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The festival at Antibes/Juan-les-Pins, on the French Cote D'Azur, had already established itself as a destination for jazz lovers drawn to the lovely Mediterranean summers, when events follow each other throughout the season. The jazz event enjoyed an excellent reputation through the 1960s, and remains one of the top jazz festivals in the world. Now, Mosaic's 3 LP re-release of "Ella & Duke at the Cote D'Azur" on 180-gram vinyl recalls the event for a new generation of listeners. It is a re-release of the original 2-LP set, plus the Ellington album "Soul Call" issued from the same concerts. Essentially, our set presents everything that was chosen, approved and released by the producer and the artists at the time.
The concert format presented Ellington and Ella together with the orchestra; the orchestra alone without vocals; and Ella with a sometimes stripped-down version of the orchestra, but mostly accompanied by the Jimmy Jones Trio. Where Ella's studio performances could be almost too perfectly lovely and self-possessed, in these concert dates she seemed to connect to the lyrics with unique emotionalism, and to an inner confidence that allowed her to stretch beyond the norm. The Ellington orchestra was his mid-sixties configuration featuring long-time associates Cootie Williams, Lawrence Brown, Harry Carney, Ray Nance, and the great Johnny Hodges, plus Cat Anderson, Mercer Ellington, Russell Procope, Sam Woodyard, Paul Gonsalves and more, including special guest appearances by Ben Webster and Jo Jones.
Friends since the 1930s, Ella and Duke only recorded later in their careers: first for their collaboration on the Ellington installation of her series of "Songbook" sets in 1957; during the "Ella at Duke's Place" recording in 1965; and earlier the same year of the Cote d'Azur recordings for the "Stockholm Concert". Clearly for these two, getting together was more than a casual gig. It was a opportunity to celebrate their combined contributions to the music.
Mosaic's set - available in an LP-only release - includes 20 compositions, an historical analysis and track by track breakdown by Brian Preistly, plus many rarely seen
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