Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington

In 1961, Duke Ellington went into the recording studio with Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars. Over two days, they recorded 17 songs, which were initially released on two LPs: Recording Together for the First Time and The Great Reunion (a misleading title, since there was never a “reunion”).

In the years since these recordings have been reissued in various forms, often including all 17 master takes on one release. More recently this event has come to be referred to as “The Great Summit”, as seen in The Great Summit: The Master Takes, as well as The Making of the Great Summit (a collection of alternate takes and false starts), and The Great Summit: The Complete Sessions which compiles the previous two.

What I propose to do with these:

  1. Create/rename a single RG called “The Great Summit” which would include all releases that have all 17 master takes. This would have an “includes” relationship to the two original LP release groups. This means merging several RGs and moving some releases from other RGs.
  2. Move “The Great Summit: The Complete Sessions” into its own RG, which would have an “includes” relationship to both the new “Great Summit” RG and the “Making Of” RG.

Other than the title of the “Great Summit” RG, I don’t think any of that should be controversial. Since there’s no consistency to the titling of the various 17-track releases, and this name is being used by the highest profile recent releases, it seems a good choice to me.

In addition I have a couple of questions:

  • There is a very old annotation on the US release of The Great Summit: The Master Takes that reads: " DO NOT merge with The Great Summit - The Complete Sessions (disc 1). Although identical in track listing, it is not identical in times, and this was issued prior to The Complete Sessions." The annotation was added by an auto-editor (albeit one who hasn’t been active in many years). The track lengths are mostly off by 2-3 seconds, with one as much as 7 seconds off. I would be inclined to treat this as mastering differences and merge these tracks. In a number of cases, they’ve already been merged anyway, in spite of the annotation. Does anyone see reasons to not merge?
  • I’m not sure what to make of this release: The Great Reunion. It has all 17 tracks, claims to be a Roulette release but has what looks like Mobile Fidelity cover art, and links to a discogs entry with a different title. Neither the editor who added it nor the editor who submitted the cover art are still active.
  • Finally, there is the release The Best of Louis Armstrong which contains 16 of the 17 master takes, but omits “Duke’s Place”, and includes one track (“We Have All the Time in the World”) by Armstrong alone. (It also claims the Armstrong-Ellington tracks are by “Louis Armstrong with the Duke Ellington Orchestra”, which is wrong as Armstrong never recorded with Ellington’s group.) Moving this to the “Great Summit” RG would help to clarify the true source of these tracks, but since it’s not complete I’m a bit hesitant.