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The Great Summit: The Master Takes

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The Great Summit - The Master Tapes
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Audio CD, January 9, 2001
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The Great Summit: The Master Takes + Blues in Orbit + Ellington At Newport 1956
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Product Description

In 2000 we offered a 2-CD set featuring music plus studio conversation from the April 1961 meeting of these two giants in New York. Now Blue Note has put out this single CD containing just the music from that historic event-all 17 master takes ( Black and Tan Fantasy; Don't Get Around Much Anymore; I'm Just a Lucky So and So; Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me , etc.) with superb remastered sound!

For starters, The Great Summit produced not only itself, both with this Master Takes set and the two-CD Complete Sessions, but also a later summit, Count Basie and Ellington's tandem showdown, First Time. On its own, though, The Great Summit needs no later chapters to justify its celebrated standing in jazz annals. This was and is terrifically important music: Ellington is in grand form between recording the Paris Blues soundtrack and cutting ace sessions like Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins and Duke Ellington and John Coltrane in late 1962. For his part, Armstrong was on leave as well, resting up between ceaseless tours as a bona fide jazz superstar and veteran. So Ellington and Armstrong join hands, backed by the latter's band (Trummy Young on trombone, Barney Bigard on clarinet, Mort Herbert on bass, and Danny Barcelona on drums), tackling 17 of Duke's tunes. Armstrong's sweet, rolling vocal growl gives the tunes endless hugs, just as his band both cuts plump solos and then backs way off so Ellington can throw down alternately swinging and unapologetically modernist solos himself. --Andrew Bartlett

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Duke's Place (1990 Digital Remaster) 5:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. I'm Just A Lucky So And So (1990 Digital Remaster) 3:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Cotton Tail (1990 Digital Remaster) 3:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Mood Indigo (1990 Digital Remaster) 3:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me (1990 Digital Remaster) 2:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. The Beautiful American (1990 Digital Remaster) 3:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Black And Tan Fantasy (1990 Digital Remaster) 3:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Drop Me Off In Harlem (1990 Digital Remaster) 3:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. The Mooche (1990 Digital Remaster) 3:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. In A Mellow Tone (1990 Digital Remaster) 3:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (1990 Digital Remaster) 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Solitude (1990 Digital Remaster) 4:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. Don't Get Around Much Anymore (1990 Digital Remaster) 3:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. I'm Beginning To See The Light (1990 Digital Remaster) 3:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. Just Squeeze Me (But Don't Tease Me) (1990 Digital Remaster) 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
16. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) (1990 Digital Remaster) 5:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
17. Azalea (1990 Digital Remaster) 5:02$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 9, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Parlophone
  • ASIN: B00005614N
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,853 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 105 people found the following review helpful By William E. Adams on April 9, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Oh, my gosh. Some dude nicknamed Duke plays piano on 17 of his own compositions. Featured is a trumpeter and singer nicknamed Satchmo, who brought along five of his band members. They recorded on two consecutive days in NYC in April, l961. They were geezers, and the record buyers were paying more attention to Miles and Coltrane and Brubeck at the time, although both old guys were still touring and pleasing audiences. Then Bob Thiele, a producer of all kinds of music, including Buddy Holly, but mainly a jazz expert, got Louis Armstrong and Mr. Ellington together at last. He couldn't get the whole Ellington Orchestra, so he compromised and got the Armstrong All-Stars as backup. The result is this total 67-minute masterpiece (and now a two-disc version as well, adding the rehearsal takes.) If you claim to love American music, buy one of these darn sets as quickly as you can. The sound is superb, the performances divine. If you don't love this, e-mail me and I'll buy your copy at a discount. But check for a heartbeat, because you may be dead and not realize it. This is the jazz pioneers' version of "Kind of Blue" in my opinion. The CD deserves much wider notice than it gets. Originally released on the small Roulette label, the album seems to have been overlooked even by Duke and Satchmo fans, which amazes me. If there are nearly 400 reviews of "Kind of Blue" posted on Amazon at this point, surely there should be 100 fans commenting on "The Great Summit."
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Tony Thomas on January 28, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Norman Grantz who set up these dates was always casual and a bit cheap on production for the series of great ones together records he made. Many of these Louis with Ella or the Duke or whomever were done on a day or two's notice when Louis and whomever else Granz wanted him to record with happened to be in New York in the midst of touring.

Yet, for many of the artists, Louis and the Duke included, the natural chemistry that comes with genius, and knowledge of each other's work produced something great and new and wonderful. This is certainly the case here.

What is never said here, overlooked entirely, and can be a joy to the truth jazz lover is this is Louis's Swing Album. Louis transcends jazz genre to be sure, but I know of no Louis Armstrong album that is so much of a swing album. Thus it is to be studied or enjoyed or both as a special treat

You get things here that are simply not available anywhere else. There is never enough of Ellington playing piano solid with solos like he takes here, without the band being behind his driving rhythm, his subtle inflections, his commentaries.
On the other hand, there is very little of Louis playing and singing swing tunes as opposed to the New Orleans or Pop repertoire. For both Ellington and Armstrong there is hardly any other time when they are working together with an equal, perhaps only in the great Armstrong/Fitzgerald combinations, and in the live concerts with Ella that the Duke did do we find anything near an equal.

While I like Barney Bigard's work here, it really doesn't rise to the occaision the way that it sometimes did working with the Duke in the late 1930s, or some of his work with the all stars. Frankly, I think Jimmie Hamilton would have been more interesting here, helping the occaision be what it is, Louis showing he can swing too.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 30, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Collaborations can be tricky things. Once in a great while two artists - people with no prior connection to each other and no plans of ever working together again, from different countries, cultures, generations - step into a studio and create magic. The place lights up, the combo gels, and a best-of-genre level record is produced. John Coltrain/Johnny Hartman, Ella Fitzgerald with Louis Armstrong, Getz/Gilberto, Sinatra/Jobim, Oscar Peterson with just about anyone.
Other times what seems like a natural pairing leaves both parties looking worse than they did when they went in; check out "Dylan and the Dead" if you dare.
And then there's sessions like Sinatra/Ellington or this one. Not great, by no means bad, not what they could have or should have been, and occasionally brilliant.
While Armstrong and Ellington are the twin towers of the jazz landscape, they are very different temperments. Louis is Storyville, exhuberent, red hot. Duke is Harlem Renaissance, sophisticated, cool blue. They don't always fit together, and the rest of the players are left to take sides.
The band is unfamiliar with the charts and Duke is unfamiliar with the band, so the composite rhythm section doesn't always click into place, and the tunes are somewhat under-rehearsed.
When it works it really, really, really works. Black and Tan (the most New Orlean-sy sounding tune on the album) is remarkable, Beginning to See The Light makes you do just that, It Don't Mean A Thing is definitive, and I Got It Bad (And That's Not Good) may well be the best recording of anything ever.
Also worth getting for the premiere of Azalea, Louis's rewritten words to Drop Me Off In Harlem, and of course that second disk where the whole thing takes shape.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Louis Gudema on April 27, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is my favorite jazz CD, even better than Davis's "Kind of Blue," Armstrong's "Great Chicago Concert," Artie Shaw's "Highlights from Self Portrait," Sintra's "Songs for Swingin' Lovers," Ella (singing almost anything), and "The Complete Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong." Armstrong's All-Stars with Duke sitting in on piano, playing all Ellington. Great compositions with great improvisations.
Just listen to the five samples provides. "Cottontail" opens with consecutive solos by Ellington, the great Barney Bigard, Armstrong, and trombonist Trummy Young, then later features a great scat "verse" by Armstrong. Almost every one of the cuts is as strong.
This was the CD that brought clarinetist Barney Bigard to my attention. He played for years with Ellington's band, then with Armstrong's All-Stars, and I later read in Gary Giddins's "Satchmo" that Armstrong considered him the best jazz clarinetist he ever worked with. Listen to his solos on "Cottontail" (one is in the sample) and "Beautiful American", as well as his sparkling repartee with Armstrong on "In a Mellow Tone."
Buy it and enjoy -- over and over.
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