Only one famous "hit" on this compilation -- a lovely "Sophisticated Lady" from 1970 featuring the marvelous Harry Carney on baritone sax. The rest of the collection is a delightful mixed bag of short pieces recorded from '69 to '71, and a discographically unique extended 20 minute suite from 1959.
Standouts among the short tunes are a two of Duke's rock-and-roll-riff-and-blow tunes, "Bateau" and "Mendoza." I love Duke Ellington's rock-and-roll music, sounding like oddball 1960s party music movie soundtracks, with slightly dissonant bluesy riffs, excellent solos from his unparalleled band of virtuoso improvisers, and great rocking drums from the terrific Rufus "Speedy" Jones. The other short tracks feature Johnny Hodges and other great soloists in 3 of Duke's almost-always excellent vignettes. Excellent throughout, on this record.
The album's extended piece, "The Queen's Suite," was originally recorded and privately cut onto one single LP by the Duke at his own expense, as a gift to Queen Elizabeth of England for her private enjoyment in 1959. (The release date cited by Amazon might be wrong; I have read that the Queen's Suite was not made commercially available until after the Duke's death in 1975.) Written by Ellington and Strayhorn, the suite of six short pieces is highlighted by two additions to the Ellington Orchestra's canon of gorgeous "sweet" tunes in slow tempo & dreamy timbre, "Sunset and the Mocking Bird," and "The Single Petal of a Rose." A unique and evocative, almost fairy-tale-like story in the annals of discography, imagining the Duke presenting a Queen with a personal record for her ears only recalls the era of chivalry. A noble gift from a Duke to a Queen. Nobody else would have done it. And the music is beautiful.
This review refers to the Pablo Best of Ellington. For some reason Amazon has attached it to Best of Ellingtons from other record companies too, which are completely different records and which I haven't heard. I would give any Duke record a presumptive 5 stars until proven otherwise, but the Pablo Best Of is the only one I thoroughly vouch for.