?"For me, "Impressions of Ella" feels like a homecoming of sorts. Like a family reunion after years of separation. A reconnection with the music that fueled my most formative musical years and it was Ella Fitzgerald that left quite an impression. I admired the effortless way she made herself a part of the band, even though she was the star. Her powerful voice and explosive scat to the most delicate tones had me hooked. I wanted to celebrate her and the style of her sound but in doing so, keeping my own individuality. Legendary pianist, Kenny Barron, Kenny Washington (drums) and Peter Washington (bass) played this music with such finesse. Their knowledge and experience of the repertoire is undeniable and they effortlessly breathed a new life into these classics. I reached for the stars with this album and I really hope you enjoy listening!" Robin McKelle February 2023; From country music to rhythm and blues, Robin McKelle has made an entire career exploring the rich vastness of American music. With Impressions of Ella, McKelle returns to her traditional jazz roots and finds herself right at home. Introducing Robin McKelle, her eponymous 2006 debut, delved into a dozen timeless standards of the swing era ("Come Rain or Come Shine," "Night and Day," "On the Sunny Side of the Street"). For her latest effort, McKelle draws from only one source and perhaps her greatest artistic influence, Ella Fitzgerald. "The concept of the music of Ella came about because she was my first introduction to vocal jazz. I learned so much from her singing - the style of her swing feel and her singing resonates [with] me." To help bring her concept to life, McKelle enlists a brand new trio of venerated jazz players: Kenny Washington on drums, bassist Peter Washington, and NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron on piano. "I wasn't intimidated to make music with them, but [their] résumés were like, 'Wow!' [Am I] going to be good enough? Are we going to connect? The exciting thing was having the opportunity to sing over them as a trio; that was such a huge joy." The bond between a vocalist and an accompanist is perhaps one of music's most profound and extraordinary unions. Barron, a living jazz piano virtuoso, keenly understands this more than most. Cutting his teeth as a sideman for Philly Joe Jones and Dizzy Gillespie, Barron has recorded more than 50 albums, spanning over five decades, as leader. With Impressions of Ella, she doesn't attempt to reinvent the wheel or limit her potential for creative expression. While it lauds our "First Lady of Song," the album also marks an inevitable coming of age for McKelle's career in jazz, as the fruits of her hard work and years of training finally ripen and bear fruit.