December 02, 1994 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it an A-

A major reissue, Early Ellington: The Complete Brunswick and Vocalion Recordings of Duke Ellington, 1926-1931 is the first-ever complete set of these recordings. Such masterworks as ”Creole Rhapsody” and ”Black Beauty” stand alongside delightful rarities (including numbers with the legendary Bill ”Bojangles” Robinson), plus some not-so- delightful ones (a white singer, Dick Robertson, affecting a stereotypical black dialect on ”Is That Religion?”). Ellington’s genius for orchestration elevates them all. A-

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