Thursday, March 22, 2012

Duke Ellington, Count Basie
"The Count Meets the Duke: First Time!"

This Columbia six-eye vinyl was first released in 1961. The previous owner of this particular record had the decency to ensure his record was never misplaced by putting a mailing label right on the record. Genius.

I'm not sure whether it was the idea of Mr. Basie & Mr. Ellington to record with each other, or if it was the marketing genius of some honcho at Columbia; either way, we should be glad the project was finished. These are the sort of conversations that will be had forever: "what if so-and-so recorded with such-and-such? That would be epic, dude."

This encounter is surprisingly laid-back. It's actually surprising and refreshing to hear how both the Count and the Duke spend more time batting rhythmic accompaniment back and forth than trading solos.
The backing orchestras are really the stars and listening to them trade between solos and accompaniment is fun. The contrast is made all the easier because Count Basie's orchestra is in your left year; Duke Ellington's in the right.

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