Among the plethora of Duke Ellington homages released around the time of the centenary, this release is one of the most unusual -- translating Duke's music to the folk/country-based techniques of the solo acoustic guitar. And not just any old Ellington-Strayhorn standards; the selections that Hancoff chose are mostly off the beaten path items from the late '20s through the early '40s, with one venture into 1953 ("Reflections in D"). Hancoff is an expert of the fingerpicking style and his intricate, at times difficult-sounding, arrangements would give most guitarists nightmares. Hancoff's liner notes are flabbergastingly detailed, full of technical info on how he concocted his arrangements and colorful Ellington stories taken from copiously footnoted published sources. For the listener untroubled by how the artist got to this point, this is mostly a laid-back, dignified, gently swinging series of folk/country-flavored tracks that goes down very easily. For the most appealing taste of this project, start with the ebullient opening track "Drop Me Off in Harlem" and savor the rest a bit at a time.