Duke Ellington

Complete, Vol. 14: 1939

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The next-to-last volume in French CBS's definitive (but now out-of-print) LP series, this two-fer has combo sides led by altoist Johnny Hodges, clarinetist Barney Bigard and trumpeter Cootie Williams, a pair of numbers with a vocal group called The Quintones and bassist Jimmy Blanton's first recordings with Ellington's full orchestra. Whether it be "I'm Checkin' out Go'om Bye," "The Sergeant Was Shy," "Tootin' Through the Roof" or some of the lesser-known tracks, this music is consistently enjoyable and timeless.