Duke Ellington & John Coltrane

Duke Ellington & John Coltrane.

A bit like “Money Jungle”, this is Ellington challenging himself and playing with some of those young whippersnappers.

It’s an interesting matchup, because Ellington, especially as a pianist, is the master of subtle harmony and the light touch. While Coltrane is the master of the grand gesture and is not particularly known for playing quietly. Ahem, to say the least.

And indeed, while Coltrane does run his modes over Ellington’s light moods, it is Ellington’s sophisticated and advanced chord harmonies that take the day and provide the highlights to this session.

To me, the song that best exemplifies a cooperative spirit of give and take between the artists is Ellington’s “Stevie”. Though, “Take the Coltrane” is pretty great, as well, I really enjoy the two of them mirroring each other in the head. And it’s great to hear Coltrane playing in a lighthearted mood on Big Nick and The Feeling of Jazz.

In any case, a thoroughly enjoyable album.

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