This 23-track round-up of the bandleader's 1932-1933 output still offers enough in the way of quality originals and stellar playing to keep most Duke enthusiasts happy. The first half contains the choicest selections, including such top-notch ensemble vehicles as Benny Carter's "Jazz Cocktail" (his arrangement is used, too) and superb Ellington charts like "Slippery Horn," "Blue Harlem," and "Lightnin'." The latter half does sag a bit with several vocal novelties featuring Ivie Anderson, the Mills Brothers, and Adelaide Hall, but the always excellent contributions of Johnny Hodges, Lawrence Brown, Barney Bigard, and Cootie Williams keep things in check. An enjoyable slice of early Ellingtonia that's may be best left to the more trench-friendly of early jazz lovers.
Yes!! Finally, here it is: "200 Motels" in all its glory. We've all seen this movie as it got released on VHS video years and years ago. And now, here's the high quality DVD version. "200 Motels" got shot in 1971 and featured Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention plus Ringo Starr and Keith Moon, to drop just two names. Now that I think of it, Zappa always had this thing for drummers… Anyway, "200 Motels" is a milestone in Zappa's career. I'm not too big a fan of the vaudeville aspect and the on-the-road stories, as you cannot keep on laughing with it, but the music is fabulous. It's Zappa at his best.