Duke Ellington And John Coltrane Create Jazz Chemistry

Recorded on September 26, 1962, ‘Duke Ellington & John Coltrane’ was a cross-generational collaboration between two jazz giants.

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Duke Ellington & John Coltrane Album Cover
Cover: Courtesy of Impulse! Records

During the early 1960s, Duke Ellington made many collaborative recordings with jazz greats. He paired up with Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Max Roach, and Charles Mingus, but his album with John Coltrane was among his most successful.

This was in due in no small part to the brilliance of Coltrane’s playing. But Coltrane, ever the perfectionist, felt like he could’ve done even better. Maybe. “I was really honored to have the opportunity of working with Duke. It was a wonderful experience. He has set standards I haven’t caught up with yet,” Coltrane said in early 1963. “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.”

Listen to Duke Ellington & John Coltrane now.

Duke Ellington & John Coltrane was recorded on September 26, 1962, at Rudy Van Gelder’s Englewood Cliff’s Studio. It was, unusually for 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.

By this point, 63-year-old Ellington was a jazz legend, having honed his chops 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 beautiful about this record is the way the two jazz giants complement each other. Neither Duke nor ‘Trane attempts to take over the recording. The result was one of the most delightful albums to be issued by Impulse! in the first few years of its existence – aided by Van Gelder and producer Bob Thiele.

The album features Ellington standards like “In a Sentimental Mood,” new Ellington compositions including the playful “Take The Coltrane,” and a new Coltrane composition called “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.



  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

  6. Christopher Nowak BFA MLIS

    August 29, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    HEY FOLKS!!!
    In my books, this is the BEST MINOR BLUES ever composed!!!!!

  7. Christopher Nowak BFA MLIS

    September 11, 2022 at 12:25 pm


  8. Christopher Nowak BFA MLIS

    November 9, 2022 at 1:40 pm

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