The sounds of the legendary Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington continue with Single Petal of a Rose (Renma Recordings, 2012), by the Duke Ellington Legacy with special guest Houston Person. This mid-size ensemble revisits several of the songs that were written either by Ellington or his band member, Billy Strayhorn. One selection was penned by Legacy pianist Norman Simmons.

This is much of a family affair. Grandson Edward Kennedy Ellington II is the guitarist and leader of the Legacy. His sister, Gaye Ellington, created the cover art, which is also offered to the public in a limited edition reproduction. Proceeds of sales benefit the works of the Ellington Legacy Foundation. For details, visit

In addition to Ellington II and Simmons, the band is comprised of tenor saxophonists Houston Person and Virginia Mayhew, trumpeter Jami Dauber, trombonist Noah Bless, bassist Tom DiCarlo, drummer Paul Wells, percussionist Sheila Earley and vocalist Nancy Reed.

“Happy Go Lucky Local,” penned by Duke Ellington, is a delightful piece also known as “Night Train.” Here, Simmons delivers the solo but it’s the horn section that mostly carries the piece.

“Johnny Come Lately,” written by Duke Ellington band member Billy Strayhorn, features Simmons, Mayhew, Bless, Earley and Wells. Mayhew’s arrangement gives the piece a Latin vibe, with much of that coming from the interplay of Wells and Earley. After the full band introduces the song, the soloists stretch out. The overall selection runs just shy of 11 minutes, but there’s never a moment when it seems to drag or gets stuck. The moderate pace makes it easy to dance to.

The band brings a contemporary verve to the vintage Ellington pieces. And the one original song sounds like it could have been part of the Duke Ellington repertoire. Single Petal of a Rose is 14 tracks of Ellington mystique with more than an hour’s worth of enjoyment.