This two-disc set provides a low-cost introduction to two of jazz's greatest bandleaders, with a disc each devoted to Duke Ellington and Count Basie, both of them giants of 20th century music. Ellington brought intelligence and sophistication to jazz as a songwriter, composer, arranger, pianist, and bandleader, and he touched down everywhere, from solo recordings to orchestral works and extended suites. Basie came out of the 1930s Kansas City jazz scene as a hot stride piano player, but his ability to lead and tighten any ensemble he worked with, bringing out the best solos from his players, was his real strength. Jazz, and pop music in general, would be unrecognizable without the contributions of these two giants. ~ Steve Leggett
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