Duke Ellington

I 'll be moving to the U Street corridor in DC, only a block or two where Ellington was born. I am ashamed to say that I know nothing about his music. Can you recommend a CD boxset with good recordings and good sound quality? Even book recommendations (Bios and discography) are welcome.
Yes when we moved into a much smaller condo I trade my beloved Alon Lotus SE's for a pair of JMlabs Micro-Utopias. I thought I would miss the bass but not at all, the bass I have is tight and punchy and the transparency is addictive. Plus they're incredibly easy to drive! I highly recommend anything from the Utopia series, the Minis would give you a fair amount more bass then the Micros. Happy listening!!
Also, if you like Dr. John, but his "Duke Elegant" represents sort of a New Orleans jazz take on Ellington's material.
Duke Ellington and Louie Armstrong—The Great Summit is one of my all-time favorites. Also, Duke Ellington Live at Newport.
He's one of my faves. I consider him one of the few "geniouses" of jazz. I have about 20 CD's of his. There honestly is not a bad one among them. However I seem to play several more often then others: Black,Brown and Beige; The Ellington Suites; Piano in the Foreground. Whatever you do, just buy something of his. I agree that anything recorded before 1950 can sound relatively distant and lacking in the frequency extremes. If you have any jazz sensibility at all you will like this stuff alot.