Format: Compact Disc
Released Date: March 9, 2010
Genre: Big Band
Style: Jazz Instrument
Number of Discs: 1
Originally Released: 1959
Label Name: Essential Jazz
Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano); Johnny Hodges (alto saxophone); Ben Webster (tenor saxophone); Roy Eldridge, Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet); Lawrence Brown (trombone); Les Spann (flute, guitar); Billy Strayhorn (piano); Al Hall, Wendell Marshall (bass); Jo Jones (drums).
Producer: Norman Granz.
Reissue producer: Ben Young.
Recorded in August 1958 and February 1959. Includes liner notes by Nat Hentoff and Alun Morgan.
Digitally remastered by Kevin Reeves (Polygram Studios).
This is part of Verve's Master Edition series.
Sort of a "Reader's Digest" version of the Ellington band--head tunes followed by a series of solos, jam session style. In this case the soloists include altoist Hodges, tenor icon Ben Webster and Harry "Sweets" Edison on variously muted and plungered trumpet. There's just enough arranging to keep things together and give SIDE BY SIDE a "little big band" feel, as on "Big Shoe," when Hodges, Webster, trumpeter Roy Eldridge and trombonist Lawrence Brown (another Ellington veteran) seem to breathe as one on the four-part opening statement that sets up the blowing.
Ellington himself is at the piano for this and two other cuts; the ensemble for the balance of the set features long-time collaborator, co-composer and musical alter ego Billy Strayhorn at the keyboard, which is illuminating in and of itself. The repertoire tends towards Ellington and Hodges tunes, presumably cooked up for these dates. Jo Jones is on drums throughout, and bass chores are handled by Al Hall or Wendall Marshall. The Duke/Sweets/Hall ensemble also includes understated flute and electric guitar from Les Spann.