To call this CD (a reissue of a Pablo date) an all-star session would be an understatement. Joining pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Bobby Durham are three classic trumpeters: Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, and Freddie Hubbard. They clearly inspire each other (Gillespie flew in from the East Coast specifically for this date) and the music ("Daahoud," "Just Friends," the new blues "Chicken Wings," and a torrid version of "The Champ") has plenty of exciting moments.
Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington were (and are) two of the main stems of jazz. Any way you look at it, just about everything that's ever happened in this music leads directly – or indirectly – back to them. Both men were born on the cusp of the 19th and 20th centuries, and each became established as a leader during the middle '20s. Although their paths had crossed from time to time over the years, nobody in the entertainment industry had ever managed to get Armstrong and Ellington into a recording studio to make an album together. On April 3, 1961, producer Bob Thiele achieved what should be regarded as one of his greatest accomplishments; he organized and supervised a seven-and-a-half-hour session at RCA Victor's Studio One on East 24th Street in Manhattan, using a sextet combining Duke Ellington with Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars.
This is B.B. King's most delightful recording of the '90s. He duets with other blues greats, including Koko Taylor ("Something You Got"), Buddy Guy ("I Pity the Fool"), Etta James ("There's Something on Your Mind"), Ruth Brown ("You're the Boss"), and his dear friend John Lee Hooker ("You Shook Me"). The peaks come in his guitar shootout with Texas Telecaster slinger Albert Collins on "Call It Stormy Monday" and his high-spirited run-in with Katie Webster, who steals their performance of "Since I Met You Baby" with her saucy asides.