Mood Indigo – 1952

Duke Ellington

A fresh version of one of Duke’s most famous songs

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Duke Ellington loved to freshen up his earlier compositions, coming up with new arrangements through the years while keeping the essence of each song.

“Mood Indigo” (which was originally based on a Barney Bigard theme) made its debut in 1930 and would remain in Ellington’s repertoire for the next 44 years.

Originally its melody featured a blend of muted trumpet, muted trombone and clarinet but, by the time his band was filmed for this telescription in 1952, Ellington was utilizing two muted trombones (Quentin Jackson and Britt Woodman) and Harry Carney on bass clarinet which gave the song a slightly different sound.

In addition to the three horns playing the melody, clarinetist Russell Procope and a muted Willie Cook on trumpet get solos while Ellington on piano dominates the second half, continuing his improvisation over the closing melody and sounding both modern and melodic.

-Scott Yanow


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