180 gram vinyl LP in Gatefold packaging
In spite of its title, "Festival Session" is a studio album that primarily featured tunes Duke presented at the Newport and Playboy jazz festivals during 1959. The 1956 Newport Jazz Festival (the third edition of that event), had proven to be essential for Duke Ellington’s career, which at the time was struggling due to the hardships of sustaining a big band. Newport gave jazz a new popular dimension, taking it from a closed nightclub environment to an outdoor stage in broad daylight.
During that magic 1956 evening, the audience became hysterical after Paul Gonsalves’ multiple choruses on “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue”. In later years, Duke used to say that he had been “born” at Newport ’56. From that point on he was a regular attraction at that annual festival, and during each edition he tended to introduce new pieces. Festival Session was given a five-star rating in Down Beat by Don DeMicheal, who wrote, “What a wonderfully powerful yet subtle instrument is the Ellington band. In this release, it kicks its way through part of the 1959 summer’s festival material. The moods range from thundering jubilation through pixyish humor and satire to quiet reflection. By all means, listen to this.”
DUKE ELLINGTON & His Orchestra:
Cat Anderson, Harold “Shorty” Baker, Fats Ford, Willie Cook, Clark Terry (tp),
Ray Nance (tp, vln, vcl), Quentin Jackson (tb, bass on A3-A5 only),
Britt Woodman, John Sanders (tb), Jimmy Hamilton (cl, ts)
Russell Procope (cl, as), Johnny Hodges (as), Paul Gonsalves (ts),
Harry Carney (bar, cl, b-cl), Duke Ellington (p),
Joe Benjamin (b on B1 only), Jimmy Woode (b on A1-A2 & B2-B5),
Sam Woodyard, Jimmy Johnson (d).
New York, September 8, 1959.
02 COPOUT EXTENSION
03 DUEL FUEL –Part I
04 DUEL FUEL –Part II
05 DUEL FUEL –Part III
01 IDIOM ’59 –Part I [Vapor]
02 IDIOM ’59 –Part II
03 IDIOM ’59 –Part III
04 THINGS AIN’T WHAT THEY USED TO BE
05 LAUNCHING PAD