Paul Gonsalves, saxophonist

Paul Gonsalves

July 12, 1920, Boston, MA ~ May 14, 1974, London, England

Gonsalves first professional engagement was with the Sabby Lewis band in Boston. On leaving Lewis he played with Count Basie from 1946-49, was briefly with Dizzy Gillespie, and then joined Duke Ellington in 1950. Gonsalves remained with Ellington for the rest of his life, his occasional absences from the band resulting from his addiction to alcohol and narcotics. Like many other would-be Ellingtonian tenor players, Gonsalves began by learning Ben Webster's Cottontail solo note for note, but quickly established his own distinctive style. ~ Paul Gonsalves: Paul Gonsalves ~ retrieved June 16, 2016 © Paul Gonsalves

A unique and very individual tenor saxophonist. ~ Jazz Leadsheets: Paul Gonsalves ~ retrieved June 16, 2016 © Jazz Leadsheets

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July 12, 1975 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (3) Wings, Listen To What The Man Said ~ #2 (2) Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony, The Hustle ~ #1 (1) Captain & Tennille, Love Will Keep Us Together


Duke Ellington's orchestra, a dominant creative force from the 1920s to the 40s, was struggling with changing tastes. A midnight show after thunderstorms at the 1956 Newport jazz festival didn't seem like the time for a comeback. But tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves blew 27 consecutive improvised choruses on Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue in a rousing, R&B-like style, driving the crowd into a frenzy and reviving the band's fortunes. ~ The Guardian: Paul Gonsalves ~ June 17, 2011 © The Guardian

Paul Gonsalves ~ Inducted in the 2004 Big Band And Jazz Hall Of Fame.

As a Session musician, guest or band member

Duke Ellington ~ At Newport (1956) ~ Ranked #35 Jazzwise 100 Jazz Albums That Shook The World in 2006 ~ Apart from the on-site near-riot after the conclusion of Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue, this is a well-paced record for a lounge-chair audience wanting to know what the excitement was all about. ~ 2006 © Jazzwise

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