In the '70s, French RCA did a perfect job of reissuing Duke Ellington's priceless recordings for its associated labels, releasing everything cut through 1952 (including all of the alternate takes) on 24 LPs also available in five box sets. No other reissue program conducted by RCA (whether on LP or on CD) comes close, although these sets are unfortunately out of print. The five volumes trace Ellington's legacy from 1927-30 and, along with a few period vocals and novelties, is overflowing with classics. Get it if you can.
The Works of Duke, Vols. 1-5
The Works of Duke, Vols. 1-5 Review
by Scott Yanow