Coltrane and Ellington, Ellington and Coltrane
July 19, 2012
I’ll leave up to you to decide, I don’t want to start a top billing fight here. Luckily for us, the music company did this work for us. The Duke Ellington & John Coltrane recording is fantastic! I didn’t even know it existed until I saw the movie Love Jones. It was recorded on September 16, 1962 and released in February 1963. It is a quartet recording, a departure from the big band format that Ellington was famous for. I had to find the song, In a Sentimental Mood, featured in the film.
This particular song starts out as a smooth, slow, steamy ballad, and then suddenly bursts into a lively piano solo followed by Coltrane’s sax. It switches gears again and mellows back out. The next tune, Take the Coltrane, is a fast paced tune that features dazzling solos. Big Nick is up next. It sounds like a leisurely walk in the park. Coltrane rules this tune. My favorite tune is Stevie. It is the epitome of swing; all cool cat stuff. It starts swinging right out the gate and only swings harder. Coltrane takes center stage first, but you hear the seasoning of Ellington throughout the sax set. The Billy Strayhorn ballad My Little Brown Book is next. Kind of melancholy I think. It’s one of those tunes that maybe it’s melancholy, maybe sensual, or maybe uplifting. It all depends on the place and time and mindset at which you listen to it. That classic jazz downbeat hits hard throughout, and the song builds slowly but consistently to a high place then falls into a short Ellington solo. Ellington’s piano sounds like a feather falling to the earth. Beautiful! Angelica is up next: upbeat and bubbly, feel good and cool. Ellington and Coltrane mirror each other than do their own things. The final tune is The Feeling of Jazz. It’s got swing, it's bluesy, it's improve, it's bass and drum downbeat, and it's jazz!
You would think that the younger Coltrane would blow away his senior Duke but no. Ellington was 63 years old when this album was recorded, and Coltrane was 36. Ellington still swings throughout showing the buck a thing or two.
South Independence Branch