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Duke Ellington & John Coltrane Create Jazz Chemistry

Recorded on 26 September 1962 and released in February 1963 on Impulse! Records, Duke Ellington & John Coltrane saw a cross-generational collaboration.

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Duke Ellington & John Coltrane Album Cover

In early 1963 John Coltrane said, “I was really honoured to have the opportunity of working with Duke. It was a wonderful experience. He has set standards I haven’t caught up with yet. I would have liked to have worked over all those numbers again, but then I guess the performances wouldn’t have had the same spontaneity. And they mightn’t have been any better.” ‘Trane is referring to his 1963 impulse! album, Duke Ellington & John Coltrane that was recorded on 26 September 1962 at Rudy Van Gelder’s Englewood Cliff’s Studio.

It was, unusually for Duke Ellington, a small group recording on which Jimmy Garrison and Aaron Bell shared the bass duties and Elvin Jones and Sam Woodyard split the drum playing.

During the early 1960s Ellington made many collaborative recordings, including with Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Max Roach, and Charles Mingus, but this is one of his most successful, due in no small part to the brilliance of Coltrane’s playing.

Sixty-three year old Ellington was even then a jazz legend having honed his chops, although for the most elegant man in jazz, ‘chops’ is somehow inappropriate, at Harlem’s Cotton Club in the 1920s. For 36-year-old Coltrane this album was in a similar, more accessible area to his Johnny Hartman and Ballads albums recorded around the same time.

What is so very beautiful about this record is the way the two jazz giants compliment each other so perfectly. Neither Duke nor ‘Trane attempts to take-over the recording, neither one wants to ‘cut’ the other. They clearly relish the environment and this is one of the most delightful albums to be issued by impulse! in the first few years of its existence – helped by Van Gelder’s brilliance aided by producer Bob Thiele.

The album features Ellington standards including, ‘In a Sentimental Mood’, new Ellington compositions, including the playful, ‘Take The Coltrane’ and one new and a new Coltrane composition, ‘Big Nick’. These jazz geniuses are clearly comfortable in one another’s company and you’ll be very comfortable in theirs.

Duke Ellington & John Coltrane can be bought here.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Håkan Edward Söderling

    September 26, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Wonderful music by two of the greatest. THX.

  2. valeriy khlopunov

    September 27, 2014 at 2:49 am

    величайшие музыканты! слушать буду и восхищаться -всетда !!!

  3. Kate Laurie

    October 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Wow! A friends post lead me here. I am in awe…Forgive if I tap with sound of beautiful music I have adorn since no memory as a child. My Mom was had an awesome unique selections of big band to the smokey voices of rag time”Let’s do it, Let’s fall in love. So here I go to adventure this site. Peace out!

  4. Donald

    August 31, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Oh what a great duet! It was love shared musically at the highest level.just great!

  5. Davenio

    December 30, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    C’est une splendeur. Une merveille

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