Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano); Ray Nance (vocals, trumpet); Jimmy Grissom
(vocals); Russell Procope (alto saxophone, clarinet); Rick Henderson (alto saxophone); Jimmy Hamilton (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Paul Gonsalves (tenor saxophone); Harry Carney (baritone saxophone, clarinet); Willie Cook, Clark Terry, Cat Anderson (trumpet); Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson, Juan Tizol (trombone); Oscar Pettiford (cello); Wendell Marshall (bass); Butch Ballard (drums).
Recorded live at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, California on March 30, 1953.
Includes liner notes by Stanley Dance.
Capturing a March 30, 1953 gig by the Duke Ellington Orchestra at Gene Norman's legendary Crescendo nightclub in Pasadena, California, THE 1953 PASADENA CONCERT exemplifies Ellington's standard concert program of the time. Starting with two extended pieces, "The Tattooed Bride" and a sterling run through tenor Paul Gonsalves' traditional solo showcase "Diminuendo and Crescendo In Blue," the set moves through a few blues and jams, punctuated by a lengthy and frequently hysterical monologue by Ellington himself.
The set then showcases gifted vocalist Jimmy Grissom on three tunes, including his signature classic "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me," before ending with a quick medley of nine Ellington standards which clocks in at just under seven minutes. As always, Ellington's band--also featuring stalwarts Ray Nance, Cat Anderson, Juan Tizol and Harry Carney--is a model of grace and economy. Throughout the decade (and arguably the century), there was no better big band to be found in jazz.