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Various Artists: Ellingtonia: A Tribute to Duke Ellington

What’s to separate this from the myriad of Ellington tribute records on the centennial of his birth? Not much, except that it’s a Canadian homage delivered by some of our Northern neighbor’s finest exponents of good jazz, with a couple of ringers thrown in for good measure (Toledo’s Johnny O’Neal, and Cuba’s Hilario Duran). The program, extracted from Ellington’s tome of standards, is tried and true, as are the arrangements and their delivery.

Recommended listening includes singer Ranee Lee’s sweet duet treatment of “Sophisticated Lady;” Oscar Peterson’s relaxed, breathy “In a Mellow Tone;” the slightly sassy edge Diana Krall brings to “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me;” Johnny O’Neal’s elegantly sanctified rendition of “Come Sunday;” and tenor man Fraser MacPherson’s dreamy tone on “Chelsea Bridge.”

Originally Published