It’s quite astonishing but true: it took 20 years for 'Hawk' and 'The Duke' to get together in the recording studio. The Ellington septet provides a rich carpet of sound for the full tone of the tenor sax and gives 'The Bean' (as Coleman Hawkins was also called) all the room in the world for his lengthy improvisations. Hawkins finds his way with surprising ease in Ellington’s world and such hits as "Mood Indigo" and "The Jeep Is Jumpin’" demonstrate to the full the amazing class of the ensemble and soloists. The "Self Portrait Of The Bean" is a further, highly successful number by one of the greats of jazz history; when the piece came to an end, Duke jumped off his piano stool and shouted »Magnifique!«. And we should join him, for this is a truly splendid album! Additionally, it is a testimony to the mutual respect and recognition of the musicians.
What a piece of luck that this recording is now available once again as an LP. There’s not even a tinge of patina on these 45-year-old recordings.