Ellington: Indigos

Album review
Ellington: Indigos

Duke Ellington


Label: Impex
Media: LP
Genre: Jazz

First released in 1962, Ellington Indigos finds the maestro and his impeccable orchestra in a low-key, nocturnal mood. “Solitude” begins with Ellington’s quietly introspective solo, but when his band jumps in a huge grin will cross your face as this Kevin Gray-mastered platter from Impex bursts to life with a sound as enveloping as a warm bath. Okay, the piano is a bit tinny, but the brass is so creamy and seductive it doesn’t matter. Each tune allows different players to shine: Paul Gonsalves’ tenor, rightly described as “vaporous” in the liner notes, takes center stage in “Where or When”; Shorty Baker’s muted trumpet is spotlighted in “Mood Indigo,” while Ray Nance’s violin and vocalist Ozzie Bailey share the stage for “Autumn Leaves.” The classy set-list continues with the unmistakable Johnny Hodges on alto for “Prelude to a Kiss,” and concludes with “Willow Weep for Me,” “Tenderly,” and “Dancing in the Dark.” There isn’t a filler in the bunch. I have no original for comparison, but Gray’s work is as good as it gets, and whatever limitations are evident here—a large but mostly shallow stage and the piano are about it—hardly interfere with this musical treasure. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Duke Ellington
  • LP

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