This unusual set only has four Duke Ellington compositions among the 11 songs. He features a different soloist on most of the songs (which include seven standards not associated with Ellington's music). There are showcases for trumpeter Cat Anderson, Ray Nance (who sings and plays violin on "I Can't Get Started"), singer Jimmy Grissom, baritonist Harry Carney, and the altos of Johnny Hodges and Russell Procope, as well as two apiece for clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton and tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves. The closing "Blues" gives many of the players an additional opportunity to be heard. Although this set is not essential, the music is quite enjoyable and it is interesting to hear Duke Ellington playing such tunes as "Laura," "My Funny Valentine," and "Indian Summer."
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow