Steve Hancoff,
The Single Petal of a Rose
(Out of Time, 2004)

Subtitled "Duke Ellington for Solo Guitar, Vol. 2., The Single Petal of a Rose is the second excellent odyssey of the Ellington oeuvre Steve Hancoff has made with the acoustic guitar.

Hancoff has gotten right into Ellington's works and reincarnated them from the inside out as elegant guitar pieces. This collection spans the chronological spectrum of Duke's work from early 1920s material ("The Creeper," "Goin' to Town") to the darker realm of grieving over the loss of his mother in the 1935 and thereafter ("I'm in Another World," "Gypsy Without a Song") and onto the final period, 1951-1974, when trends left Ellington and Ellington turned to serious composition ("Serious Serenade," "Isfahan").

The CD of beautiful instrumental guitar comes with a thick booklet of photographs and notes on the origins of each of the 18 pieces presented. Interestingly, Hancoff never felt it necessary to record any of the obvious choices. Such Ellington hits as "Sophisticated Lady," "In a Sentimental Mood" and "Take the 'A' Train" are not found on either album -- and are not necessary.

- Rambles
written by Tom Schulte
published 11 December 2004

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