Beegie Adair

Centennial Composers: Duke Ellington

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Beegie Adair has been a fixture on the Nashville jazz scene for years, releasing occasional CDs from time to time. But this ambitious 2003 tribute to Duke Ellington was one of six composer songbooks that were issued simultaneously (which are also available as a box set). Accompanied by bassist Roger Spencer and drummer Chris Brown, Adair tackles a dozen favorites from Ellington's repertoire, immediately facing the challenge of bringing fresh ideas to these frequently performed compositions. Fortunately, she is up to the task. Her breezy "Caravan" is introduced with the bridge instead of the verse, while she has a greater appreciation for the intricate nature of "Mood Indigo" as she incorporates her own ideas. Her swinging rendition of "Take the 'A' Train" is so lively that one expects a full complement of reeds and brass to join her after the initial chorus. Beegie Adair's excellent salute to the timeless music of Duke Ellington is well worth investigating.

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