Meditation is the one solo piano offering from my album, Heaven and Earth: A Duke Ellington Songbook. It was also one of Duke Ellington's solo offerings in his Second Sacred Concert, which he performed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York in January 1968.
Many of the concert's most effective moments used strategically placed soloists and rhythm-section players from the Ellington Orchestra, particularly a trumpeter, a saxophonist or a pianist, who were not listed in the program.
Ellington considered his sacred concerts to be “the most important thing I have ever done.” He even quipped, “You have to go out there and make a noise that tells the truth. You can jive with secular music, but you can’t jive with the Almighty!”
My arrangement takes the listener on a journey of self examination. Ellington’s own recordings of this piece show restraint and introspection, manifesting in a sound rarely louder than mezzo-piano. I chose to build the intensity to an emphatic climax before delicately reaching the conclusion. This will always be one of my favorite solo pieces to play.
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