Duke Ellington is my all time favorite jazz musician. Technically he was a composer and band leader, but the music he made and pioneered is phenomenal. Every emotion imaginable has been captured through his music, and there is energy in every piece he wrote.
The first CD I ever purchased of Duke's was his Compact Jazz: Duke Ellington and Friends album. It gave me all my all time favorite song of his, Caravan. Incidentally it also gave me my all time favorite rendition of the song as well. Caravan has this wonderful "Arabian Desert" feel, as Juan Tizol provides a smooth introduction on the trombone and just as you get a nice feel for this the tempo changes into classic big band swing, where Paul Gonsalves (I believe) does is magic on the saxophone.
Give it a listen. I think you'll be pleased!