Duke Ellington & Johnny Hodges : Back to Back

Duke Ellington & Johnny Hodges : Back to Back


Duke Ellington (piano), Johnny Hodges (alto sax), Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet), Les Spann (guitar), Al Hall, Sam Jones (bass), Jo Jones (drums) 

Verve 6065

Speakers Corner Records : LP 180 gram

Brand New and Sealed Record

Discontinued : last copy available!...

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A1 - Wabash Blues
A2 - Basin Street Blues
A3 - Beale Street Blues
A4 - Weary Blues
B1 - St. Louis Blues
B2 - Loveless Love
B3 - Royal Garden Blues

Recorded on February 20, 1959 at Columbia 30th Street Studios, New York City.

When Norman Granz signed Johnny Hodges to a recording contract in 1951, it was a prelude to Hodges' leaving the Duke Ellington orchestra to lead his own small band. Four years later Hodges was back in the Ellington fold, but he continued to record for Granz under his own name.

The Blues! Played again and again. Rediscovered and reinvented again and again. The foundation of all different types and styles of popular music from 1890 to the present day! Although not always recognizable as such, and often labeled Blues although not adhering to the strict form, it has provided the basis for music by such diverse artists as Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Eric Clapton. It was obvious that the Duke, too, should devote a complete LP to this theme. But instead of inviting his whole orchestra into the studio, he only chose the rhythm group and Johnny Hodges, his star soloist on the tenor saxophone. In addition he asked Harry 'Sweets' Edison, who played muted trumpet in the Count Basie Band, to join them. Did they consult with one another? These musicians don't need that sort of thing! Arrangements? What for? For the Blues? Absolutely unnecessary! It's in our blood! Playing the Blues is outdated? No way! Just listen to our "Royal Garden Blues"! Modern Riffs in every single second! By the way: this latter number is the only true blues - strictly speaking - among these nine titles.
And there is something less well known to discover among the numbers recorded at the 1959 session: although he himself described his orchestra as his most important and best instrument, as a pianist the Duke proves to be an excellent accompanist in this small combo.

This Speakers Corner LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the original analogue studio tapes through to the cutting head, and was pressed with virgin vinyl at Pallas. More information under http://www.pure-analogue.com