On December 19, 1950, the Duke Ellington Orchestra recorded four songs in an abandoned church Columbia Records had recently converted into a studio. By that point recording sessions were old hat to Duke, and three of the four songs (“Mood Indigo,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Solitude”) had been staples for over 15 years. Yet surely there was a buzz in the air, as Masterpieces of Ellington was Duke’s first-ever LP, a format that offered the orchestra an opportunity to stretch out considerably more than on 78s. Also, the musicians and the engineers must have jumped at the possibility of beginning to reflect what the orchestra sounded like in person—and the results are captured exquisitely in the Analogue Productions 180-gram vinyl reissue. Remastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound from the original analog tapes, the record was plated and pressed at Quality Record Pressings. The depth and space when those rich chromatic harmonies create a wide and well-defined soundscape, the timbre of the orchestra as a whole as well as individual instruments, and the thick, wooden sound of Wendell Marshall’s bass are among the aural pleasures provided when you drop a needle on this platter; expect goose bumps.