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Leave it to a non-American to give one of the most inspired tributes to Duke Ellington, perhaps the greatest American composer. Two years ago, when it seemed that the jazz community was flooded with fawning facile homages to the maestro, the Algerian-born, Paris-based bandleader, arranger, and pianist Martial Solal sneaked in his blandly titled Martial Solal Dodecaband Plays Ellington. A wonderful pianist who can turn from “Fats” Waller’s barrelhouse boogie to Cecil Taylor’s cubist cacophony on a dime, Solal didn’t exactly take the easy route. Instead, Solal went straight into the fire by serving up fine renditions of tunes such as “Caravan,” “In a Sentimental Mood,” and “Take the ‘A’ Train” that are so well-worn they deserve moratoriums. His 12-piece Dodecaband is a lean, modern ensemble that fully understands Ellington but, more important, understands the quirky, breathtaking arrangements and inventiveness of its leader. Solal and his trio play at 8 p.m. at the Embassy of France’s La Maison Française, 4101 Reservoir Road NW. $20. (202) 944-6090. Please call ahead to verify that this event is happening. (John Murph)