Music is a beautiful woman in her prime,
Music is a scrubwoman, clearing away
the dirt and grime.
Music is a girl child,
Simple, sweet and beaming,
A thousand years old,
Cold as sleet, and scheming.
In search of the perfect balance of the sounds and with an impeccable swing, Laurent Mignard Duke Orchestra embodies the spirit of Ellington in today’s body (Télérama). And since the maestro did not leave scores, he meticulously transcribed the repertoire from the original recordings, that his dream-team of soloists appropriated themselves in interpretations both respectful and creative. A work of goldsmith (Jazz magazine).
Seven invited artists like Natalie Dessay, Rhoda Scott and Roberta Gambarini join the jazzwomen of the orchestra to embody with passion and generosity the multiple facets of Ellingtonian elegance.


The Lord’s Prayer (Edward Kennedy Ellington, United Artists Music Ltd)
On A Turquoise Cloud (Edward Kennedy Ellington, Lawrence Brown, United Artists Music Ltd)
Lady Mac (Edward Kennedy Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, United Artists Music Ltd)
Portrait Of Mahalia Jackson (Edward Kennedy Ellington, Tempo Music Inc)
Something To Live For (Edward Kennedy Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Emi Melodies France)
Flirtibird Extended (Edward Kennedy Ellington, Tempo Music Inc)
Heaven (Edward Kennedy Ellington, United Artists Music Ltd)
The Blues (Edward Kennedy Ellington, Premiere Music Group)
Lady Of The Lavender Mist (Edward Kennedy Ellington, Campbell Connelly France)
Golden Feather (Edward Kennedy Ellington, Campbell Connelly France)
The Clothed Woman (Edward Kennedy Ellington, Campbell Connelly France)
All Heart (Edward Kennedy Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, United Artists Music Ltd)
Perdido (Juan Tizol, Campbell Connelly France)

We might remember him as a bon vivant, but Duke was nevertheless deeply religious. On September 16, 1965, he presented a Concert of Sacred Music in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral – one of the most important moments in his personal and professional life: “Now I can say openly what I have been saying to myself on my knees.” Among the works created for this first Sacred Concert, The Lord’s Prayer came out of the tradition of Gospel songs. For openning the album, we have entrusted the role of high priestess to Sylvia Howard, who was raised in a religious family and whose rare intensity of expression was forged by the struggles of life.
On January 19 and 20, 1968, after three days of rehearsals, Duke presented his 2nd Sacred Concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Among the invited soloists was a Swedish coloratura soprano who would make quite a splash. Duke recalled: “I had persuaded Alice Babs to come over from Stockholm, and her superb interpretations in Almighty God, Heaven and TGTT enchanted everyone. She is probably the most unique artist I know.” Natalie Dessay, a great admirer of both Duke and Alice, wanted to interpret Heaven this heavenly little tune that seems so simple, yet contains exactly the right amount of melancholy, elegance, fragility and joy. Embellished with
accompaniments by Philippe Milanta and Didier Desbois, the diva demonstrates her grace.
In a long series of dedications, Duke shows surprising charm. Composed for highlighting the faithful Harry Carney, Golden Feather refers to the blond hair of the singer Jane Leslie Larabee, who had just married Leonard Feather (a critic and producer friend of Ellington’s) in May 1945, after they were introduced by her roommate Peggy Lee. In this mini concerto of less than three minutes, Philippe Chagne accomplishes feats of mastery and extraordinary musicality that reinforce the intensity of the orchestra.
All the tracks of DUKE LADIES are carefully presented in the booklet of the album. Reading it is particularly pleasant and rewarding. You know what you have to do…

Aurélie Tropez (alto sax, clarinet)
Julie Saury (drums)
Didier Desbois (alto sax)
Frédéric Couderc (tenor sax, flute)
Olivier Defays (tenor sax)
Philippe Chagne (baritone sax, bass clarinet)
Claude Égéa, Malo Mazurié, Jérôme Etcheberry, Richard Blanchet (trumpets)
Nicolas Grymonprez , Michaël Ballue, Jerry Edwards (trombones)
Philippe Milanta (piano)
Bruno Rousselet (double bass)
Laurent Mignard (conducting)

Rhoda Scott (organ)
Natalie Dessay (vocal)
Roberta Gambarini (vocal)
Nicolle Rochelle (vocal)
Myra Maud (vocal)
Sylvia Howard (vocal)
Aurore Voilqué (violin)
Sylvain Gontard (bugle)

Produced by Paul Bessone for Juste Une Trace
Executive production by Laurent Mignard for L’Agence Musicale
Recorded by Bruno Minisini at Riffx Studio
Mixed by Carl Schlosser
Mastered by François Terrazzoni (Parelies)
Photographs by Pascal Bouclier
Graphic Design by Alexandre Pichon
Texts by Laurent Mignard
Translation by Rebecca Cavanaugh
Special thanks to François Lacharme
With support : SCPP
Release date : 15-04-2022

In memory of Claude Carrière