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 🙂

This entry was 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 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Duke-ish sexcellence!
    Love your blog, thanxxx.

  2. Finding all of these “Blues” in one spot is such a blessing. Thank you!

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