In conjunction with the release of Ken Burns' ten-part, 19-hour epic PBS documentary Jazz, Columbia issued 22 single-disc compilations devoted to jazz's most significant artists, as well as a five-disc historical summary.
Since the individual compilations attempt to present balanced overviews of each artist's career, tracks from multiple labels have thankfully been licensed where appropriate. This volume features many of Duke Ellington's best-known standards, including "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo," "Black and Tan Fantasy," "Mood Indigo," "Caravan," "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," "Sophisticated Lady," "Take the 'A' Train," and the later-period comeback hit "Satin Doll."
For the sake of unity, Ellington's longer-form works aren't emphasized here, nor are extended live tracks like the legendary 1956 Newport Jazz Festival version of "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue," which revitalized Ellington's career. Instead of undertaking the impossible task of recounting that career over a single disc, Ken Burns Jazz concentrates on the Ellington pieces that are burned the most indelibly into jazz history. As such, it's a very strong, cohesive introduction to one of the largest, richest, and most influential bodies of work in American music.
Steve Huey ~ All Music Guide
|Brand||Columbia / Sony Music|
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