1. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
2. Ain’t Misbehavin’
3. Sophisticated Lady
4. Sugar Rum Cherry
5. Gypsy Without a Song
6. Mood Indigo
7. I Ain’t Got Nothin’ but the Blues
8. How High the Moon
9. Rhapsody in Blue
11. Take the “A” Train
12. April in Paris
14. Harlem Nocturne
This album consists of less than 45 minutes of music. It seems to have been assembled without much thought, to attract any innocent who wants to explore
the Duke without any prior knowledge of Ellington and his music. The album title may mislead, as not all the tracks were “hits”. And there are no details
of personnel, composers, recording dates, etc. Nor are there any helpful sleeve-notes. To add insult to injury, the sound quality is hardly top-class.There
are many better compilations on the market, especially as this disc appears to cost full price.
Admittedly, Ellington fans may be attracted to the album because it contains a few rarities, like Gypsy Without a Song. Sugar Rum Cherry
is from the Ducal interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. And Rhapsody in Blue was only recorded in 1962. Two tracks feature
vocals by singers who only recorded with Ellington occasionally: Solitude is a version sung by Billie Holiday, and Mood Indigo
features the trumpet and vocals of Louis Armstrong. The numbering of tracks 12 and 13 should be reversed: April in Paris is number 13 and it
sounds very similar to Count Basie’s classic interpretation, although Duke first recorded the tune in 1940. Harlem Nocturne doesn’t sound like the
Ellington Orchestra, and I am doubtful if they ever recorded it!
Buyer beware! This album is of very limited interest.