In April 1961 Louis and his All-Stars recorded 17 tracks with Duke Ellington, which were released on two Roulette albums. Trummy Young was on trombone, Barney Bigard (formerly a long-standing member of the Ellington Orchestra) on clarinet, Mort Herbert on bass, and Danny Barcelona on drums. The numbers were all Ellington compositions, which provided a refreshing change from Armstrong's usual repertoire, and Louis' playing and vocals were as exuberant as ever. The compilation includes twelve out takes, that is, nine alternates and three breakdowns. The reissue is completed by Louis' October 1957 session with Oscar Peterson, accompanied by Herb Ellis on guitar, Ray Brown on bass and Louis Bellson on drums. It was a relaxed session, in which Louis sang a variety of popular standards. Altogether a very desirable compilation.
Another excellent budget-priced double-disc delight from Avid Jazz combines the two Roulette albums Louis Armstrong recorded with the equally iconic Duke Ellington during on two consecutive sessions on April 3rd and 4th, 1961 in New York, with both legends aided by Barney Bigard (clarinet), Trummy Young (trombone), Mort Herbert (bass) and Danny Barcelona (drums). The two albums were entitled RECORDING TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME (1961) followed by THE GREAT REUNION (1963). What you get are incredible versions of MOOD INDIGO, IN A MELLOW TONE and JUST SQUEEZE ME but its almost invidious to select such all-Ellington treasures when the standards set throughout this summit meeting are so high. You don’t necessarily need to be a jazz fanatic to appreciate this mutual admiration get-together of two giants who influenced jazz and early pop music to such a degree. Adding twelve outtakes (nine complete/three incomplete) simply extends the listening pleasure. Just superb in every way and on a par with those classic Verve Satchmo/Ella get-togethers!
However, it doesn’t stop there as fast-forwarding back to October 14th 1957, recalls a similar auspicious date when the album LOUIS ARMSTRONG MEETS OSCAR PETERSON was laid down at Capitol Studios, Hollywood. With the two jazz protagonists backed up by Herb Ellis (guitar), Ray Brown (bass) and Louie Bellson (drums), all was set for some excellent reinterpretations of popular songs by pianist/singer & trumpeter with BLUES IN THE NIGHT, THAT OLD FEELING, YOU GO TO MY HEAD and LET’S FALL IN LOVE amongst the chosen repertoire and the outcome was a triumph with Satchmo and Oscar in tune on very level.
Supplied with original graphics, liner notes and Avid‘s remastered sound, this release must be viewed as an essential purchase.