523

Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington: The Great Summit/Complete Sessions

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington: The Great Summit/Complete Sessions A collector’s item, The Great Summit places two fathers of jazz together in the studio with a small ensemble. It was Louis Armstrong’s all-star band with guest pianist Duke Ellington, and 1961 marked a gradual turning in both artists’ careers. In time, both would use their instruments less often, as matters turned toward other paths. Armstrong’s trumpet was still sparkling full and bright with his distinctive phrasing. Trummy Young and Barney Bigard made ideal sidekicks. Three of the 17 numbers are instrumental arrangements without vocals. Over two hours, the 2-CD set offers quite a few subtle surprises. Disc two contains rehearsals, false starts, miscues, and session conversation. It’s interesting to sit and listen as the band agrees on particular musical ideas and then performs them.

The extensive liner notes by Dan Morgenstern provide ample information on the session; he and Stanley Dance were present. Duke Ellington wrote "Azalea" 20 years earlier with Armstrong in mind. The phrasing does seem made for this trumpeter/singer, and of course it turns out as one of the session’s high points. "Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me" is an unusual arrangement of the classic song, with nonstandard harmony and tension. Same for "The Mooche." These are unique arrangements. "Just Squeeze Me" contains a loping cowboy rhythm in the trombone part; recall that television westerns were then quite popular. With his trumpet tone wearing a bit thin, Armstrong was moving toward more frequent use of vocals. He scat sings "Cottontail" with that sound we’ve heard only from this source. The trumpeter’s characteristic shake, his expressive vocals, the all-star band’s cohesiveness, and Ellington’s lovely piano support make this collection a special item. Don’t miss it.

Track Listing for The Great Summit: The Master Takes :Duke’s Place; I’m Just a Lucky So and So; Cottontail; Mood Indigo; Do Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me; The Beautiful American; Black and Tan Fantasy; Drop Me Off in Harlem; The Mooche; In a Mellow Tone; It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing); Solitude; Don’t Get Around Much Anymore; I’m Beginning to See the Light; Just Squeeze Me; I Got it Bad (And That Ain’t Good); Azalea

Track Listing for The Making Of The Great Summit :In a Mellow Tone; I’m Beginning to See the Light; Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me; Don’t Get Around Much Anymore; Duke’s Place; Drop Me Off in Harlem; I’m Just a Lucky So and So; Azalea; Black and Tan Fantasy


Personnel: Louis Armstrong- trumpet, vocals; Duke Ellington- piano; Trummy Young- trombone; Barney Bigard- clarinet; Mort Herbert- bass; Danny Barcelona- drums.

Title: The Great Summit/Complete Sessions | Year Released: 2000


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read The Crave CD/LP/Track Review The Crave
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub) CD/LP/Track Review Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)
by Joe Gatto
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965 CD/LP/Track Review Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965
by Doug Collette
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "More Essentials" CD/LP/Track Review More Essentials
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "All Terrain Guitar" CD/LP/Track Review All Terrain Guitar
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "The Roc" CD/LP/Track Review The Roc
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Blooming Tall Phlox" CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Obfusc/ation" CD/LP/Track Review Obfusc/ation
by Doug Collette
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "My Iris" CD/LP/Track Review My Iris
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: February 18, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.