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Duke Ellington & John Coltrane

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iTunes Review

Two of the most extraordinary figures in 20th century jazz — make that 20th century music — meet on this singular album. At the time of its recording, Ellington was already in his sixties but still trying out new things. And Coltrane, at the height of his powers and exploring new directions, continued to be engaged with the music of his predecessors. It’s interesting to compare the rhythm sections that accompany the two giants on the disc. Ellington regulars Sam Woodyard and Aaron Bell embody an exciting sense of swing that is clearly rooted in dance music. Coltrane’s rhythm section of Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison swing too, but in a complex, agitated way. The two pairs each play on three cuts, and on “A Sentimental Mood,” Jones and Bell pair up to back Duke and Trane who interpret the melody with deep blues feeling, conjuring a late night air of intrigue. Also, check out Coltrane’s whimsical soprano on “Big Nick,” or the tenderness displayed by the players on Billy Strayhorn’s “My Little Brown Book.”

Customer Reviews


You don't have to be a jazz afficionado (and i'm not) to appreciate the beauty of this record and the virtuosity of Coltrane and Ellington. The opening track is stunning.

A classic pairing

This is one of the iconic pairings in jazz. It is in many ways more an Ellington than a Coltrane session. The material is primarily that of Ellington and Coltrane’s improvisations largely respect the material. Still within those limitations it is a beautiful recording. A couple of the pieces, “Take the Coltrane,” and “Big Nick,” provide Coltrane with material more typical of his style and Ellington (and the rhythm section) do a fine job of accompanying him on that material. Ellington’s accompaniment may be more “classical” than McCoy Tyner’s or Monk's, but it was still very appropriate. “Stevie,” “My Little Brown Book,” “Angelica,” and “The Feeling of Jazz” are all very well done. “In a Sentimental Mood” is a masterpiece.

johnny boy and duke

can't believe i'm the first to review this album. it is okay. i mean duke ellington is pretty good and coltrane plays less notes than he usually does. like i probably could have done better. whatever. still sometimes i like to listen to it when i take the browns to the superbowl,


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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