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The Emergence of the Wailing Interval

Duke Ellington wrote and recorded Diminuendo In Blue and Crescendo In Blue in 1937. The recording made on 20 Sept. that year was a swinging and bluesy performance, covering both sides of a 78 rpm record.

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For some eight years after that, this composition remained conspicuously absent from the Ellington discographies, although it surely must have been played now and then during the orchestra’s seemingly endless touring schemes.

As a matter of fact, Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra took part in a now famous event in New York in 1938, the “Carnival of Swing” outdoor festival at Randall’s Island where their performance of  Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue, according to contemporary accounts, generated a “riotous reaction”. Unfortunately no recording of this specific event seems to have survived.

In 1945, however, it was brought back into the band book again. The obvious success at Randall’s Island, probably gave Ellington the encouragement to experiment a little with the composition, and he now tries various ideas on how to bridge the two main parts through an independent, but suitable tune. (more…)

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