Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins (1962)


I remember listening to this album for the first time. I was caught by the aspect of fun that “Limbo Jazz’ contained. Whoever is scatting in the background is really having a great time! Does anybody know who it is? It’s not any of the horn players, and it doesn’t sound like Duke.

The track that I played on repeat was “Wanderlust”. It’s a blues that has a hint of shuffle in it. I like to play it on gigs as an alternate blues head – it’s a nice change to the usual suspects.

When I think back, I remember being bored with Coleman Hawkins’ playing. It just didn’t capture me, but I was totally enamoured with Johnny Hodges – especially on “The Jeep Is Jumpin'”.


I recently listened to the recording and it was like I had never heard it before!

First off, Coleman Hawkins is such an interesting player. I have found my way back to Coleman Hawkins through some exercises that Tim Price had given me. After I wrote my own lines, he said that it had some Hawkins-like sounds in them. I hit my Hawkins collection hard and I hear much more of what he’s doing now than ever before. Check out the track “You Dirty Dog” – his double-time playing is so hip!

Also, Duke’s comping – the way he supports the soloist, or the entire ensemble – he seems to place his sounds where they absolutely need to be.

This album gives me quite a few ideas for my own writing. Ellington’s use of unison lines vs. the use of harmony in moving parts is incredible! It’s interesting to hear how much unison playing the horns play, and then, all of a sudden, they’re in harmony! It sneaks up on you.

I could probably go on for pages and pages about this recording, but check it out for yourself – it’s well worth it!


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