The ultra-affordable Charly Budget label presents 18 selections recorded by Duke Ellington & His Orchestra between the years 1927 and 1931. This sampling represents an essential part of the canon of early Ellington and of classic big-band jazz in general. If the producers meant to send out to the four corners of the world inexpensive and easily accessible time capsules of vintage music from the heart of the Harlem Renaissance so as to ensure a global awareness of the collective Afro-American cultural legacy, they have succeeded admirably, because this compilation has found its way into regions of mass marketing where jazz is not always welcome, understood, or properly promoted. Here are Duke Ellington's original compositions, performed by the musicians for whom the works were specially designed. While other more carefully produced collections will certainly provide listeners with greater insights and more contextual information, the ready availability of these classic recordings is encouraging and even heartwarming.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf