Those who were in attendance of the Newport jazz festival in 1956 won't forget the name of Paul Gonsalves. As one of the featured soloists with the Duke Ellington band, he rocked an audience of more than 7,500 persons with his hard—charging solo on Ellington's Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue.
Nat Hentoff, writer for Down Beat, remembered it this way: “Then came the deluge, the Diminuendo and Crescendo with the 27 rocking choruses in between by Paul Bunyan Gonsalves that turned the final Newport night into Dionysian rites and convinced everyone present, including me, that a memorable event was occurring... There is a gripping, rising excitement in the remarkable length and spare consistency of Gonsalves' solo over a rhythm section rocking in a uniquely heated groove... And the long, climbing ensemble close over a gyrating, shouting audience of 7,500 is also an experience that will chill you.”
In this Argo set, Gonsalves attempts to recreate, in a different atmosphere, the passionate fire he warmed Newport hearts with in '56. On August 6, 1957, during the Ellington band's stay at Chicago's Blue Note, Gonsalves led three compatriots from the Ellington band and a local pianist into Sheldon Recording studios. Five hours later, the quintet emerged and Paul's Festival had been revisited. From the opening Festival, exclusively Paul's, to the closing Funky, Gonsalves had restated his case, with the assistance of Clark Terry, Willie Jones, Jimmy Woode, and Sam Woodyard.
Bostonian Gonsalves was born 37 years ago on August 12. He began to satisfy his desires for a career in music when he was 16, by playing guitar. Switching to tenor a few years later, he was featured with Sabby Lewls's band in Boston during the early 1940s. After a stint in the army, he worked with the Count Basie band (1946). He worked with Dizzy Gillespie's big band in 1949-50, then joined the Ellington band. Except for a few weeks with Tommy Dorsey's band in '53, he's been a member of the Ellington reed section ever since 1950.
Clark Terry, whose trumpet playing has illuminated many record sessions, was also born in 1920. He was active in music in high school, majoring on valve trombone. He left his St. Louis home to serve in the navy during World War II and was a member of an all-star band at Great Lakes, from 1942 to 1945. After he obtained his service discharge, he worked, successively, with the bands of Lionel Hampton, George Hudson (in St. Louis), Charlie Barnet, Charlie Ventura, Count Basie. In November, 1951 he joined the Ellington band and, as already mentioned, has been with it ever since.
Twenty—nine-year-old bassist Jimmy Woode is a formally trained musician. His father was a music teacher in Philadelphia. Woode studied piano at the Philadelphia academy of music, at the Boston university school of music, at the Boston conservatory, and under bassist Paul Gregory. During a navy stint he sang with a navy band. After his service tour, he worked with a singing group, then formed his own trio. He spent two years as house bassist at George Wein's Boston Jazz emporium, Storyvilie, and toured with Flip Phillips. Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald. He worked with Nat Pierce's band, then joined Ellington in early 1955. Recently, he's been composing and arranging for the Ellington band, in addition to capably handling the bass chores.
Drummer Sam Woodyard, 33. is a self- taught musician. He was Elizabeth, NJ. and acquired considerable experience working with groups in the
Newark area. He worked with Joe Holiday, Roy Eldridge, and Milt Buckner before joining Ellington in 1955.
Willie Jones is a Chicago pianist, in his late 30s, who has had his own trio worked with many name jazzmen in the Midwest. His piano style is in the Milt Buckner tradition.
Gonsalves is credited with three charts for this session: "Festival", "Blues" and "Paul's Idea". Terry contributed "Clark's Bars", “Daddy-O's Patio” (for Chicago's leading jazz disc jocky Daddy-O Daylie), “Impeccable” (written by Terry and Marion Michaels), “Phat Bach” (Terry collaboration with a trumpet—playing postal clerk, Sykes Smith), “Milli Terry”, and “Funky”. Several of these charts, notably the attractive ballad, impeccable, and the marching Milli Terry, assist in elevating this session above the mass of uninhibited blowing sessions being issued on record today.
This, then, is a four—Ellingtonians—plus-one session, with glimpses of Newport revisited, the imaginative Clark Terry compositional approach, and Gonsalves' passionate tenor sound enhancing the basic value of the LP.
It is another chapter in the history of the Ellington influence and the men who have made the Ellington band one of infinite significance in the history of jazz in America.
Original liner notes from Argo -LP626
1. Festival (Gonsalves)
2. Clark's Bars (Terry)
3. Daddy-O's Patio (Terry)
4. Blues (Gonsalves)
5. Impeccable (Terry & Michaels)
6. Paul's Idea (Gonsalves)
7. Phat Bach (Smith & Terry)
8. Milli Terry (Terry)
9. Funky (Terry)
10. Girl I Call Baby (Terry)
Paul Gonsalves - Tenor Saxophone
Clark Terry - Trumpet
William Jones - Piano
Jimmy Woode - Bass
Sam Woodyard - Drums
Recorded 6th August 1957 - Chicago, USA
Reissued 2007 - Fresh Sounds Records FSR-CD-472