Best of the Duke Ellington Centennial Edition (1999 Remastered)
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This compilation of some of Ellington's most popular, enduring, and important RCA Victor sides from a period of 40 years (October 26, 1927, to August 30, 1967) consists of 18 tracks, drawn from the remastered tracks on BMG's 24-CD Ellington Centennial box. That's hardly enough to address the range of changes in Ellington's style, but it does give the casual listener a glimpse of that range — "Mood Indigo" sounds light years beyond "Black and Tan Fantasy" or "East St. Louis Toodle-o," and it's only four tracks in, while the development of Ellington's musical language only got more sophisticated. So, this is a rushed history lesson, a handy "Monarch notes"-type look at the man's work. The producers have very shrewdly included the "Mood Indigo-Hot and Bothered-Creole Love Call" experimental long-play (for 1932) medley, clocking in at more than seven minutes, and presented here in stereo, one of the unique elements of the box, to wet the appetite of the budgetary-challenged. Otherwise, all of the expected bases are touched ("Take the 'A' Train," etc.), up through the soaring, lyrical "Come Sunday" from the First Concert of Sacred Music and the upbeat, energetic "Raincheck," from Ellington's 1967 memorial to Billy Stayhorn. As with the box, the sound is largely impeccable, with stunning delineating of the soloists' work and a rich, full texture to the ensemble sections. There's a little sloppiness in the annotation, which could've been cleaner, but this is a otherwise a handy mid-priced compilation and a worthy teaser for a monumental career survey.
Born: April 29, 1899 in Washington D.C.
Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s
Top Albums and Songs by Duke Ellington
||In a Sentimental Mood||Duke Ellington & John Coltrane||4:15||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||The Feeling of Jazz||Duke Ellington & John Coltrane||5:29||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy)||Three Suites||3:05||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||My Little Brown Book||Duke Ellington & John Coltrane||5:19||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Take the Coltrane||Duke Ellington & John Coltrane||4:42||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Rhapsody In Blue||Recollections of the Big Band Era||4:48||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Angelica||Duke Ellington & John Coltrane||5:53||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Stevie||Duke Ellington & John Coltrane||4:22||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||Big Nick||Duke Ellington & John Coltrane||4:27||$1.29||View In iTunes|
||I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) [Take 1]||The Very Best of Duke Ellington||3:21||$0.99||View In iTunes|