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Greatest Hits

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Album Review

Unlike some of the entries in RCA Victor's beginners' introduction to jazz CD series, this collection does contain quite a few "hits." Other than 1928's "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" and a 1967 rendition of "Lotus Blossom," the music on the set dates from 1941-46. The performances (available in more coherent and complete form elsewhere) are all worth hearing although the packaging (which does not bother to list the personnel other than a few soloists) is poor. But novices who can find this set at a reasonable price may want to pick it up; highlights include the original version of "Take the 'A' Train," "I Got It Bad" and remakes of "Mood Indigo," "Caravan" and a spirited version of "It Don't Mean a Thing."


Born: April 29, 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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