1. In a Sentimental Mood
2. Take the Coltrane
3. Big Nick
5. My Little Brown Book
7. The Feeling of Jazz
Duke Ellington - Piano
John Coltrane - Tenor sax, soprano sax
Aaron Bell - Bass (tracks 1, 4, 5, 7)
Jimmy Garrison - Bass (tracks 2, 3, 6)
Elvin Jones - Drums (tracks 1-3, 6)
Sam Woodyard - Drums (tracks 4, 5, 7)
pairing of these two jazzmen may make you
think of the phrase "chalk and cheese". On
the face of it, they seem to be almost polar
opposites. Yet they were both pioneering individualists
- musicians who followed their own paths and,
in the process, changed jazz in various ways.
Producer Bob Thiele brought them together
for this 1962 session, now reissued on a CD
which lasts for barely 35 minutes.
their different experiences and backgrounds,
Ellington and Coltrane seemed to get on fairly
well together. Duke comes up with a neat ostinato
to play behind Coltrane's sensitive theme
statement for In a Sentimental Mood,
although Elvin Jones's drumming is unhelpfully
disruptive during Ellington's piano solo.
Perhaps this was why the Duke lays out for
some of his own composition, Take the Coltrane,
leaving Garrison and Jones to accompany Coltrane's
steaming solo. Big Nick is the only
Coltrane original on the album (the rest are
all Ellington or Strayhorn numbers) and it
works well. Coltrane switches from tenor sax
to soprano, and Ellington clearly enjoys the
tune's easy bounce. Thankfully Elvin Jones
plays more tactfully here.
Ellington sounds even more relaxed on the
next two tracks, backed by his accustomed
rhythm section of Aaron Bell and Sam Woodyard.
Coltrane blows an intricate but bluesy solo
on Stevie (dedicated by the Duke to
his drumming nephew, Stephen James) and John's
tenor sax coaxes the melody of Billy Strayhorn's
My Little Brown Book with feeling.
When Garrison and Jones return for Angelica,
Ellington again leaves them to provide the
backing for Coltrane's adventurous solo, but
Bell and Woodyard return for the final track,
The Feeling of Jazz, a blues in which
the participants sound more at ease, although
it fades out inconclusively at the end.
pairing of Coltrane with Ellington was daring
but frankly less successful than the sessions
which Bob Thiele organised with the Duke alongside
Louis Armstrong and then Coleman Hawkins.
John Coltrane appreciated the chance to play
with Ellington, saying: "It was a wonderful
experience. He has set standards I haven't
caught up with yet". Yet the two men and their
sidemen somehow failed to gel into an integrated
unit in the studio.