Personnel includes: Duke Ellington (arranger, piano); Johnny Hodges (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Otto Hardwick (soprano, alto & baritone saxophones); Harry Carney (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet); Barney Bigard, Prince Robinson (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Paul Gonsalves (tenor saxophone); Louis Metcalf, Bubber Miley, Cootie Williams, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Cat Anderson (trumpet); Ray Nance (cornet); Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol (trombone); Fred Guy (banjo); Les Spann (guitar); Joe Benjamin, John Lamb, Aaron Bell (bass);
Sonny Greer, Jo Jones, Sam Woodyard, Rufus Jones (drums).
Producers: Norman Granz, Bob Thiele.
Compilation producer: Andrew Homzy.
Recorded between November 29, 1926 and April 10, 1972. Includes liner notes by Andrew Homzy.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
This compact overview of some 50 years of Duke Ellington's music mixes familiar stuff like "East St. Louis Toodle-oo," "Black and Tan Fantasy," and "Take the 'A' Train" with lesser-known pieces like the rambunctious, 1920s-vintage "Jubilee Stomp" and "Rent Party Blues," as well as the more sophisticated 1950s swing of "Stompy Jones." It also showcases Ellington's extraordinary musicians over the years--talents like the 1920s-era trumpeter Bubber Miley, saxophonist Ben Webster, who performed with Ellington in the early 1940s, and longtime stalwarts like Johnny Hodges and Harry "Sweets" Edison. The sublimely inventive, two-part "Creole Rhapsody" demonstrates Ellington's fluid piano style, his powerful 1930s horn section, and his unique arranging skills.