* "Duke Ellington: The Reprise Studio Recordings," Mosaic. Ellington's brief tenure at Reprise in the early '60s is not generally regarded as a high point in his stellar career. But there's an undeniable fascination in hearing how this remarkable artist--whose orchestra (with Cootie Williams, Ray Nance, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Paul Gonsalves and others) was still a major musical force--dealt with the dramatic changes taking place in '60s music. And where else can one hear the Ellington orchestra offering its version of the music from "Mary Poppins"? (See Django Reinhardt segment, above, for information on distribution.)
* "Rosemary Clooney: Songs From the Girl Singer," Concord. There are those who would argue with Clooney's inclusion in a jazz roundup, and some of the material here is, at best, lightweight pop fluff. But Clooney's supple voice and inherent rhythmic drive make even the fluffiest numbers, such as "Come On-A My House," come alive. But even her earlier work--"Tenderly," for example--revealed skills reaching beyond the pop world. And, on the selections in which she has the opportunity to swing a bit with a small group, her innate jazz understanding is front and center. Appropriately, there's a lovely, fairly new version of "White Christmas," and Clooney's soulful rendering of Dave Frishberg's "Do You Miss New York?" will surely bring a tear to the eye of every former denizen of the Apple.