Great Britain's Proper made a name for itself by doing four-disc box sets that were career retrospectives and issuing them at very little cost. The sound was better than acceptable and the presentation, while a little generic, still had decent liner notes and usually full discographical information. Then they began to issue single-disc compilations culled from the same material, which is where we find ourselves with this Duke Ellington set. If you live in the U.K. or Europe and do not have access to any of the terrific Sony Legacy compilations or reissues, this might be an acceptable excuse. That said, it is difficult to see any point in issuing this incomplete, sketchy set of Ellington classics without context other than that they come from the early years to his middle period. Yes, all the "hits" are here, and of course the bands were all top-notch. That said, the sessions here are all available elsewhere -- often for the same money or better -- so this amounts to little more than a generic best-of. Unless you have no other choice, leave this one off your list.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek