"A PAGE of Ellington," Nathen Page's new album, offers further proof that among the many wonders of Duke Ellington's music is the ability to inspire musicians, including several guitarists, to new heights.
Here's a recording that, in its own intimate way, deserves to sit right alongside Kenny Burrell's 1975 album "Ellington Is Forever" as a thoughtful, moving and often poetic guitar tribute to Ellington's genius.
If Page's album has a fault, it is merely that he sticks to Ellington standards. "Satin Doll" is a pop favorite, of course, but it ranks as one of Ellington's trifles and could easily have been bumped for something more worthy of Page's talents. Still, even it benefits from Page's sensitive touch and warm tone.
Page has abandoned, for the moment at least, the more fiery style that characterized much of his previous work and replaced it with a combination of fat chords and plump single- note runs that serves Ellingtonia particularly well. This more relaxed approach, several imaginative arrangements and Ronnie Wells' exquisite vocals (particularly on "Come Sunday") add up to one splendid recording.
NATHEN PAGE -- "A Page of Ellington" (Hugo's Music HMS 110); appearing Friday and Saturday night at the One Step Down.