This twenty-two-track collection covers Ellington's productive post-WW II period. Recorded between 1946 and 1947, 22 ORIGINAL BIG-BAND HITS was digitally remastered from recordings that were produced originally for radio broadcasts. Pulling no punches, this collection of Ellington standards opens with a rousing version of Ellington best known tune, Billy Strayhorn's "Take the A Train." From there on out, the collection takes listeners through Ellington's band standards of the time: "How High the Moon," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "The Mooche," "Tea for Two," and the achingly soft "Passion Flower."
Highlights include a weepy reading of "Moon Mist," complete with deliciously fat horn lines played by alto saxophonist and longtime Ellington associate Johnny Hodges. Additionally, the delightful "Pretty Woman," one of the few vocal tracks, features crooner Al Hibbler, whom Ellington lured from Jay McShann's band. Ellington's interpretation of Strayhorn's achingly beautiful "Passion Flower" leaves no doubt Ellington was, in addition to being one of the greatest American jazz composers, a superb interpreter of others' compositions.