It’s St. Patrick’s Day but, alas, I have absolutely zero Celtic albums in my collection. It’s true, I’m not one for the “diddley-diddley shit” type of music.
This is a 1961 album released on Columbia Records that I found at the Record Fair in Hamilton, Ontario last weekend.
At first glance this collaboration should not have worked, but take the Kansas City-style streamlined swing of Count Basie’s band and put it together with the omni-American “total jazz” of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and you’ve got one helluva memorable session.
The Duke Ellington and Count Basie Orchestras had already been competitors for 25 years but the leaders’ mutual admiration (Ellington was one of Basie’s main idols) and some brilliant planning made this a very successful and surprisingly uncrowded encounter.
On most selections Ellington and Basie both play piano (their interaction with each other is wonderful) and the arrangements allowed the stars from both bands to take turns soloing. ‘Segue in C‘ is the highpoint but versions of ‘Until I Met You‘, ‘Battle Royal‘ and ‘Jumpin’ at the Woodside‘ are not far behind.
Oh hell, I’ll put it out there that the entire Side Two might be among the greatest sides of any jazz album – period!