A Duke Ellington album from the early '60s, RCA's In a Mellotone comprises 16 performances by Duke Ellington & His Orchestra during what many consider to be his peak period. The program is highlighted by such classics as the original version of "Take the 'A' Train," "Just A-Settin' and A-Rockin'," "I Got It Bad," "Perdido," "Cotton Tail" and "All Too Soon." With such soloists as trumpeter Cootie Williams (who was replaced by Ray Nance) and Rex Stewart, trombonists Tricky Sam Nanton and Lawrence Brown, altoist Johnny Hodges, clarinetist Barney Bigard, Ben Webster on tenor, baritonist Harry Carney and the innovative bassist Jimmy Blanton (in addition to the leader/pianist), this was one of the all-time great orchestras. This is a strong sampling.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow