Duke Ellington is one of the true irreducibles in jazz. Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker were more brilliant as soloists, but neither could touch him as a bandleader, composer, or musical visionary. This entry in Prestige's Jazz Giants series finds some of the greatest names in jazz applying their prestigious chops to some of Duke Ellington's finest music. Ellington himself appears on four of the tracks and bandmembers like the sainted Johnny Hodges ("Mr. Silvertone") and others pop up in different configurations of the Ellington Orchestra. Along the way, we find the sounds of John Coltrane, Clark Terry, Joe Pass, Miles Davis, Red Garland, Philly Joe Jones, Donald Byrd, Hank Jones, Wes Montgomery, Ron Carter, Ben Webster, Sonny Rollins, Ray Brown, Louie Bellson, Kenny Clarke, Milt Jackson, Art Tatum, Benny Carter, and Oscar Peterson amidst the various lineups onboard -- all jazz giants indeed. Each of them brings something unique to the tunes at hand, with the live versions of "Prelude to a Kiss" and "Satin Doll" from a 1967 concert with Duke and the band being the true highlights of this delightful collection. Sir Duke's memory is served well with this disc.
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AllMusic Review by Cub Koda