Thursday, June 30, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Duke Ellington and Count Basie

Artist:Duke Ellington and Count Basie
Song:Segue In C
Album:First Time! The Count Meets The Duke

As I have said in the past, when Duke Ellington's career was revived in the late 50s, one of the things he decided to do was record with other jazz legends. After all, he wasn't getting any younger. This included albums with Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus. Of course in Ellington's heyday of the 40s, Count Basie was considered to be Ellington's greatest rival. I don't think there was ever a real rivalry between the two. It seems like any rivalry was fan motivated. Both bands were outstanding but they had different styles. But when First Time! was recorded, the two bands did work together. You can clearly hear this on Segue In C which was written by Basie sax player Frank Wess and the Basie band first recorded it on the 1959 album Chairman Of The Board. Basie and Ellington both solo on the song. And I think Wess and trombonist Benny Powell also solo. But the integration is seamless. You won't know that there are two bands on this album. It could have been a big mess but it isn't. Columbia wanted to call the album Battle Royal after the Ellington song that leads off the album. But Basie balked at the album title as he thought the recording session was very genial. So obviously Basie didn't think there was a rivalry. In 1999, Sony released First Time! with several bonus tracks. These are mostly alternate takes but there are a couple of songs that weren't on the original album. And it's available as a budget CD. It's a must for Ellington and Basie fans. Here's a video of Segue In C by Duke Elington and Count Basie.

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