Duke Ellington & John Coltrane is a jazz album by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane recorded on September 26, 1962, and released in February 1963 on Impulse! Records.
It was one of Ellington’s many collaborations in the early 1960s with musicians such as Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Max Roach, and Charles Mingus, and placed him with a quartet (in this case, saxophone, piano, bass, and drums), rather than a big band.
Coltrane played in a more accessible style during this time, on albums such as John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman and Ballads. Despite their differences in background, style, and age – Ellington was 63 and Coltrane 36 when the tracks were recorded – it has been said[by whom?] that the two interacted seamlessly.
The quartet was filled out by the bassist and drummer from either of their bands. The album featured Ellington standards (e.g., “In a Sentimental Mood”), new Ellington compositions, and a new Coltrane composition (“Big Nick”).
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! (by wikipedia)
John Coltrane & Duke Ellington
The classic 1962 album Duke Ellington & John Coltrane showcased the rising jazz saxophone innovator performing alongside the long-established piano institution. While the pairing might have portended a dynamic clash of the musical generations, instead we got a casual, respectful, and musically generous meeting of like-minded souls. Similarly, while one might have assumed that Ellington would use his sidemen, instead producer Bob Thiele (who also produced similar albums for Ellington including pairings with Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins) chose to bring in Coltrane’s own outfit for the proceedings. Consequently, the duo is backed here at various times by bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones, as well as alternates bassist Aaron Bell and drummer Sam Woodyard. The most surprising aspect of the Ellington/Coltrane date is how well suited Coltrane and his group are at playing what largely ends up being Ellington’s own material. While he was certainly in the nascency of his more avant-garde period in 1962, Coltrane had a deep understanding of traditional jazz vocabulary, having played in a swing band in the Navy in the 1940s and studied the style of artists like Hawkins and Ben Webster while coming up in Philadelphia.
Similarly, though an icon of the big-band era by the 1960s, Ellington had been on the upswing of a career resurgence ever since his dynamic performance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, later released as Ellington at Newport. His meeting with Coltrane was emblematic of his renewed creativity and was one of several albums he recorded in his latter life with theretofore unexpected artists, not the least of which his other 1962 date, Money Jungle with bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach.
Here, Ellington and Coltrane play a handful of well-known Ellington book numbers, including a supremely lyrical “In a Sentimental Mood” and a soulful, half-lidded version of Billy Strayhorn’s “My Little Brown Book.” Ellington even supplied the brisk original “Take the Coltrane,” allowing plenty of room for Coltrane to let loose with knotty, angular lines. (by Matt Collar)
Aaron Bell (bass on 01., 04., 05. + 07.)
John Coltrane (saxophone)
Duke Ellington (piano)
Jimmy Garrison (bass on 02., 03. + 06.)
Elvin Jones (drums on 01. – 03. + 06.)
Sam Woodyard (drums on 04., 05. + 07.)
01. In A Sentimental Mood (Ellington) 4.14
02. Take The Coltrane (Ellington) 4.42
03. Big Nick (Coltrane) 4.30
04. Stevie (Ellington) 4.22
05. My Little Brown Book (Strayhorn) 5.20
06. Angelica (Ellington) 6.00
07. The Feeling Of Jazz (Troup/Ellington/Simon) 5.34