[Dixielandjazz] Ellington & Mood Indigo

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Apr 15 11:01:19 PDT 2004

This is why Gunter Schuller wants the 1930 Ellington recording of Mood
Indigo. Perhaps more than you want to know, but never the less an
important historical note for Ellington fans and musical arrangement.

Steve Barbone

Sources include the book "Beyond Category" -John Edward Hasse.

"One night in October, Ellington and six players from his band of eleven
played a piece they called "Dreamy Blues" on the band's radio broadcast.
The first time I wrote specially for microphone transmission." said
Ellington. "The next day wads of mail came in raving about the new tune,
so Irving Mills put a lyric to, it." Retitled "Mood Indigo' etc, etc.,


In October 1930 Ellington and his men recorded Dreamy Blues . . . Soon
retitled Mood Indigo, it ranks as one of the most original and memorable
miniatures of the 20th century. Ellington turned on their heads the
usual roles of trombone, trumpet and clarinet, assigning the trombone
the high notes and the clarinet the low. As GUNTHER SCHULLER has
asserted, the resulting tonal colors probably had never been heard
before on all of music history.

This brilliant unique piece, with its unusual harmonies, can be heard in
3 versions from the fall of 1930:"

"The Jungle Band" - MCA

"The Okeh Elklington " -

"Early Ellington"

The first two recorded in October are spare and elegantly simple. For
the next version, recorded in December 1930, Ellington adds an
orchestral accompaniment that showcases the poignant solo of trumpeter
Arthur Whetsol and the gentle flowing sound of clarinetist Bigard. (Who
co composed the tune)

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