Duke Ellington, jazz’s greatest composer, produced a Herculean quantity of music in 50 years. Through his music’s increasing sophistication in the ?s, ?s and ?s can be heard in the jazz expression itself. “The Definitive Duke Ellington” includes the ingenious combination of jazz’s most loved instrumentalists with William “Cat” Anderson on his screaming trumpet, Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton on the blaring trombone, and the talented Johnny Hodges on his clarinet, soprano and alto sax.

Any jazz enthusiast will listen to this recording time and time again when they get their hands on it from the PBS special “Jazz” by the acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns. This once-in-a-blue-moon assortment can only be found at pbs.org. The giants of jazz titled it the all-time most popular collection of songs. This includes a live recording of Jeep’s “Blues,” a slow, strung-out piece featuring a sassy sax solo and a background pianist to die for. Also on this CD are the classic jazz songs you’ll love such as “Mood Indigo,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got That Swing),” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Take the ‘A’ Train,” and “Satin Doll.” The chic ballad “Come Sunday” will blow you away when you hear Ray Nance featured on violin with elegant piano backing him up.

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“The Definitive” is a must have! I have listened to it over and over again for three years straight.

Editor’s Note: Although this CD is available only on www.pbs.org, check stores for others with Duke Ellington.