The Great Summit Master Takes

It’s strange, given both their prolific nature as recording artists and the communal spirit of Jazz, that it wasn’t until 1961 that Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong cut a record together. Who knows maybe it’s a miracle they ever did. Ellington and Armstrong in their way ,though, represent the most personable elements of two different sides of Jazz. The former represents a sophisticated and emotional eloquence very well educated in the evolved blues structure. Ellington could write like either Gershwin, really. The latter represents the restless innovation of melody and execution. Armstrong’s career is a document of reinvention, no matter how many times he recorded a tune it’s never the same. They find common ground on this record in their mutual honesty, wit, and elegance. Pops and Duke play excellent renditions of Duke’s classic songs and old Satchmo is between tours and at the height of his game. The Complete Sessions are a worth while investment of time but for the old school charm of only hearing a song once per album check out the Master Takes.

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