When he died in 1942, Duke Ellington's 21-year-old bassist, Jimmy Blanton, had liberated the string bass from its traditional role as an accompanist. Two of Blanton's disciples, Ray Brown and Oscar Pettiford, carried forward his work of developing the bass into a solo instrument. Their contributions had a great deal to do with bebop's becoming a mature music. More than 30 years after Blanton's death, Brown went into a studio with Ellington to pay homage to his idol. Their duets echo the famous ones of Ellington and Blanton and demonstrate Brown's creativity and virtuosity on the Blanton model.