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Highlights from the Centennial Edition

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Album Review

It's hardly surprising that RCA's 24-disc set The Complete Duke Ellington on RCA was only affordable to the scholars and the fanatical, so the appearance of a compilation of consolidated highlights was inevitable. The thing is, a three-disc set of highlights would still be considered a box set by most standards; after all, Columbia/Legacy's centennial Ellington set was a three-disc set of the highlights of his time at Columbia and OKeh. That said, the three-disc Highlights From the Centennial Edition (1927-1973) is still a great bargain for anyone that can't sink two month's salary into the full set. Trainspotters and fanatics alike will spot missing recordings among these 49 tracks, but nearly all of the essentials from his stint at RCA are here, making it a good alternative for the budget-conscious.


Born: 29 April 1899 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Duke Ellington was the most important composer in the history of jazz as well as being a bandleader who held his large group together continuously for almost 50 years. The two aspects of his career were related; Ellington used his band as a musical laboratory for his new compositions and shaped his writing specifically to showcase the talents of his bandmembers, many of whom remained with him for long periods. Ellington also wrote film scores and stage musicals, and several of his instrumental works...
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