Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano); Coleman Hawkins (tenor saxophone); Johnny Hodges (alto saxophone); Harry Carney (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet); Ray Nance (cornet, violin); Lawrence Brown (trombone); Aaron Bell (bass); Sam Woodyard (drums).
Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna.
Recorded at the Rudy Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on August 18, 1962. Includes liner notes by Stanley Dance and Michael Cuscuna.
Digitally remastered by Erick Labson (MCA Music).
All songs written or co-written by Duke Ellington.
Surprisingly, this Impulse album is the only recorded meeting between these two swing giants. Born just five years apart, Ellington and Hawkins led parallel lives through the swing era, but somehow never ended up in a recording studio together until this 1962 session. The pairing is certainly a good one that should have been repeated more often. Hawkins' famously robust tenor sax fits in seamlessly with Ellington and a small group of his top sidemen including Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, and Ray Nance. These old pros work smoothly through a relaxed set of new and old Ellington compositions.
Q (2/96, p.104) - 3 Stars - Good - "...a lively small group session from 1962...a mellower, sweeter-toned Hawkins than usual..."