This installment of the Classics label document of the Duke Ellington story highlights recordings for the Musicraft label in November and December 1946, four V-discs recorded in New York on May 10, 1947, and the first sessions for Columbia in August and September 1947. Considering the financial challenges of keeping a large ensemble performing in the late '40s (which would have an almost devastating effect in the early '50s,) Ellington not only managed to continue creating intriguing music but he maintained a legendary horn section. These dates feature Ray Nance, Taft Jordan, Shorty Baker, Cat Anderson, Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope, Tyree Glenn, Wilbur De Paris, Al Sears, and Harry Carney. Six vocal pieces are also included: one each from Kay Davis and Chester Crumpler, two featuring Al Hibbler, and Ray Nance clowns around on "Tulip or Turnip" and "Women (They'll Get You)."
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AllMusic Review by Al Campbell