Duke Ellington: Mood Indigo (1930)


Mood Indigo


Duke Ellington (piano)


Ken Burns Jazz: Duke Ellington (Columbia/Legacy CK 61444)

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Duke Ellington (piano), Arthur Whetsol (trumpet), Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton (trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet), Fred Guy (banjo), Wellman Braud (bass), Sonny Greer (drums).

Composed by Duke Ellington, Barney Bigard & Irving Mills. Arranged by Duke Ellington


Recorded: New York, October 17, 1930


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

Duke Ellington, photo by Herb Snitzer

"Stan Kenton can stand in front of a thousand musicians and make a dramatic gesture, and every studio arranger will nod his head and say, 'Oh, yes, that's done like this,'" remarked André Previn, who knew all about orchestration. "But Duke merely lifts his finger, three horns make a sound, and I don't know what it is!" Previn was probably thinking of "Mood Indigo." No other orchestrator ever accomplished more with less. Backed by a four-piece rhythm section, Duke's three horns make a sound fit for nirvana. Only Whetsol's and Nanton's occasional imperfections remind us that humans are at work.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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