1. Limbo Jazz
2. Mood Indigo
3. Ray Charles' Place
5. You Dirty Dog
6. Self Portrait (Of The Bean)
7. The Jeep Is Jumpin'
8. The Ricitic
9. In A Sentimental Mood
10. Take The Coltrane
11. Big Nick
13. My Little Brown Book
15. The Feeling Of Jazz
Duke Ellington - Piano
Coleman Hawkins - Tenor sax (tracks 1-8)
Ray Nance - Cornet, violin (tracks 1-8)
Lawrence Brown - Trombone (tracks 1-8)
Johnny Hodges - Alto sax (tracks 1-8)
Harry Carney - Baritone sax, bass clarinet (tracks 1-8)
Aaron Bell - Bass
Sam Woodyard - Drums
John Coltrane - Tenor sax, soprano sax (tracks 9-15)
Jimmy Garrison - Bass (tracks 9-15)
Elvin Jones - Drums (tracks 9-15)
This CD unites two LPs produced by Bob Thiele in 1962, putting Duke
Ellington with two very different tenor-saxists. I have already reviewed
the album with John Coltrane
and my opinion of that session hasn't
changed. The Duke blends quite well with Coltrane but Elvin Jones
makes no attempt to modify his drumming to fit in with Ellington.
The session with Coleman Hawkins works much better, although the opening Limbo Jazz seems unsuited to Coleman's style. It's a Latin-American piece in which Hawkins simply plays the melody over and over, with punctuation from Duke at the piano. Mood Indigo is much more in Hawk's comfort zone, as he improvises rhapsodically for several joyful choruses.
The rest of the tracks are reminiscent of the classic small-group sessions by Ellington musicians in earlier years. Johnny Hodges, Ray Nance and Lawrence Brown add solos alongside Coleman Hawkins, obviously making him feel thoroughly at home. Hawk has a warm, Websterish tone in Ray Charles' Place, which has a shuffling rhythm and a typically fluid solo from Johnny Hodges. Wanderlust is the catchy tune which Humphrey Lyttelton used for many years as the signature tune of his BBC jazz programme. It has a heavenly Hodges solo and a muscular contribution from Hawkins.
You Dirty Dog is an easy-going piece which Duke never repeated after this session. Self Portrait (Of The Bean) spotlights Coleman Hawkins (nicknamed The Bean) playing a sweet ballad seductively. The Jeep Is Jumpin' is normally a feature for Johnny Hodges, but Nance, Hawkins and Brown also get solos, with Hawkins seemingly effortless in his swirling contribution. Here and throughout, Aaron Bell and Sam Woodyard keep the rhythm cooking.
Ray Nance's violin gives a specially exotic flavour to The Ricitic, which seems to rub off on Coleman's gyrating solo. Duke Ellington had a hand in writing most of the compositions on this disc, illustrating the breadth of his genius. Even if, like me, you thought the album with Coltrane was disappointing, this CD is worth getting for the Coleman Hawkins tracks alone.