Duke Ellington was recorded via transcription discs for special broadcasts by the U.S. Treasury Department to help send war bonds during World War II. These well-recorded programs are reproduced from vintage sources that have obviously been handled with care over the decades. This two-CD set compiles three separate broadcasts of live concerts, complete with Ellington reading stiffly scripted bond promos and irritating announcers often talking over the introductions to the songs. But these live sets include overlooked ballads, such as "Everything but You" and "Don't You Know I Care," as well as songs not typically associated with Ellington, like Earl Warren's "9:20 Special" and Jimmy Van Heusen
's "A Friend of Yours." The popular instrumentals ("C-Jam Blues" and "In a Mellotone") are present, but so are less-frequently performed Ellington pieces like "Solid Old Man" and "Sugar Hill Penthouse." One of the highlights of this volume is a seven-minute workout of "Frankie and Johnny," which includes Ray Nance
's swinging violin solo; a disc of this length was still unknown on commercial 78 rpm discs available at the time. Although Duke Ellington's series of Treasury Shows
aren't the place for the novice jazz fan to begin, seasoned collectors will find a lot of joy within each of them.