Mulgrew Miller & Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen
This release on the Danish Storyville label is the first release of a 1999 session that Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Mulgrew Miller together to pay tribute to Duke Ellington on the 100th anniversary of his birth. The two were initially brought together by Bang & Olufsen to celebrate Ellington and his partnership with bassist Jimmy Blanton. NHØP was approached to take part and tapped Mulgrew Miller to tackle a series of Ellington's classic themes and a couple of their own. It was the beginning of the musical and personal partnership between the two.
The songs are all from Ellington except for one original from each. The two display marvelous musical chemistry, whether lightly swinging "C Jam Blues", develop the lyricism of "Sophisticated Lady," and playfully perform "Pitter Patter Panther." There is the lovely "Mood Indigo" and the driving piano rendition of "Caravan." Mulgrew's interpretations take us from stride to the post-bop, post-Bud Powell piano tradition that he was such an important representative of. Thanks to Storyville for rescuing this lost gem from two decades ago. It is available at https://storyvillerecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-duo-duke-ellington-100.
I purchased a download from the Bandcamp site listed above. Here the two perform "Caravan."