “Shorty” Baker, Cat Anderson (tp) Ray Nance (tp, vn) Quentin Jackson, Britt Woodman, John Sanders (tb) Jimmy Hamilton (cl, ts) Russell Procope (cl, as) Johnny Hodges (as) Paul Gonsalves (ts) Harry Carney (cl, bar, b-cl) Duke Ellington (p) Jimmy Woode (b) Sam Woodyard (d).

I think, those 20 chorusses provide a worthy last chord to this never ending theme of jazz:

The eternal blues à la Duke :)

Posted in All American Rhythm Section, Blues, Duke Ellington, It's been a ball!, Jazz History Lecture, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Madness, Paul Gonsalves, Saxophone | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Update of an ancient post: DANCIN’ through APRIL with “MY” MAN PAUL GONSALVES and 3 X’s “DIMINUENDO & CRESCENDO IN BLUE”

DukeEllington_concert-and-broadcast-recordings-vol-2Thanks, Doug, for reminding us on International Jazz Day. For me, every day is a Jazz Day.

Let’s celebrate it anyway, with Paul Gonsalves, featured in his very special showcase and 35 chorusses + a splendid coda on Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue (linked with my vintage article on that piece):


– Here he goes with 24 splendid chorusses on the blues:

– For the completists, here’s the older article about another, not so famous rendition of “Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue”:

For celebrating this very date, and the really sensational recording, here is a short excerpt from an e-mail I have sent to one of my best friends who is rather an expert for Miles Davis, Charlie Parker & Co.:

I got a quite decent Duke Ellington LP on another, similar bootleg label, with an early full length version of Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue, with Paul Gonsalves, doing his famous ride —> almost 13 minutes, and already then, at Birdland, on June 30, 1951, 26 chorusses on the Blues in D flat:

DIMINUENDO AND CRESCENDO IN BLUE — Another story is the partly fake-sound on the famous Columbia LP Ellington At Newport.

It’s funny how often the Duke changes keys during that very number –

– First in E flat, then going over G & C, and a short F minor passage to D flat, remaining rooted there for the 26 chorusses, then a short piano trio interlude from G flat to E major, which is eventually going back to E flat for the 2nd part, and stays there up to the end with Cat Anderson’s screaming high notes.

– The “best” is: The whole LP runs a half-tone too fast, as usual with those bootlegs. — No problem for me, since I can turn a little screw.

– Here it is:

‘Live’ at Birdland, on June 30, 1951.

You may find pleasure in reading this little excerpt from Wikipedia, just in case you are too lazy to go there directly. — It’s such a nice passage that I’m including it here:

Strikingly, though, at Birdland Gonsalves drifts a whole bar ahead during the fourth chorus of his solo in which he attempts a complicated syncopated patter over the first six bars but loses four beats in the process.

It seemingly takes another eight or nine whole choruses before the listener can really be sure that both Duke Ellington and bassist Wendell Marshall having adjusted to regain synch with Gonsalves, who just storms on regardless, in his own world.

Despite this, it could be argued that the solo Gonsalves played at Birdland was considerably more invigorating and both melodically and harmonically inventive than the more famous 1956 Newport Jazz Festival rendition.

The Duke, cheering Paul


Nelson Williams, Cat Anderson, Harold Baker (tp) Ray Nance (tp, vl, v) Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson, Juan Tizol (tb) Jimmy Hamilton (cl, ts) Russell Procope (cl, as) Willie Smith (as) Paul Gonsalves (ts) Harry Carney (cl, as, bar) Duke Ellington (p) Wendell Marshall (b) Louis Bellson (d)

Blog owner’s note: Even Dukes can be wrong, since Ellington misdates his own composition as being written in 1939. — Some of Paul’s repetitive, very modern sounding phrases remind me strongly on Trane who did similar things at “All Blues” when he was concerting with Miles in Sweden, in March 1960. — The encouraging shouts, and the hand clapping are coming from the Duke.

Blog owner’s recommendation: Click on the cover to enlarge the liners.

Posted in All American Rhythm Section, Anniversary, Blogging is swell!, Blues, Dedication, Duke Ellington, It's been a ball!, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Madness, May, Paul Gonsalves | Tagged , , , , , ,


romance-on-high-seas9You can be sure, dear swingin’ Lady:

We all love you, and you will be remembered forever as one of the greatest chanteuses of the 20th Century.

You may not be aware of it, but your vocal artistry inspired us jazz musicians quite a bit (“see” the two videos on the bottom).

Thanks for the beautiful music, and…

Happy 90th Anniversary, Doris!

Here’s a very special radio program, featuring your most famous melody which warmed the weary hearts and souls of so many folks in 1944 & 1945:

Sentimental Journey.

But before the program begins, let us listen to one of your greatest ballad interpretations ever: I Remember You with Paul Weston, from your lovely album “Day By Day” (1956).


Blog owner’s note: All tracks have been transferred from the pictured vinyl albums.



Something Sentimental For Doris Day – Happy 90th Anniversary!


1 – Sentimental Journey (Doris Day, voc) with Les Brown & His Band Of Renown, ‘Live’ from New York, October 2, 1944.Doris+Day+-+One+Night+Stand+With+Doris+Day+-+LP+RECORD-560494

2 – Introduction & Sketch with Paulette Goddard & Tommy Dorsey into Sentimental Journey (The Sentimentalists, voc) – Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra, ‘Live’ from Hollywood, California, June 24, 1945.


3 – Introduction
4 – Sentimental Journey (Patti Powers, voc) accompanied by Georgie Auld & His Orchestra, ‘Live’ from the Trianon Ballroom, South Gate, California, late July, early August 1945.georgie_auld_and_his_orchestra-jump._georgie._jump




5 – Sentimental Journey (Willie Smith, as) – Harry James & His Music Makers, Corky Corcoran (ts) Alan Reuss (g) & Harry James (tp) – Recorded off the air ’round 1945.

R-1566174-12288908866 – Sentimental Journey (Laurie Johnson, voc) – Les Brown & His Band Of Renown, Recording session for Capitol, January 1, 1959.


Last, but not least, as an extra, another rendition of “Sentimental Journey”, sung by Roberta James, accompanied by Boyd Raeburn’s super-hep Orchestra, coming ‘live’ from the Blue Room, Palace Hotel, San Francisco on July 11, 1945.

Note: The track starts unfortunately in the middle of the vocal ;)

Sentimental Journeyboyd_raeburn_rare_1944-6




Still not sentimental? — Here’s one more: Sentimental Journey (The Pied Pipers, voc), June Hutton, Hal Hopper, Chuck Lowry & Clark Jokum with Skip Martin & His Orchestra, Hollywood, mid-1946.


MerryMacsNow, for a change, a faster rendition, also delivered by a splendid vocal group, shifting keys several times:

The Merry Macs (1945).

Oh yes, that’s what I was looking for! — A great jazz trumpeter, performing “Sentimental Journey”:R-3628519-1337992343-5032

Buck Clayton, Joe Newman (tp) Urbie Green, Benny Powell (tb) Lem Davis (as) Julian Dash (ts) Charles Fowlkes (bar) Sir Charles Thompson (p) Freddie Green (g) Walter Page (b) Jo Jones (d) – NYC December 14, 1953.


– As a P.S. one of your lesser known songs, transferred by yours truly from the opening credits to the highly dramatic psycho thriller “Julie” (1956):

Julie (Doris Day, voc) – 1956 – Words & music are by Tom Adair and Leith Stevens.


2nd P.S. — “It’s Magic“:

Posted in April, Big Band Vocalist, Birthday Party, Blogging is swell!, D-Day, Dedication, Doris Day, Film Noir, Harry James, It's been a ball!, Portrait, Spoken Word, Swing Era, World War II | Tagged , , , , , ,


Brew-Orleans-Jelly-Roll-Mortons-home-1443-Frenchmen-StreetIt was 11 years ago when I spent some time in New Orleans. There I met this very old negro (he insisted in being called a “negro”), Mr. Georges de Saint-James, 95 years, a man who was there when Storyville was shut down in 1917.

Georges told me a lovely story about his aunt, Miss Nevilla LaBlanc – ah, those beautiful creole names! – who played hide-and-seek once, with her little sister Lou Lou Belle in the attic of George’s grandpa, where they found an old dusty box, containing an Edison cylinder with an almost unreadable name & a date engraved: “Bud Bolton Blues” – New Orleans, April 1, 1894.


Georges’s aunt had no use for it, and she also didn’t know what this weird artifact was, and so, short before Nevilla died, she gave the cylinder to her nephew who proudly presented it to me when I met him accidentally in front of Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton’s house (pictured above).


We had no adequate machine to play it, but I knew immediately: This was almost unbelievable.

Anyway, we finally had proof for how Buddy Bolden really sounded, once and for all. The legend came to life.

After some heartily laughs, and funny boarding house stories by Georges, among them the tale how he beat “Jelly Roll” in a marathon game of pool, I advised the old man to donate the cylinder to the New Orleans Jazz Museum, together with my e-mail address, because I wanted to be the first German jazz man to hear the true sound of Buddy Bolden.

And here it is, quite hissy, and almost inaudible, but Buddy’s brassy voice from the past will come through loud and clear, the more often you play the track.

The scholars from the Jazz Museum did their digitally best to filter out the horn’s bluesy blasts, and they succeeded. — Thanks a load for the splendid effort, mates!

Buddy Bolden Blues In G, cornet solo for T.A. Edison, New Orleans, 1894.


Posted in Dedication, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Portrait, Trumpet | Tagged , , , ,

Since (almost!) absolutely nothing will change, a re-re-repost: FOR SOME REASON MOSTLY ALL BUT *NOT* IN THE KEY OF ‘C’ a.k.a COLOGNE CARNIVAL 2014

Oh yeah! — That’s all (as last year!) still very, very, I mean: Absolutely kinda like super-duuper-funny.

It’s actually just laughably-ridiculously deeelightful. …LOLL.

And so: Enjoy once again!

Carnivalesque Blues & Jazz Men

1. While We Danced At The Mardi GrasDick Robertson & His Orchestra (1937)
2. Carnival In CarolineJerry Kruger with Cootie Williams & His Rug Cutters (1938)
3. At The Clambake CarnivalCab Calloway & His Orchestra (1938)
4. Carnival Of VeniceHorace Heidt’s Musical Knights (1939)
5. Mardi Gras MadnessBarney Bigard, Rex Stewart, Jimmy Blanton & The Duke Of Ellington (1940)
6. Mardi Gras BoogieJoe Turner (?)
7. CarnivalArtie Shaw & His Orchestra (1942)
8. The Carnival Of VeniceHarry James & His Orchestra (1941)

I have substituted the crappy commercial mp3 of Mardi Gras Madness withHarryJames_Circle_LP_1941_a the much better sounding digitalized LP-track from my collection; and there is now a #8 on that playlist, namely Harry James’s The Carnival Of Venice from 1941, which is in my humble opinion definitely the best of all Venetian Carnivals he ever recorded, be it ‘live’ or in the studio.

I once had it on an old LP with a lot of reverb added. — Now, you have the chance to listen once again to this ultra-rare rendition, freshly transferred last night for your listening pleasure,

By yours truly,
Brewnival Lightissimus

Folks, that’s Cootie with the Duke (*not* on that picture! – That’s Rex Stewart), and the wonderful Jerry Kruger who are celebrating their happy Carnival In C. Harry Carney blows it deeply too ;)

Okay, there are also some MG’s, namely the various Mardi Gras happenings, dancing, boogieing, and clambakeing for all our listening pleasure.

Barney Bigard, Rex Stewart, Jimmy Blanton & The Duke of Ellington (who are all jumpin’ in Mardi Gras Madness) have been extra purchased again by yours truly for this glorious occasion (it’s in the key of D-flat by the Dukish way!).

‘Hot Lips’ Page is plunging Artie’s carnival party in a kind that the syrupy strings are quickly forgotten, aren’t they?

Cheers, will say: Kölle (still in 2014) am Arsch!

The below is the Bruno-Leicht-quadruple-feature, meaning:

I’m (forever!) all 4 U, 4 da bloose, 4 da blue, 4 da bloozy-boozy-brewzy blues ;)

Posted in Big Band Vocalist, Blogging is swell!, Carnival, Delikatessen...LOLL., Etymology, Exoticism, It's been a ball!, It's gonna be a ball, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Madness, Mardi Gras, Swing Era | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

R.I.P. ALICE BABS (1924-2014)

0000521317_500If you love a crystal clear jazz soprano, go and buy some of her records.

R.I.P. Alice Babs, lovely Swedish swing angel.

Posted in Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings

THE DUKE, PLAYING MUSIC STAND FOR “THE RABBIT” – Duke Ellington & Johnny Hodges – “ISFAHAN” from “FAR EAST SUITE”, 1966

DukeEllington_seriousDuke Ellington was an impatient man, because he wanted to hear instantly what he wrote for his orchestra.

And he was – like yours truly – one of those “last-minute-types” when it came to composing/ arranging music.

Maybe he needed this kind of pressure, maybe he got his best ideas when he was confronted with an ultimate, an unalterable deadline.

Here’s the Duke in one of those last-minute-actions, holding a freshly written part of “FAR EAST SUITE” before Johnny Hodges eyes who may have had no time to rehearse it with the orchestra.

Lovely, isn’t it?


Posted in Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings