Duke Ellington’s 1956 Newport Jazz Festival Performance

CHARLESTON, SC – By the mid-1950s, Big Bands found themselves in a changed world as Bebop took center stage. Even the Duke Ellington Orchestra, who had creatively dominated the jazz scene from the late 1920s – 1940s, found itself struggling until the historic gig at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. With an electrifying performance, the crowd at Freedom Park was transformed and Ellington’s career was revitalized. Sixty-four years later, your Charleston Jazz Orchestra will recreate that notable night in jazz history, one that festival producer George Wein proclaimed as “the greatest performance of Ellington’s career” and one that “stood for everything jazz had been and could be.”

Tickets are on sale now at www.charlestonjazz.com or call the Charleston Jazz box office at 843-641-0011. Ticket prices range from $25 – $62. Senior rates for 65 and older. $10 for students and children. No additional ticket fees. Save 10% off individual ticket prices with a Season Subscription. Save 5% off individual ticket prices with a Trio Pass. For groups (10+) please call 843.641.0011 for group rate.

“It has been fascinating diving in to this pivotal concert by the Duke Ellington Orchestra. We’re actually having to create about half the charts ourselves, so it’s been an incredible opportunity to learn more about how Duke constructed his music. I can’t wait to hear it all come together live!”

-Robert Lewis, CJO Music Director

About Robbie Madison:
Born and raised in Charleston, SC, Robbie Madison was welcomed into a family of artists and musicians. While being surrounded by music at an early age, he fell in love with learning, performing and creatively expressing himself through music. He studied jazz and classical voice and trumpet at the Charleston School of the Arts. Over the years he has spent time as a featured performer in Argentina, Dominican Republic and other South American countries. His roots in gospel, jazz, and classical styles merge together bringing his audiences to a peaceful and reflective place.

About the Charleston Jazz Orchestra:
Under the direction of Robert Lewis, the Charleston Jazz Orchestra has been performing for audiences in the Lowcountry for over 11 years. The CJO is comprised of 18 accomplished jazz musicians and is an entertaining and educational example of the rich history of jazz in Charleston. The Charleston Jazz Orchestra offers a six concert subscription series known for its unique, enthusiastically received performances that contribute mightily to the ever-evolving Lowcountry arts scene.

About Charleston Jazz:
Charleston Jazz is a non-profit organization whose mission is to grow a local and global community for jazz through performance, education and outreach while celebrating and preserving Charleston’s rich history in jazz. Established in 2008 as Jazz Artists of Charleston, the organization has earned a reputation for presenting, producing, and advocating for all things jazz and the artists who bring this music to life in dynamic ways. The organization manages the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, the Charleston Jazz Festival, and the Charleston Jazz Academy.

For more information and to schedule an interview, media appearance, or for hi-resolution images, contact Brittany Burkett at [email protected].


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Gino Castillo playing drums with Charleston Jazz Orchestra