There is certainly no shortage of Ellington compilations on the market. However, this one stands out in including two long solo tracks from 1966 by ‘the piano player’ (12 and 8 minutes, respectively): a nine-song medley and an extended version of 'New World A-Comin’'plus the full band in the not too often heard 1962-session made for the Goodyear tyre company. The latter has the band playing with more than average gusto. The remaining nine live-recorded songs from 1943 and ’49 offer excellent solos by Ben Webster and Johnny Hodges in particular (although the former’s solo on ‘Cotton Tail’ is a bit less stringent than the original version), and show how much exuberance the band could project, no matter what the circumstances were, in spite of a grueling touring schedule. And – as was also the case with Louis Armstrong’s All Stars – even though the listener knows the arrangements inside out, there are often little surprises to be found.