Even back in the early ’50s, Columbia Records took Duke Ellington seriously enough to place this album on its prestigious Masterworks label. The young Louie Bellson was powering the Ellington band at that time, and his revolutionary double-bass drum technique and rare ability to build coherent drum solos are put to astounding use on his self-penned leadoff track, “Skin Deep,” which was quite a demonstration piece for audiophiles at the time. Old favorites from the Ellington hit parade are given extended treatments, with singer Betty Roche taking the A-Train for a bebop-flavoured ride, “The Mooche” spotlighting clarinettists Jimmy Hamilton and Russell Procope, and Ellington‘s boogie-woogie piano kicking off a super-charged “Perdido” for trumpeter Clark Terry. The centrepiece of the disc is a sharply drawn, idiomatically swinging, probably unbeatable performance of “A Tone Parallel to Harlem”. On this CD also 6 bonus tracks from 1947.