African Flower

Duke Ellington

Ellington at the Keys

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During the 1960s, Duke Ellington presented a mesmerizing solo piano performance.

The composition titled “African Flower” (also known as “Fleurette Africaine”) was penned by Ellington and made its debut on the 1962 LP “Money Jungle.”

This album, recorded on a single day, Monday, September 17, 1962, featured a trio consisting of Ellington on piano, Charles Mingus on bass, and Max Roach on drums.

Being the elder in the session, Ellington encountered some friction during the recording. Accounts of what caused this tension differ, but it’s known that Mingus momentarily left the session, and Ellington had to persuade him to return and conclude.

In his Down Beat review of the LP, Don DeMicheal awarded it five stars and remarked, “I’ve never heard Ellington play as he does on this album; Mingus and Roach, especially Mingus, push him so strongly that one can almost hear Ellington show them who’s boss – and he dominates both of them, which is no mean accomplishment.”

Who says creative conflict is a negative thing?


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