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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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With Johnny Hodges /
Coleman Hawkins /
Count Basie

Avid AMSC 1157



Back to Back

1. Wabash Blues

2. Basin Street Blues

3. Beale Street Blues

4. Weary Blues

5. St. Louis Blues

6. Loveless Love

7. Royal Garden Blues

Harry Edison - Trumpet

Johnny Hodges – Alto sax

Duke Ellington – Piano

Leslie Spann – Guitar

Jo Jones – Drums

Sam Jones – Bass (tracks 2, 3, 5-7)

Al Hall - Bass (tracks 1, 4)

Side by Side

8. Stompy Jones

9. Squeeze me

10. Going Up

11. Big Shoe

12. Just a Memory

Johnny Hodges – Alto sax

Jo Jones - Drums

Duke Ellington – Piano (tracks 1-3)

Harry Edison – Trumpet (tracks 1-3)

Al Hall – Bass (tracks 1-3)

Leslie Spann – Guitar, flute (tracks 1-3)

Ben Webster – Tenor sax (tracks 4-9)

Roy Eldridge – Trumpet (tracks 4-9)

Lawrence Brown – Trombone (tracks 4-9)

Wendell Marshall – Bass (tracks 4-9)

Billy Strayhorn – Piano (tracks 4-9)

The Count Meets the Duke First Time!

13. Jumpin’ at the Woodside

The Count Basie Orchestra

Count Basie - Piano

Thad Jones, Sonny Cohn, Snooky Young, Lonnie Johnson - Trumpets

Henry Coker, Quentin Jackson, Benny Powell - Trombones

Marshall Royal - Clarinet, alto sax

Frank Wess - Alto sax, tenor sax, flute

Frank Foster, Budd Johnson - Tenor saxes

Charlie Fowlkes - Baritone sax

Freddie Green - Guitar

Eddie Jones - Bass

Sonny Payne - Drums

The Duke Ellington Orchestra

Duke Ellington - Piano

Cat Anderson, Willie Cook, Fats Ford, Eddie Mullins - Trumpets

Ray Nance - Trumpet, violin

Louis Blackburn, Lawrence Brown, Juan Tizol - Trombones

Jimmy Hamilton - Clarinet, tenor sax

Russell Procope - Alto sax, clarinet

Paul Gonsalves - Tenor sax

Harry Carney - Baritone sax, clarinet, bass clarinet

Aaron Bell - Bass

Sam Woodyard - Drums


Side by Side

1. Let’s Fall in Love

2. Ruint

3. Bend One

4. You Need to Rock

Duke Ellington meets Coleman Hawkins

5. Limbo Jazz

6. Mood Indigo

7. Ray Charles’ Place

8. Wanderlust

9. You Dirty Dog

10. Self Portrait (Of the Bean)

11. The Jeep is Jumpin’

12. The Ricitic

Duke Ellington – Piano

Coleman Hawkins – Tenor sax

Ray Nance – Cornet, violin

Johnny Hodges – Alto sax

Harry Carney – Baritone sax, bass clarinet

Aaron Bell – Bass

Sam Woodyard – Drums

The Count Meets the Duke First Time!

13. Battle Royal

14. Take the “A “ Train

15. Wild Man

16. BDB

Personnel as for CD1, track 13

Two of Duke Ellington’s best albums were recorded without his whole orchestra. They were a couple of sessions taped in 1959 by a small group containing a few Ellingtonians and some others. The LPs were entitled Back to Back and Side by Side, and they make up the best part of the first CD of this double album. I don’t know what the vaunted “Phase Compensated Stereo” is, but I can’t hear any difference from the recordings I know.

The advantage of the small groups was that they left more room for solos – which are good to hear, especially as they are from some top jazzmen. The atmosphere was like an informal jam session, and the recordings had a nice reverberant acoustic, giving the recordings depth and presence.

The personnel for Back to Back was essentially the same as for the first three tracks of Side by Side. There were only two Ellingtonians (Ellington and Hodges). I was glad to hear guitarist/flautist Les Spann in the line-up, as he is a fine player and appeared on far too few recordings before he died. Jo Jones’ echoing drums add bite to the proceedings. The repertoire includes three blues by W.C. Handy and the soloists seem relaxed and eloquent, leaving plenty of space between the notes to create an airy atmosphere.

Side by Side includes two compositions by the Duke: Stompy Jones, the well-known vehicle for leisurely improvisation, and the rare Going Up (also known as Floor Show). It is good to hear these excellent musicians extemporizing buoyantly on such jazz standards as Fats Waller’s Squeeze Me and Harold Arlen’s Let’s Fall in Love. Best of all is Ben Webster and Johnny Hodges developing Just a Memory with relaxed ease.

I reviewed The Count Meets the Duke in 2012 and have nothing to add to that review, except to stress my opinion that To You is the best track on the CD and, despite its flaws, this album is indispensable for anyone’s collection. But the five tracks here are out-takes from the recordings. I can’t mention many noticeable alterations in these versions, although the solos are obviously different. But it is clear why these were out-takes. For instance, the flute makes a fluff towards the end of Wild Man.

I also reviewed the Coleman Hawkins disc in 2014.

Tony Augarde

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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