“Every man prays in his own language and there is no language God does not understand,” said composer Duke Ellington when he was called to task decades ago for writing sacred music in the jazz idiom. No such defense is necessary today, of course, as Ellington’s Sacred Concerts — written in 1965, 1968 and 1973 (a year before he died) — have become standard holiday repertoire. The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, presented by Earshot Jazz, offers its annual sampling of Ellington’s inspiring music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $15-$34 (206-547-6763 or www.brownpapertickets.com).

Paul de Barros, Seattle Times jazz critic