This 1962 collaboration between two of the all-time jazz greats provides some great moments, but, for me, probably does not quite reach the heights that it might have done, based on the stature of Messrs. Ellington and Coltrane. I suspect that this may have been due to the combination of a number of factors, including the novelty of playing together (on this once-off occasion) and the mutual respect between the two potentially inhibiting the flamboyance of the playing. Indeed, Coltrane did comment after the event that he would have liked to have re-recorded some of the numbers, given the chance.
Nevertheless, there is still much to be admired here, with an immediate highlight on show in Duke's superlative ballad In A Sentimental Mood which kicks off the album with some of Coltrane's trademark tremulously sensitive playing and Ellington's equally beautifully ivory tinkling. Other standout tracks for me are Duke's blues tune Stevie (dedicated to Ellington's drummer nephew Stephen James), on which Coltrane delivers a brilliant bout of blues sax, and Coltrane's own composition Big Nick (this time dedicated to ex-Dizzy Gillespie sideman, tenor sax player Big Nick Nicholas), which morphs from playful beginnings into another impressive Coltrane solo, this time on soprano sax. But my favourite track on the album is Ellington's Angelica, which builds from its notoriously jaunty and infectious theme into a true band tour-de-force, with both Duke and Coltrane excelling, along with the notably more up-front (Coltrane's regular) rhythm section of Elvin Jones pounding the drums and Jimmy Garrison on bass.
Not absolutely in the top drawer for either of these great jazz players, therefore, but certainly of considerable merit.