Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges ‎– Side By Side (Full Album)

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Although it is billed as a Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges album, Side by Side is a 1959 album mostly under the leadership of Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington’s alto saxophonist for many years. Ellington only appears on three of this album’s tracks. The album places Hodges at the fore, backing him with piano by Ellington or Billy Strayhorn and providing other accompaniment by well-known jazz figures like Ben Webster, Roy Eldridge, Harry “Sweets” Edison and Jo Jones. The album, a follow-up to the popular Back to Back: Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges Play the Blues, has remained perpetually in print.

AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook
Topping off a wealth of full-band recordings, the various stars of Ellington’s great outfit recorded many combo sides under their own names. And while not on the same sophisticated level of classic Ellingtonia, the late-’30s material cut by Johnny Hodges, Cootie Williams, and Rex Stewart is packed with tasty solo work and some of the finest examples of early small-group swing. These later examples from 1958-1959 feature Hodges backed by both Ellington and Billy Strayhorn on piano and such non-Duke luminaries as Ben Webster, Roy Eldridge, Harry “Sweets” Edison, and Jo Jones. Like its companion album, Back to Back, Side by Side has a loose, jam session feel, with all the soloists stretching out. Hodges is in top form throughout, while Edison and Webster man their spots just fine. Highlights include the sveltely swinging “Going Up” and Hodges’ bluesy closer, “You Need to Rock.” A must for fans of vintage combo swing.

Track listing:
“Stompy Jones” (Duke Ellington) – 6:38
“Squeeze Me” (Fats Waller, Clarence Williams) – 4:36
“Big Shoe” (Jimmy Hamilton) – 5:37
“Going Up” (D. Ellington) – 4:51
“Just a Memory” (Ray Henderson, Lew Brown, Buddy DeSylva) – 5:53
“Let’s Fall in Love” (Harold Arlen, Ted Koehler) – 6:47
“Ruint” (Mercer Ellington, Johnny Hodges) – 2:32
“Bend One” (Hodges) – 2:59
“You Need to Rock” (Hodges) – 5:52

Tracks 1, 2 and 4
Duke Ellington – piano
Johnny Hodges – alto saxophone
Harry “Sweets” Edison – trumpet
Les Spann – flute (track 4 only), guitar
Al Hall – bass
Jo Jones – drums
These tracks were recorded February 26, 1959

Tracks 3 and 5 through 9
Johnny Hodges – alto saxophone
Roy Eldridge – trumpet
Lawrence Brown – trombone
Ben Webster – tenor saxophone
Billy Strayhorn – piano
Wendell Marshall – bass
Jo Jones – drums
These tracks were recorded August 14, 1958