Song:In A Mellow Tone
Album:The Great Summit: The Master Takes
When Duke Ellington's career was revitalized in the late 50s, he decided to be more open to collaborating with other jazz legends including Count Basie, John Coltrane and Coleman Hawkins. After all, he wasn't getting any younger. One would have thought that over the years Ellington must have recorded with Louis Armstrong. But Ellington never did that with anyone and he had never recorded with Armstrong. So it was a big deal when producer Bob Thiele got them to record together on Apr. 3, 1961 in New York City. This was for Roulette Records. The two days of recording sessions were released by Roulette on two LPs. Together For The First Time was released in 1961 and The Great Reunion was released in 1963. Fortunately you can get them all on one CD. The band on these recording was the current edition of Louis Armstrong and his All Stars. There was Barney Bigard on clarinet, Trummy Young on trombone, Mort Herbert on bass and Danny Barcelona on drums. All the songs are from Ellington's catalog. In A Mellow Tone aka In A Mellotone was first recorded by Ellington in 1939. Because Ellington was under contract to Columbia at the time, this led to Roulette allowing Count Basie to record with Ellington soon after. And Bob Thiele produced Ellington's albums with Coltrane and Hawkins at Impulse Records. So Thiele deserves a lot of credit for getting Ellington to record these important albums. The current version of The Great Summit available on CD as The Master Takes was released by Blue Note in 2001. In 1990, a Complete Sessions CD was released with a second CD of outtakes. But that version is out of print. This album is obviously a must for any jazz fan as it is the only time these legends recorded together. Here's a video of In A Mellow Tone by Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.