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The Essential Duke Ellington

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Album Review

The Essential Duke Ellington, a two-CD set, differs from previous Columbia/Legacy Duke Ellington reissues in that the music is drawn not only from Sony's vaults but from BMG's vaults, too. Four selections are from the 1920s, 20 date from the 1930s, seven are from the 1940s, and the final six were recorded between 1950 and 1960. Is this an essential acquisition? Most Ellington collectors will already have all of these performances in more complete fashion, while general collectors should realize that this two-fer does not cover Ellington's final 14 years and largely overlooks most of the highlights from the 1950s. However if it is found at a budget price, this set can act as a decent introduction to the remarkable Ellington. Among the many highlights are "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo," "Hot And Bothered," "Rockin' In Rhythm," "It Don't Mean a Thing," "Caravan," "Mood Indigo," "Cotton Tail," and the 1950s version of "Perdido," plus four small-group items (headed by Ellington's sidemen) from the '30s.

Customer Reviews


Finally available on iTunes. This is easily the best Ellington collection; hit versions of his biggest songs, spanning record labels and decades. There are so many bunk hits collections on iTunes, it's nice to finally see something legit available. I've been waiting.


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...
Full Bio

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The Essential Duke Ellington, Duke Ellington
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  • $14.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Easy Listening, Swing, Big Band
  • Released: Jun 27, 2005

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