Surprisingly, this Impulse album is the only recorded meeting between these two swing giants. Born just five years apart, Ellington and Hawkins led parallel lives through the swing era, but somehow never ended up in a recording studio together until this 1962 session. The pairing is certainly a good one that should have been repeated more often. Hawkins' famously robust tenor sax fits in seamlessly with Ellington and a small group of his top sidemen including Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, and Ray Nance. These old pros work smoothly through a relaxed set of new and old Ellington compositions.
Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington were (and are) two of the main stems of jazz. Any way you look at it, just about everything that's ever happened in this music leads directly – or indirectly – back to them. Both men were born on the cusp of the 19th and 20th centuries, and each became established as a leader during the middle '20s. …
Just the fact that Ellington's extended masterpiece "Reminiscing in Tempo" is included here in its original and continuous form is reason enough to pick up this compilation. Initially recorded in 1935, "Reminiscing" was the first thoroughly composed jazz piece and one that not only demonstrated Ellington's knack for longer forms, but also featured practically all of his singular soloists. Upon its first release, the 13-minute piece was broken up over a few 78s, later making its way into EP form. Currently, the Classics label includes it on one of its Chronological discs, but spread over four distinct tracks. So, this 1991 Columbia release might be the only way to get this great work in its seamless form as it was originally recorded. Collector's concerns aside, this CD was the audio companion to an Ellington documentary aired on PBS. Predictably, it provides something of an overview of Ellington's career, beginning with a recording of "The Mooche" from his Cotton Club days in the late '20s up through a version of "Black Beauty" from 1960.
Columbia's Greatest Hits features many of Duke Ellington's best-known songs and biggest hits, including "Satin Doll," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "Take the 'A' Train," "Solitude," "Mood Indigo," "I'm Beginning to See the Light," "Prelude to a Kiss" and "Perdido." It's a fine sampling of Ellington's most familiar melodies and works as a good introduction for novices.
2010 eight CD box set from the legendary Jazz pianist, composer, arranger and Big Band leader. This box set contains a plethora of material that Ellington recorded at the legendary venue, Carnegie Hall, during the height of the Big Band movement. Spanning the years 1943-47, this box set features 85 performances by Ellington backed by some of Jazz's greatest musicians including Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, Junior Raglin, Al Hibbler, Claude B. Jones, Harry Carney, Oscar Pettiford, Sonny Greer, Ray Nance, Jimmy Hamilton, Al Sears and Ellington himself.
Compiled from several concerts in Paris and elsewhere in February, 1963, this set provides a panoramic snapshot of the range of Ellington's repertoire at the time. Lots of old favorites are included, along with a few newer pieces, as well as Suite Thursday and Harlem.