In the 1950’s Duke Ellington and his orchestra visited Blue Note in Chicago many times. In particular, it was his main venue for New Year’s celebrations, and he played there every New Year’s Eve from 1951 to 1959, except for 1954 when he visited Basin Street East in NYC. You are duly invited to listen to the festivities as they sounded on December 31, 1957 and Jan 1, 1958, exactly 60 years ago, and if you are a DESS member you will find parts of two broadcasts in the Goodies Room.
Midnight at the Blue Note Dec. 31, 1957
The orchestra members at this time were as follows: Harold Baker, Willie Cook, Cat Anderson, Clark Terry and Ray Nance on trumpets, Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson and John Sanders on trombones, Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope, Paul Gonsalves and Harry Carney on reeds, Ellington, Jimmy Woode and Sam Woodyard in the rhythm section, Jimmy Grissom and Ozzie Bailey vocals.From an NBC broadcast we can listen to the following numbers: Auld Lang Syne, Theme, Auld Lang Syne, Newport Up, Together, La Virgen De La Macarena, You Better Know It and Star-Crossed Lovers.
From a CBS broadcast we hear Such Sweet Thunder, Diminuendo In Blue-Wailing Interval-Crescendo In Blue and Such Sweet Thunder.
The soloists in these numbers are the ones you are used to and there are no surprises. Thus you’ll hear Johnny Hodges in Star-Crossed Lovers, Cat Anderson in La Virgen De La Macarena and Paul Gonsalves in Wailing Interval. Since there ar two singers present, you have the possibility of comparing Ozzie Bailey’s singing to that of Jimmy Grissom. This was probably one of Grissoms’s last performances with the band as a regular. On Newport Up Hodges, Hamilton, Terry and Gonsalves are the soloists, whereas Such Sweet Thunder is strictly instrumental.
We take this opportunity to wish all our viewers and listeners
A Happy and Prosperous New Year!