I have been making music with Louise Rose now for close to 30 years. For much of that time I have dreamed of doing a program in which we would focus entirely on the work of Duke Ellington. That is a long time to think about doing something but in the fall of 2003 we finally sat down and made some plans for a concert (or two) and a recording.
It seemed that our conversation about this high priest of the jazz tradition should be intimate so our concert would be a duo; just the two of us utilizing both the freedom and discipline that goes hand in hand with a dialogue in jazz. We also decided to include Billy Strayhorn’s work, since it is so closely linked to Ellington’s.
The selections we chose were not ‘biggest hits’ or ‘best of’ collections. Instead they were simply pieces that triggered our imagination; with lyricism, rhythm, color and contrast. Ellington once said, “Praise God, and dance!” and he described Strayhorn’s music as “a wonderful marriage of words and music.” I think these phrases describe the music and, hopefully, this recording.