The delicate ballad "Fleurette Africaine" (or "African Flower") is one of the most fascinating compositions by Duke Ellington, written for his 1962 trio session with Charles Mingus and Max Roach. The haunting, fluttering, descending bass line chosen by Mingus to introduce the tune and Roach's soft percussion help add a degree of mystery to Ellington's charming melody. It is very likely that since Ellington seems to have written this song with Mingus in mind, he never considered re-recording it again with his orchestra or other musicians.
Relatively few musicians have had the inspiration to approach this song, though Gary Burton was an early fanatic, taping it for RCA in 1967, a second time for Atlantic in 1971, again in a 1981 concert appearance with Ahmad Jamal, and a fourth time for ECM in 1984. Other interpreters of the song include Michel Petrucciani, Ellery Eskelin and Ernie Watts. But the beauty and depth of Ellington's original performance with Mingus and Roach will remain head and shoulders above any interpretation which may follow.