Reference: FSRCD 575
Includes extensive booklet with recording details, extensive notes and rare photos.
Back to back, or side by side, Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges form a duo which, in terms of sustained jazz artistry, has never been rivaled. The Ellington fanciers will be well rewarded, for there are many passages of Dukes unusual and charming solo improvisations. Johnny Hodges, Duke said, has complete independence of expression. He says what he wants to say on the horn, and that is it. He says it in his language, from his perspective, which is specific, and you could say that his is pure artistry. Hodges carries most of the melodic statements of well-known blues standards, but gets in his share of ad lib choruses along with the swinging trumpet of Harry Sweets Edison. This is one of the most thoroughly relaxed, conversational jazz sessions ever recorded.
01. St. Louis Blues (W.C. Handy) (5:47)
02. Royal Garden Blues (Williams-Williams) (5:24)
03. Beale Street Blues (W.C. Handy) (7:35)
04. Loveless Love (W.C. Handy) (7:09)
05. Basin Street Blues (S. Williams) (8:02)
06. Weary Blues (A. Matthews) (6:54)
07. Squeeze Me (Waller-Williams) (4:36)
08. Wabash Blues (F. Meinken-D. Ringle) (6:25)
09. Stompy Jones (Ellington) (6:37)
10. Going Up (Ellington) (4:51)
Total time: 63:00 min.
Tracks #1-6 and 8 originally issued as
"Back to Back" (Verve MGV-8317).
Tracks #7,9 and 10, were originally issued on
"Side by Side" (Verve MGV-8345).
Personnel on all tracks:
Harry Edison (tp), Johnny Hodges (as), Duke Ellington (p), Les Spann (g), Sam Jones (b), Al Hall (b on #6-10) and Jo Jones (d).
Recorded in New York City, February 20 & 26 (#6-10), 1959.
The tracks on this compilation follow the order of their Verve matrix numbers. However, regarding the recording date, at least one source says that all tracks were recorded in a single session on February 20.
Original sessions produced by Norman Granz.
This compilation produced by Jordi Pujol.
"An album with the spotlight on Hodges, though Duke is omnipresent [...] Some fine small dates with Hodges up-front and Duke Ellington around the corner."
Ron Wynn -All Music Guide
"As Duke Ellington's altoist during 1928-51 and 1955-70, Johnny Hodges became world famous and beloved by jazz fans. His luscious tone and melodic style on ballads, blues and swing tunes was highly influential, making him the top altoist (along with Benny Carter) before the rise of Charlie Parker. Hodges led quite a few sessions of his own along the way,. During 1951-55 broke away from Ellington to lead his own combo, before returning for another 15 years.
While Mosaic previously released Hodges' solo recordings of the 1950s on two box sets, those are long out of print. Fresh Sound has come out with four reissues dating from that era. One of the most fun CDs in this batch is Side By Side (FSR 575) which has Hodges and Duke Ellington jamming blues-oriented material in a sextet with trumpeter Harry Sweets Edison (who often steals the show) and guitarist Les Spann in 1959."
Scott Yanow -Los Angeles Jazz Scene (May, 2010)