The month of August 1956 started with Ellington being a guest in a Frankie Laine CBS telecast. He played “Dancers in Love” and then joined Frankie Laine and the Mellowlarks in the “Tomorrow Mountain” song. The telecast was a CBS-TV summer replacement show featuring Frankie Laine and guest artists.

The next day, he and the band went from New York to Ellenville, New York to appear at the Empire State Jazz Festival, which took place on August 2-4. It brought together several big names in jazz. In addition to Ellington, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Sarah Vaughan, George Shearing Quintet and the Erroll Garner Trio appeared, among others.

From Ellenville he went to New London, Connecticut for a dance date on August 5 and then back to New York for a Columbia recording session on August 7.

It was the first recording session for the Such Sweet Thunder album with “Half the Fun and Suburban Beauty” recorded on this occasion together with “A Flat Minor”

Ellington and the band then went on the road heading for Chicago but with intermediary stops first in upstate New York and Pennsylvania and then in the Midwest. The most important one was a three-night engagement at the Wabash Valley Fair in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Blue Note 50s

On August 22, the orchestra opened a two-week engagement at the Blue Note Club in Chicago. There were NBC broadcasts from the club and the one on August 26 was recorded remote by someone. Here is what was recorded except “Dancers In The Dark”.

In addition to Ellington’s engagements during the month, Voice of America broadcasted an interview with Ellington by Willis Conover on August 17 (probably recorded in July) and then there was the Time Magazine August 20 issue with Ellington on the cover.

This post has been written using information from and – two absolutely invaluable sources of information on Ellington’s whereabouts and activities.

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