The Famous 27 Chorus Paul Gonsalves Solo

Few solos in the history of jazz have as much notoriety and hyperbole as the 27-chorus solo played by tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves with Duke Ellington’s band at the Newport Jazz Festival of 1956.  The solo was an interlude between “Diminuendo in Blue” and “Crescendo in Blue,” two separate compositions penned by Ellington in 1937 but usually woven together in performance by a piano interlude and tenor solo. I’ve heard and read various contradictory accounts about the events leading up to the performance of “Dimiuendo and Crescendo in Blue” at Newport in 1956.  The recent lack of success of Duke’s band; possible punishment for recent performance problems stemming from Paul’s alcohol and drug addictions; tensions among the ‘high-society’ patrons of Newport with the younger dancehall …

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