The appearance of Duke Ellington and His Orchestra at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival was such a tremendous success that it was quite natural that organizer George Wein invited the band to take part again in 1958. All the soloists were still around, and in addition Gerry Mulligan was invited to perform a duet with Harry Carney ("Prima Bara Dubla"). What an event to look forward to!
But this time the old diehards were disappointed: the Duke had had some new tunes written for him, which of course didn’t trigger any memories: "El Gato", with Cat Anderson playing with the rest of the trumpet section, a new composition ("Happy Reunion") for Paul Gonsalves on the tenor saxophone, and then some compositions which were reminiscent of Debussy, and arrangements by Billy Strayhorn. Also there was a fantastic flugelhorn solo by Clark Terry in "Juniflip". The highlight of the concert, though, was when the kings of the baritone sax, Gerry Mulligan and Harry Carney, stood in the limelight, and the Duke Ellington Orchestra could celebrate a similar triumph to that of 1956.
More than 50 years later, these recordings made at the Newport Jazz Festival will have you sitting on the edge of your seat!