This release is part of the 50th anniversary of the Impulse label. Producer Creed Taylor was the instigator in 1960 followed by Bob Thiele between 1961-69. One of the first signings to the label was John Coltrane leading to the phrase 'The House That Trane Built'. The meeting between Duke Ellington and Coleman Hawkins was long awaited. No catalyst was required to spark off this recording session, finally arranged for August 18th,1962. When Hawkins entered the studio in New Jersey, the carefully chosen Ellington septet were already rehearsing. All the musicians were enthusiastic and expectant. The three-piece reed section boasted Hawkins, Johnny Hodges and Harry Carney. The songs assembled on this album are sublime. The standards 'Mood Indigo', 'Wanderlust' and 'The Jeep is Jumpin' seem to have been extended further on the session. 'Limbo Jazz' flows engagingly with a Latin-American hint. 'Ray Charles' Place' was composed shortly before recording and is an exciting blues number with Brown (tb) and Woodyard (d) excelling. 'Self Portrait of the Bean' (Ellington/Strayhorn) is improvised as expected by Hawkins's melodic delivery. 'Mood Indigo' is standout amongst the numbers that are close to perfection. Fond farewells followed. "After four hundred years we made it!" Coleman said. "You don't think it was too soon?" replied Duke. Utterly marvellous. Liner notes by Stanley Dance.
In September 1962, the legendary Duke Ellington recorded with the established ever-changing John Coltrane. In this small group context it shows how Ellington can lead and follow without the worry of big band orchestration. The results of the collaberation are incredibly satisfying at the highest level. Mutual respect must have played a part although it is the recorded musicianship that has the final say. Coltrane is playing five Ellington numbers and one by Billy Strayhorn in this set. The opener 'In A Sentimental Mood' is brilliant both melodically and expressively. The tempo picks up on 'Take the Coltrane' with a piano introduction by Ellington as modern as it could be. 'Big Nick' is taken on soprano, 'Stevie' is a blues original producing a relaxed sound.Strayhorn's 'My Little Brown Book' is moving to the point of remembrance to Johnny Hodges. Very sensitive. 'The Feeling Of Jazz' was the first recording of an Ellington number that the leaders now acknowledge a standard. The rhythm sections alternate between Coltrane's Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones with Ellington's Sam Woodyard and Aaron Bell. All supreme accompanists and soloists in the most emphatic way. Original liner notes by Stanley Dance. The contribution of Ellington as composer, arranger, accompanist, soloist and understanding of his horn players cannot be underestimated. A true giant. These two albums are not only historical but combine major exponents in Jazz, never to be repeated. I can only say that they should rank highly enough to be in any collection. The 2-on-one is convenient and less expensive than the individual sets. Sound is excellent. Highly recommended.
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I'm still new to jazz, learning what I like, and Coleman Hawkins is one of my favourite performers. His gentle approach, with deep musicality, really appeals to me, and this set is lyrical and beautiful.
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