IT DON'T MEAN A THING IF IT AIN'T GOT THAT SWING

Home » General » Newport Jazz Festival July 6 1956

Newport Jazz Festival July 6 1956

Louis Armstrong was the anchor of the program on the second day of the Festival. As Basie had done the day before, he kicked it off and ended it.

Louis A 1956

Ella Fitzgerald was the featured singer of the night and Claes Dahlgren was quite enthusiastic in his report on her performance. “Heart, swing, taste – Ella has got it all” was one of his comments.  And apparently the audience liked it as well. “She was hardly allowed to leave the stage although Louis Armstrong was the next attraction.”

Buck Clayton and a group including J.J. Johnson and Coleman Hawkins catered to the “main stream” and dixieland jazz audience. Claes Dahlgren wrote that Clayton proved he is a great jazz musician and that Hawkins still is very authoritative in his playing.

The Jay and Kay Quintet was one of the modern jazz groups of the night. They played among other things a piece written particularly for the Festival. Dahlgren considered the group as very stimulating and enjoyed J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding . “They are outstanding soloists and their interplay is exemplary.”

Jay&Kai

However, the main modern jazz feature was the Dave Brubeck Quartet. When one listens to the performance, it is quite enjoyable and of course in the typical style of the group with its tight contrapuntal interplay between Brubeck and Desmond. Dahlgren did not like the group but admitted it swings more than its critics admit and that Paul Desmond is a very good soloist.

Louis Armstrong ended the night with a very typical Armstrong performance and the audience apparently liked what they heard. Claes Dahlgren gave the key to this. “Seeing and hearing Louis makes one happy”.

Parts of the performances by Armstrong, Brubeck, Clayton and Jay & Kay are available for in the music player of the web site.

 


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