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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



Sure Shot 652 194 673-2





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

10. Solitude

11. Take the “A” Train

12. April in Paris

13. Perdido

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.

Tony Augarde

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