IMPD-162 Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins
Produced by Bob Thiele
Released on 1962
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
IMPD-162 cover
[high resolution scan]

T oward the end of their careers, Bean and Duke (with Jeep) finally sat down together to make some music. Producer Bob Thiele captured it all on tape: Duke’s gilded graybeards and the tenor titan playing like age was nothing but a number. Among the latter-day Duke pairings, this one is especially important (to me anyway) because it gave Hawkins an elevated platform from which to wave goodbye (he stopped recording a few years later). Bean the masterful balladeer is at his best on “Mood Indigo” and “Self Portrait (of the Bean),” the latter written by Duke for the occasion. Also featured here are some swinging numbers that showcase Johnny “Jeep” Hodges, “The Jeep Is Jumpin’” and “Ray Charles’ Place,” and a pair of terrific Latin-styled pieces, the delightful “Limbo Jazz” and “The Ricitic.” In 1995, Impulse reissued the disc in a suitably classy repackage with a bonus track from the session, the soulful “Solitude.” Although co-credited to Coleman Hawkins, this is really the Duke’s court with Hawk sitting in as a visiting dignitary. And in a sense, everyone here is royalty: Hodges, Ray Nance, Harry Carney, Lawrence Brown and the “young” rhythm section of Aaron Bell and Sam Woodyard. Hawkins insinuates himself comfortably into the music, taking short solos in “Limbo Jazz” and “Ray Charles’ Place,” standing in the spotlight shining for “Self Portrait” and “Mood Indigo.” Ellington, by comparison, is almost invisible in his own music, his ivories at the heart of everything but pumping quietly, shaping his songs through silent gestures like a master magician. Ellington and Hawkins had traveled many miles and seen many things before reaching this, their talked-of meeting at some musical oasis of chance. Here Hawkins, under the shade of Duke’s genius and in the company of a remarkable caravan, is refreshed for a day, and us, for any hour of our choosing through the ages. On a more trivial note, I’ve seen some reference to the record’s original release date as February 1963, but I haven’t been able to confirm that (or most of Hawkins’ release dates) yet.


  1. LIMBO JAZZ    (Duke Ellington)    5:13
  2. MOOD INDIGO    (Duke Ellington/Irving Mills/Barney Bigard)    5:55
  3. RAY CHARLES' PLACE    (Duke Ellington)    4:04
  4. WANDERLUST    (Duke Ellington/Johnny Hodges)    4:58
  5. YOU DIRTY DOG    (Duke Ellington)    4:18
  6. SELF PORTRAIT (OF THE BEAN)    (Duke Ellington)    3:52
  7. THE JEEP IS JUMPIN'    (Duke Ellington/Johnny Hodges)    4:50
  8. THE RICITIC    (Duke Ellington)    5:50
  9. (*CD bonus track:) SOLITUDE    (Duke Ellington/Edgar DeLange)    5:51


AARON BELL -- bass
LAWRENCE BROWN -- trombone
HARRY CARNEY -- baritone sax & bass clarinet
COLEMAN HAWKINS -- tenor sax
JOHNNY HODGES -- alto sax
RAY NANCE -- cornet & violin
Rudy Van Gelder -- recording engineer
Michael Cuscuna -- reissue producer
Joe Alper -- photography
Hollis King -- art direction
Jason Claiborne -- graphic design
Stanley Dance -- liner notes

US 1962 Impulse! LPm/s A-26 avail. in mono & stereo versions
US 1995 Impulse! CDX IMPD-162 digital remaster w. bonus track
JPN 2001 Impulse! CDX UCCI-9046 digital remaster w. bonus track


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