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Editors’ Notes

This album is Mastered for iTunes. Johnny Hodges’ alto saxophone—one of the great jazz voices of the 20th century—was central to the sound of Ellington’s legendary big band. On this 1959 release Hodges and Ellington are joined by several other major players, including Harry “Sweets” Edison, Jo Jones, Roy Eldridge and Ben Webster. (Three tracks feature a sextet and the other six have a septet.) The Duke only appears on three songs (“Stompy Jones”, “Just Squeeze Me (But Don’t Tease Me)” and “Going Up”) and the wonderful Billy Strayhorn plays piano on the rest. Ellington’s jabbing piano chords open “Stompy Jones”, which displays Hodges’ delightfully distinctive tone in an ace solo. “Going Up” has a more modern feel than other cuts here: guitarist Les Spann turns in some nice flute work, Ellington’s piano takes surprising twists and turns, and Hodges is excellent. Both section and solo playing shine on Mercer Ellington and Hodges’ “Ruint”. The album closes with “You Need to Rock”, a jump blues that finds a Webster solo that moves from silky-smooth to rough, and a bluesy, finely-shaped statement by Hodges.

Customer Reviews


This collection of song is classic old time jazz at its best. Performances are spot on and arrangements are superb. Also I did not think at my age and with my hearing loss I would be able to discern the difference in an "album Mastered for iTunes" but the quality is amazing. Really is worth the time to take a listen.


Born: April 29, 1899 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Duke Ellington was the most important composer in the history of jazz as well as being a bandleader who held his large group together continuously for almost 50 years. The two aspects of his career were related; Ellington used his band as a musical laboratory for his new compositions and shaped his writing specifically to showcase the talents of his bandmembers, many of whom remained with him for long periods. Ellington also wrote film scores and stage musicals, and several of his instrumental works...
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