Duke Ellington

At Newport

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This 1956 compilation includes a portion of Duke Ellington's triumphant Newport concert and a set by the Buck Clayton All-Stars from the following day. Since Johnny Hodges was a little below par in his feature "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)," this original release replaced the Newport version with rather a obvious studio recording, though noise from the audience is dubbed into the background for continuity. The legitimate live tracks include a rousing "Take the 'A' Train" (with Ray Nance taking the trumpet solo, as he had many times since its first recording almost 15 years earlier) and the lush "Sophisticated Lady" (showcasing baritone sax great Harry Carney), while drummer Sam Woodyard makes the most of his solo opportunity in "Skin Deep." The second side of the LP contains rare material by Buck Clayton. The trumpeter is accompanied by tenor sax legend Coleman Hawkins, trombonist J.J. Johnson, pianist Dick Katz, bassist Benny Moten, and drummer Gus Johnson. The inspired match of swing stars with the bop influence of the young trombonist and pianist helps the interpretations of "You Can Depend on Me," "Newport Jump," and "In a Mellotone" remain fresh decades later.