Our song of the week is a legendary one. As a (Balboa) dancer, you love it or you hate it, there's nothing in between. I belong to the group of lovers.
What is so special about this song you may ask.
Well, read further 🙂
Diminuendo In Blue And Crescendo In Blue
Duke Ellington wrote “Diminuendo In Blue” and “Crescendo In Blue” in 1937. The songs were recorded individually on opposite sides of a 78 rpm record and they were performed as separate pieces until 1951.
At the Birdland club in that year, tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves asked Duke for a solo between “Diminuendo” and “Crescendo”. Duke agreed and Gonsalves soloed for nearly 26-28 choruses (depends on the source) bringing the people to crying out and jumping on their chairs.
A few years later, Duke Ellington almost gave up his orchestra due to slackening demand in big band music, but then there was this legendary performance that rejuvenated Duke's career.
Live at Newport Jazz Festival 1956
The story of a riot, that was almost created… 27 choruses solo… a platinum blond woman dancing… watch the clip!
And here is the full track, at least audible: 14 minutes and 14 seconds.
I really love that song! There is so much energy in there and you hear the musicians cheer Paul and pushing him even more. How I wish to have seen this performance with my own eyes.
Don't forget, it was in 1956, the same year when Elvis Presley and Rock ‘n' Roll became big! And Duke Ellington and his band brought big band music back on the radar.
DJ'ing Diminuendo And Crescendo in Blue
It's obvious, that you only can play this song at special occasions. 14+ minutes is far too long for a DJ'ed song for dancers.
Here is how DJ Kyle Smith does it. For example, he plays that song every year at the All Balboa Weekend, dedicating it to Sylvia Sykes. So, he announces the song, the length of the song and that it's totally okay to switch partners during the song. That way, you can decide yourself if you prefer dancing or having a drink.
Are you a lover or a hater of that tune? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Song of the Week #31: “At A Dixie Roadside Diner” by Ivie Anderson w/ Duke Ellington
Song of the Week #56: “C Jam Blues” by Barney Bigard
Song of the Week #66: “Empty Ballroom Blues” by Duke Ellington
Song of the Week #81: “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” by Duke Ellington
Song of the Week #89: “Rexatious” by Rex Stewart