on 23 February 2010
This set covers all of Duke Ellington's recordings from the beginning of his recording career up to early 1929, including multiple versions of various tunes recorded for different companies. Sound quality is very acceptable. Unfortunately, JSP's second volume ("Cotton Club to Sweden") is merely a "best of" box set covering 1929-40, rather than continuing the "complete works" approach of this first set. Very odd. However, this one's essential!
on 13 May 2014
Good collection, good price, good delivery.
Anyone who enjoys early Ellington will enjoy this. The first disc has some early acoustic recordings that are interesting and a little harder on the ear, however, the rest of the music is well transcribed from excellent recordings for the period. A good cross section of the period.
on 14 April 2012
In 2011 I embarked on the major project of trying to assemble a worthy Ellington collection. This four disc collection covers much of the early ground and at such a reasonable price is a worthy addition to an Ellington library. Consequently it is a purchase that I do not regret. That said some of the sound quality is variable which, I suppose, is hardly surprising. Apart from the truly great exception of the wonderful Ivie Anderson Ellington did not always do well with his girl vocalists and some of their offerings, particularly on disc 4, are of seriously questionable merit. To my mind the set is saved by some excellent purely instrumental numbers which include fine examples of the great growlers Bubber Miley and Joe Nanton.