Cultural Percussionist

Paul Gonsalves Day

Paul Gonsalves (July 12, 1920 – May 15, 1974) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist best known for his association with Duke Ellington. At the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, Gonsalves played a 27-chorus solo in the middle of Ellington’s “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue“, a performance credited with revitalizing Ellington’s waning career in the 1950s.

Born in Brockton, Massachusetts, to Cape Verdean parents, Gonsalves’ first instrument was the guitar, and as a child he was regularly asked to play Cape Verdean folk songs for his family. He grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and played as a member of the Sabby Lewis Orchestra. His first professional engagement in Boston was with the same group on tenor saxophone, in which he played before and after his military service during World War II. Before joining Duke Ellington’s orchestra in 1950, he had also played in big bands led by Count Basie (1947–1949) and Dizzy Gillespie(1949–1950).

Share this post

Leave a Comment