The first is an intriguing collection of recordings by Ellington stars astutely drawn from no less than six different labels of the Fantasy family by Bob Porter. The outstanding track is of “Mood Indigo,” for besides valuable statements by Clark Terry, Paul Gonsalves and Britt Woodman, there is a unique one by Ellington’s supreme soloist, Johnny Hodges. The set opens with the surprise combination of Shorty Baker and Budd Freeman, plus another bossman from Washington on piano-Claude Hopkins. Taft Jordan appears very creditably and consistently three times, and Ben Webster in a very personal version of “Come Sunday” as well as with trombonist Bill Harris on “In a Mellotone.” There are a couple of cute Betty Roche vocals, a masterly “Concerto for Cootie” by Cootie Williams with some Miami cats, and a sextet version of “Things Ain’t” on which Hilton Jefferson is the alto soloist.
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