Duke Ellington and Coleman Hawkins – Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins

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Duke Ellington and Coleman Hawkins were both involved in unusual collaborations in the early 1960s, often with much younger musicians: Ellington with Max Roach and Charles Mingus (Money Jungle) and with John Coltrane; Hawkins with Roach and Sonny Rollins. As surprising as any of those inter-generational sessions, however, is this 1962 meeting between Ellington and Hawkins, if only because it hadn’t happened before. With a band of Duke’s greatest veterans–alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges, baritone saxophonist Harry Carney, trombonist Lawrence Brown, and Ray Nance on trumpet and violin–it’s classic small-group Ellingtonia with one essential difference. “Limbo Jazz” and “The Ricitic,” pulled together for the occasion, are playful tunes with touches of lounge Latin. The latter becomes a delightful dialog focused on Nance’s violin and Hawkins and Ellington’s inspired accompaniment. The finest moments come with “Mood Indigo,” a beautiful vehicle for Hawkins’s warmly rambunctious tenor, and “Self-Portrait of the Bean,” an Ellington-Strayhorn tribute that Ellington only finished in the studio on the day of recording. Rising to the special moment, Hawkins invests the ballad with extraordinary depth and grace. –Stuart Broomer

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).

Tracklist

01. Limbo Jazz
02. Mood Indigo
03. Ray Charles’ Place
04. Wanderlust
05. You Dirty Dog
06. Self Portrait (Of The Bean)
07. The Jeep Is Jumpin’
08. The Ricitic

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