Blues Summit

Duke Ellington

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Blues Summit Review

by Scott Yanow

Reissued as the two CDs Back to Back and Side to Side, this very enjoyable double LP includes two related sessions. The main one is both unusual and delightful for it features altoist Johnny Hodges and trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison leading a sextet that found Duke Ellington on piano. The repertoire is inspired, a variety of jam tunes including several by W.C. Handy, and both Sweets and Hodges are heard at their most expressive. The remainder of this two-fer teams Hodges and trombonist Lawrence Brown with tenor-great Ben Webster and the exciting trumpeter Roy Eldridge; this time Billy Strayhorn is on piano and the music is almost as memorable. Highly recommended in one form or another.